Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Seeking Wisdom & Desiring an Honest Heart

Throughout the book of Proverbs, we are encouraged to seek wisdom above wealth or selfish gain. Perhaps the greatest story in the scriptures regarding wisdom is when Solomon makes a difficult choice. There is a wealth of lessons of virtue embodied in this passage. 

1 Kings 3:16-28

Now two women came to the king and stood before him. 17 One of them said, “Pardon me, my lord. This woman and I live in the same house, and I had a baby while she was there with me. 18 The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us.
19 “During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him.20 So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. 21 The next morning, I got up to nurse my son—and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne.”
22 The other woman said, “No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours.”
But the first one insisted, “No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.” And so they argued before the king.
23 The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead,’ while that one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’”
24 Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king. 25 He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”
26 The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”
But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”
27 Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.”
28 When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.
Lessons of Virtue:
1) Stealing or being dishonest to recover a loss you experience is never a good idea. The Lord will supply our needs if we will trust him. His supply does not steal from another. His resources are endless. Your need or desperation doesn't justify immoral behavior. In the story found in 1 Kings, while the woman replaced her dead child with the infant that was not hers, she also had to replace life with death into the other's mothers arms. Anytime we take something or pursue it wrongfully, we leave damage/death/loss for another.  For example, cheating in school might increase your grade average, but it simultaneously devalues the student's who rightfully made their high score. It wrongfully directs the instructor, sending an inaccurate message, which can lead to even harder work or tests! Cheating and dishonest gain is never 'okay' or confined to just affecting yourself. 

2) When you love someone or something, you are willing to sacrifice your own needs and desires in order to save the one you love. Our Heavenly Father sending Jesus into the world to die for our sins was the perfect example of this sacrificial love. In a world where we encourage young people to "be themselves" and be independently minded, we must also couple this with the Godly attribute of loving others as we want to be loved - treating people the way we want to be treated. 

3) Wisdom gives us the ability to see through the deception of a situation and reveal the truth and heart of those involved. We are to ask in prayer for wisdom from above and continue to pray for the Lord to reveal truth in situations - and in our own hearts, foremost. Reading the Bible and feeding your spirit daily is key in growing in Godly wisdom. 

4)  "If I can't have it, then nobody can!" is an attitude that is birthed out of our own selfish sin and greed. We should guard our hearts from desiring to harm/destroy something we cannot have. It is the temptation for revenge, the lust of money and material items, the pride of life (wanting to make a name for ourselves), or the desire for power out from under authority. If we intentionally hurt another person or situation because we did not get what we wanted, we must repent of our selfish greed and pride. These temptations often come out of our own insecurities where we have not found value the love of Jesus Christ. 
5)  Lying is a highly toxic sin we should guard our hearts from daily. When we lie, it is most likely a second layer of sin, covering up another wrongdoing we desire to hide. Satan is named "The Father of Lies" in John 8:44. We do not want an attribute in our lives that is one of the names of Satan himself. We must become honest with ourselves before we can be honest with others. Not just in our words, but in our decisions and the motives behind what we choose to do. Truth brings life, and is our spiritual sword to fight darkness in the spiritual realm. John 8:22 reminds us that "the truth will set you free". 

Prayer:

Lord, grant me the wisdom from your Spirit and stir within me the hunger for your Word. Search my heart and remove all deception or desire for wrong gain. Help me to be honest and pure in my motives and words. Thank you, Jesus, for being my example of truth and sacrificial love. I thank you for forgiving me for my sins and shortcomings. Your grace is sufficient in my weaknesses. I trust you will complete this work you have begun in me. Bless my day, and let me be a light and blessing to all those I come into contact with. Guide my steps and thoughts today. 

In Jesus Name,
Amen


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