“The Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say."
Wisdom and understanding are not the same qualities: wisdom is knowing, understanding is putting that knowledge into action. Both are important qualities to possess. Proverbs 3:13 reads, Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding,
This week I want to talk about Wisdom, Divine Wisdom. James 3:13-18 speaks of two kinds of wisdom:
13Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
Since we are spiritual beings as well as physical, there is wisdom, or knowing, that comes from Spirit, from the inner whispers and nudges from God, and there is “knowing” that comes from the ego, our smaller selves, little Patrick in my case.
Divine Wisdom will be win-win, positive, loving for all, devoid of fear, competition, and only what is best for “me”. When the ego is set aside, there are still desires, a yearning for “more” or to accomplish something profound. We may see visions, hear whispers, feel a particular desire, or simply “know that we know”. These desires come from the wisdom of the soul, and not from the incessant yapping of a voracious ego demanding things to be done my way.
God is our wisdom. Our desire for “more” is an inner calling to experience the presence of God more fully each moment. God wishes to express through us fully and will gently fill us with the wisdom to discern what is right and to follow those instincts. When we follow Divine Wisdom, our efforts are multiplied. We are told in Ephesians 3:20: Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine.
When James speaks of “bitter envy and selfish ambition,” he refers to what we know as the ego. Ego thinks only of itself, filling us with doubts, worldly desires, and the fear of lack and loss. In Proverbs 23:4 Solomon teaches, “Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit. In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.” This is ancient wisdom that is echoed by the Christ. In Luke 12:15 Jesus says, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” In Timothy 6:9 we are told, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and ruin.” Although the desire for money is highlighted in these verses, it is true for all our worldly desires, lusts, and cravings.
In contrast, the wisdom of Spirit guides us to consider spiritual desires, which include the needs of others. Wisdom seeks harmony because we are all part of the One. The Wisdom of God flowed through Buddha when he stated, “Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.”
Wisdom guides us to love people yet treat them accordingly. In Proverbs 23:9 we are taught: Don’t waste your breath on fools, for they will despise the wisest advice. Although we can love the fool, we do not have to adopt their ways and allow their stupidity to splash onto us. Foolishness can be hard to wash off.
So, we don’t accept the advice of fools, nor do we offer them advice – they don’t listen. Christ took this idea and retaught it in Matthew 7:6 - as: Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. George Bernard Shaw told us, “I learned long ago, never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.” Today’s spin on this wisdom has become: Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.
And speaking of pigs, always remember that pigs don’t know that pigs stink. But God does, and because God is all-knowing, we can know that there is a greater plan for us, ‘those people’, and for the world than what we can conceive of with our limited perspective. Knowing this can help relieve us of any anxiety we may have regarding what is happening now and what the results will be. We can relax and trust God - the Source of all wisdom.
I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. --Isaiah 42:16. We may not see the entire path that lies before us, but the further we walk, the further we see. Walk a mile, see a mile, so the saying goes. Spirit reveals to us what needs to be known in the right and perfect fashion and time.
As we learn to express God’s spirit within us, what we call our higher selves, we understand that we do not have all the answers. Our wisdom and understanding are in a constant state of unfoldment. When open to God’s inner wisdom, we are inspired to right thought, words, and action. We will develop Divine Wisdom as we listen within and without. We can internalize what we hear or read to a deep level and then accept it as true.
When our son Daniel was just five or six years old, Mary was out of sorts over something. And amidst this discord Daniel calmly states, “Mommy, God is surrounding you.” Such wisdom from a child, and such truth. He had heard us saying that, and had heard it in church, and knew it to be true.
Wisdom can come as we ask it of God. In 1Kings 3: 7-10 we read: "Now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?" The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.
Wisdom can spring from prayer, moving into the quiet stillness. When we are in a state of unrest, physically or emotionally, it is more difficult to be discerning.
Wisdom is born of intention: blocking out all other sounds to express the intention of the inner voice. Being willing to let go of the “Yeah, buts…” Ignoring and releasing the noise of the ego allows wisdom to express through the calm.
Wisdom is revealed through various means, but only into an open and loving heart and mind. The silence of our quiet times can reveal to us clarity of ideas. We move beyond the limitations of human thinking and reasoning and open ourselves to the pure wisdom of God. All we need to know is within us.
With spiritual wisdom we create our consciousness. We carefully consider our thoughts, measuring their generosity, love, compassion, and rightness before we engage them with words and actions. When we allow our thoughts to be inspired by God before we speak or act, we give ourselves the opportunity to use our words and deeds to uplift, encourage, and heal.
Proverbs 24:3-4 - By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
Solomon uses the metaphor of a house as our own spiritual being. By wisdom we are built; we come into distinct and complete awareness with our Creator. By understanding we are established and realize our own potential as a Child of God. By knowledge, we become discerning and capable of following the guidance of the Christ so that all parts of our lives are filled with ‘precious and pleasant riches’.
In conclusion, Wisdom will come from one of two sources: mentors or mistakes. We can plug into the Divine Mentor, through prayer, meditation and the inspired writings of the Bible and other great authors. We can listen to great minds and hearts, through their books and recordings of powerful ideas. We can associate with people who think and believe as we do, who can help shore up our attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors, and hone our moral compass.
Or we can disregard all that, and just do it on our own. We can bump into walls, fall off cliffs, and stumble in the darkness. We can make the mistakes that will inexorably lead us to a change of behaviors, thoughts, and attitudes anyway.
We are God’s, and God will embrace us, whether we are kicking and screaming or have our arms lovingly held out. God’s plans for us are good and will make all our failed efforts work for our good. God is ever encouraging us and drawing us to the path of awareness and Light, and we will get there one way or another. Like the movies often depict during an interrogation, someone usually says, “We can do this the easy way or the hard way.” Why not receive God’s blessings the easy way, through wisdom, understanding, willingness, love, peace, and joy?
My prayer is that we will open our hearts to the wisdom of Spirit and allow Wisdom to raise us above all our worldly challenges. Through Divine Wisdom we co-create with Christ a world worthy and properly prepared to receive God’s love and goodness.