May 27, 2015 – Wisdom, Part 4

-by Rev. Jeff Gannon, Senior Pastor

Wisdom…

Every day I pray for wisdom.  I learned from the Psalms the importance of praying for wisdom. The Psalms has a perspective I embrace. I can do everything I can such as study, research, listen, and learn and the by product will be knowledge.  The Psalms are individually and corporately adamant that wisdom is a gift from God. God can give us wisdom in our seeking of knowledge but the Psalmists have come to the conclusion that only God ultimately gives wisdom. I have known very wise persons who do not have a lot of knowledge and I have a lot of persons who have a lot of knowledge and not much wisdom. There are very few who have an abundance of both. It is not that wisdom and knowledge are mutually exclusive. They are, in fact, two sides to the same coin, if you will. Wisdom, if you and I listen well to the Psalms, is a gift of the Holy Spirit for those who take the spiritual life seriously.

Therefore, for the next several weeks, I want to share wisdom with you. I know it is presumptuous for me to name something as wise. But wisdom is like the color green. You know it when you see it. It is like the taste of chocolate ice cream. Very difficult to describe but you know it when you experience it.

A pastor, for whom I have tremendous respect, Jim Jackson, recently retired. He has begun to take Scripture, life experience, professional perspective, and a whole lot of pondering to create a set of “laws.” These are not legalistic practices but principles upon which God has created this earth. Just like the law of gravity, there are spiritual laws at work in this universe and Jesus was always speaking about them using the language of the Kingdom of God. This is how God has arranged this world to work at its best and reality is, as Dallas Willard says, what we run up against when we are wrong.

“Seeing People as They Ought to Be”

The law of human relations: Treat people as they ought to be and they will become as they ought to be.

If you treat people as they are, they will remain as they are. But if you treat them as they ought to be, they will become as they ought to be.

Jesus knew the wisdom of this relational law. He gave people new identities by calling them by new names.

Take Simon Peter, for example. The name given to him at birth was Simon. But Jesus called him “Peter” – literally “the rock.” Why would Jesus call Simon “Rocky” when his behavior was like shifting sand? Because Jesus knew the law of human relations.

St. Paul understood the principle of human relations. He taught that we were not to “regard people from a human point of view.”

I like the way Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the German writer and statesman, framed this law. He wrote, “If you treat an individual as if he (she) were what he (she) ought to be, he (she) will become what he (she) ought to be.”

Have a great week!

– Jeff

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