“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17 (ESV)
I went through a season recently where I was seeking wisdom, or what I thought was wisdom. I wanted to know if the situation I was keeping myself in and the decisions I was making were right or wrong. Through this journey, I found myself “searching for wisdom” from God’s Word and others in my life. When I discussed it with close people in my life, I received support and encouragement from non-Christians and apprehension from Christians. I compiled every logical reason I could, in order to give a good defense for why I thought this was okay. I found myself applying my life to God’s Word instead of applying God’s Word to my life. During my quiet time, I read with the hopes of finding verses that could be supportive of my actions instead of looking at my actions in light of God’s Word.
Wisdom is not a binary of right and wrong. Wisdom is not trying to fit the Bible into your life. Wisdom is reading the Bible and living your life according to it. Wisdom is not trying to determine what isn’t bad – but what isn’t wise.
“’All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be dominated by anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12 (ESV)
The NIV translation says “but not all things are beneficial”. Paul’s point is that you may be able to make an excuse for an action or a decision and give a fair, logical reason for it, but is it wise? Is it beneficial? Is it drawing you closer to Christ? Or is it disguising your sin instead of putting your sin to death? We often try to convince ourselves – “Well, this isn’t necessarily bad, so it’s permissible.” When really – we’re actually rejecting all the Godly counsel we’re being given.
God calls us to arm ourselves with His Word for the intentions to kill, not to play a game with the Devil. Stay on guard, sober-minded, and alert! (1 Peter 5:8) The enemy casts bait and waits for us to take hold of it so he can draw us off of the narrow path. The enemy is very skilled in making things look attractive and good to us and sometimes even good for the kingdom of God, but they will lead us gradually away from the Lord.
“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.” Proverbs 21:2 (ESV)
Do you feel like you’re living in secret? Search your heart to find what your true intentions are. Be honest with yourself. Allow God’s Word to shed light on the state of your heart, where your affections are lying, and what you are putting your hope in. God is gracious and merciful. He is longing for you to repent so that you can continue on the path He has set before you that will lead to everlasting life. Human reason is not always bad; God gave us brains. However, be cautious of weighing the reason of your finite mind apart from the promises and warnings in the Word of God.
“You ask and you do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” James 4:3 (ESV)