Herald Journal Columns
Aug. 25, 2003 Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

Are we using spiritual wisdom or human wisdom in our lives?

By Rev. Rick Messer, Howard Lake Christian Church, Howard Lake

Now over the years we have seen the tragic results of human wisdom and understanding.

It has affected everything from individuals, families, even nations. It has provided us with two World Wars, terrorism, genocide, and main stream denominations falling from the very foundations of God's word in the name of tolerance and acceptance.

This shouldn't surprise us though.

In fact, Paul warned Timothy, (II Timothy 4:3-4 NIV) "3-For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4-They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths."

And that is exactly what we see taking place in our society today. Yet in spite of knowing that this time would come, it can still leave born-again Christians reeling from the effects.

And we ask, "Where do I fit?" "What is my purpose?" "How do I know what God's will is for my life?"

The Christians of Colossae where no different. They too struggled with people turning away from the truth to myths and legalism. They, like us, suffered from the effects of natural disaster with an earthquake that rocked their city in 61 A.D. They too faced the reality of economic decline that eventually forced them to abandon Colossae.

The combination of these things was creating a spiritual vacuum at Colossae. So again . . . Paul gives them some encouragement by telling them about his prayers for them.

Paul said that he always prayed for the Christians at Colossae, and I believe that we should always pray for each other as well. But what are we to pray for? Paul gives us a great example in his prayer found in Colossians 1:9.

He instructs us to pray for spiritual wisdom and understanding. (Colossians 1:9 NIV) "For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding."

In our post-modern age, wisdom and understanding can appear as abstract intellectual concepts. But Paul tells us that wisdom and understanding are very real spiritual gifts from God. These two gifts enable you and I to live abundant, fruitful, obedient lives for God no matter what the circumstances may be.

Perhaps you had to face things like this in your life ­ tragic accidents or treacherous friends, a career change or unexpected layoff. Perhaps it was an unexpected death, suicide, or divorce.

Maybe you are dealing with a rebellious child or unfaithful spouse. Perhaps you are struggling to recover from a natural disaster or calamity. Maybe it's difficult financially.

You see all of these things, when we try to lean on our own understanding, make it difficult to see God's perfect will in our life. In fact, our own understanding can create doubt in our lives. When we lean on our own understanding, our own understanding can create doubt.

So, what do we do?

Solomon writes: (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV) "5-Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6-in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

That's a promise for us today as well. And one way that we acknowledge God is through prayer. As Paul demonstrates for us, we should pray for spiritual wisdom and understanding, because spiritual wisdom and understanding will help us know what God's will is for our life.

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