Sometimes it can be hard to get a lock onto the truth of a situation. There are competing voices and we can find it hard to figure out which one we're meant to listen to. It can be tempting just to block out everyone else and back ourselves. But it doesn't take too much humility to realise that we probably do need other's input eventually. Where do we find the truth? Where do we find wisdom?
Where Do We Find Wisdom? The book of Proverbs in the Bible gives an interesting answer to this question. It tells us that wisdom is something that is found. Not at some point in the future, but that it existed right back before the beginning of creation. 'I was formed long ages ago, at the very beginning, when the world came to be.' says Wisdom in Proverbs 8:22 That means wisdom is more about coming into alignment with the way God created things to be, than it is about pursuing something that doesn't yet exist. What Do We Need to Do to Uncover Wisdom? If wisdom already exists and we just need to come into alignment with her, it means that we must be open to correction. After urging us to listen to her voice, wisdom makes the observation that 'whoever corrects a mocker invites a rebuke' (Proverbs 9:7). There are some who believe they have all the answers and are on their way to success. They are not open to receiving input, instruction or correction from others. But in contrast to their perception, this shows them to be on a path to folly and destruction. On the other hand, 'Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning' (Proverbs 9:9) Those who are open to input from others, come more and more into alignment with wisdom. This means they will benefit from the free flow of her blessings. How Do We Remain Open to Correction? Let's be honest - sometimes it's difficult to receive correction. Personally, I struggle. I get direct and indirect feedback all the time. And I'm constantly challenged to be more open to it. How do you do that? Well we have to trust that there is a God, who created wisdom, created us and created a world in wisdom. If we believe that every circumstance and conversation and frustration has come about by the sovereign and loving hand of God, then it helps us to be patient in learning the lesson he has set for us. Jesus Christ when he came to earth just like us had to learn obedience. He had to trust that his Heavenly Father knew what he was doing with each circumstance that he faced. And God showed himself faithful. Even through the death of Jesus on the cross at the hands of wicked men. God showed his wisdom, by honoring the obedience and humility of his Son, and appointing him as ruler of all. Now Jesus sits, knowing every struggle we face, desiring to pour wisdom out upon us as we ask.
Does This Mean There Are No New Ideas? Though the Bible says we are each created uniquely and set in our times and places for the exact moment we live (Acts 17:26), it also declares that 'there is nothing new under the sun' (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Life is an exciting adventure where we grow and build on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. But we do well to realise that even the most radical new ideas that take off in our day, are at best a combination of old ideas in a new way. What Do We Do When the Person Correcting Us is Being Foolish? Though we ought to be open to correction, there is of course the possibility that the person giving us instruction and correction doesn't fully know what they are talking about. It's interesting that when Jesus was confronted with this kind of situation, he still counselled people to take the good out of what was being said. We might decide not to 'answer a fool according to their folly' (Proverbs 6:4), but we can still learn things through engagement with those who are off track. After all, none of us is perfect.
About the Author
Jai Wright is a Christian Minister, who founded and leads MAKE Church in Mackay, Qld. He recently published the book, Life Plugged In: Connecting with the Source of Peace, Power and Purpose.
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