Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Trusting Truth- 40 Days of Psalm 37 (Day 30)

"The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just."

Isn't this the truth? It's passages of Scripture like this that make me question my own righteousness when I consider the time I spend trying to make people like me more with my words and the fact that I'm always sharing my opinions on worldly issues though they have no eternal significance. (Of course, I'm reminded of what makes me righteous when I re-read 2 Corinthians 5:21 which states, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.") So, before we get going on today's Scripture, we need to be reminded that our righteousness comes strictly by the grace of God through His son Jesus Christ. It's nothing we can do on our own, and only comes by giving up the right to yourself in exchange for the filling of God's Spirit.

Now with that being said, one word in today's scripture seems to stand out to me when it comes to what we will speak about if we are to be followers of Jesus. The word is "wisdom" and God's usage of this word is much different than our own. Sure, Scripture teaches us many things about the importance of the words we use in our every day living, but the frequency of our speech can be determined by us, while it appears that if we are to speak wisdom, it will only come from Him. Proverbs 10:19 states, "When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise." This proverb is a perfect example for us to see that we can control how stupid we sound to others by personally deciding how much we say (wish I would consider this more often) However, this still doesn't explain why our words should be considered "wise" and where that wisdom comes from.

This may seem funny to say, but I often struggle with being "wise" by the world's standards. I am frequently asked for advice when people are going through difficult circumstances and my response is to provide them with what seems to be a common sense answer to their problem. However, my typical "wise" speaking is done out of what I consider to be right, and the sad part is that God's sense does NOT equal my common sense or the common sense of the world. So, as I meditate on tonight's passage, I decided to research what wisdom sounds like to God.

In this "pursuit of God's wisdom" I came across Proverbs 2:6 which states, "For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding." I can't help but look at this and feel silly for thinking that I'm able to come up with "wise" answers without the Spirit of God giving those answers to me. Interestingly enough, this Scripture not only states that like each breath we take, wisdom is also given by God but that only out of His mouth, comes true wisdom. Tying this in with today's verse, we recognize that if we are to speak, we ought to sound more like God (full of real knowledge and understanding from an eternal perspective) than somebody like Oprah, Ryan Seacrest, Bill O'Reilly, Bill Maher or Barack Obama. What I mean by that is that God strictly speaks truth while the latter icons speak out of fear in a style known as "political correctness".

This idea of speaking out of fear is what separates true wisdom from the wisdom of the world. Pop psychology, Pop culture talking heads, emerging church pastors (heck, most pastors in general) and politicians all speak out of the fear of man and not out of the wisdom of God. What I mean by this is that in order to keep people around, create a larger following, keep people showing up on Sunday, or having more people voting for you, the message is geared towards scratching a followers "itching ears" by not offending them or alienating them even if it means not speaking the whole truth. Though the local marketing and branding firm would consider this approach "wise" (as would Joel Osteen), speaking out of the fear of man is not considered wise the more I read in God's word, even if YOU think it may bring more people to Christ.

Instead, the wisdom of God for the common man is defined by Proverbs 1:7 which states "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom". We can't be considered wise, unless we understand where wisdom starts. If you are aiming to please man by telling them what they want to hear out of fear that they won't like you, or show up at your church, or vote for you, it is clear that you are not filled with the Spirit. The man filled with the Spirit has abandoned himself out of a healthy "fear of God" and is not concerned with what the world says is wise. What is wise is always speaking the truth out of a healthy fear of God even if it doesn't make sense to the world around you. This is not something we can do on our own but only by the grace of God who reminds us that true wisdom doesn't sound like the words of a man speaking what he thinks makes sense and instead sounds like the Spirit of God speaking through a man who's life is abandoned to Him.

If your speech constantly sounds like a commercial pushing your product (yourself, your message, your company, your church, etc...) by telling people what you think they want to hear instead of speaking the truth (which is wise), than I'd suggest you take some time before God to see if you truly fear Him. If you fear a life that is not secure by worldly standards, than you don't fear God. By fearing God, you give up the right to yourself which is the beginning of wisdom and as a result the words that you will speak will only confirm Psalm 37:30.

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