Two Kinds of Wisdom

As we grow in the Lord, God wants us to learn how to discern between good and evil. This is how we enter into full spiritual maturity!

The writer of Hebrews wrote:

But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who have by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern between good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:14 NKJV)

Those who are of full age are those who have reached full spiritual maturity. These saints have developed their spiritual senses to a level where they are able to discern between what is good and what is evil. The wisdom of God is good, but the wisdom of this world is evil!

The Apostle James made a clear distinction between these two forms of wisdom. First, he described the wisdom of this world:

“This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.” (James 3:15 NKJV)

This wisdom is earthly, because it comes from the world. It is sensual, because it appeals to our five physical senses, which is our flesh. It is demonic, because it comes from the spirit of this world, who is the devil. These are three good reasons not to follow the wisdom of this world!

Then James described the wisdom that comes from God:

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17 NKJV)

In comparing these two types of wisdom, James focused on the fruit that they produce – God expects us to discern the difference between the two by their fruit! Those who walk in the wisdom of the world, often walk in pride, because they are always trying to get ahead of everyone else. In direct contrast, those who walk in the wisdom of God, walk in humility. They are always trying to get along with others and serve each another.

Jesus described the wisdom of this world in: “The Parable of the Unjust Steward” (see Luke 16:1-8). In this parable, a young man is told that he is going to be dismissed by his boss. Facing the possibility that he might find himself living on the street, he devised a plan to get help from the people who owed money to his boss. He had each of them come in and reduce the amount of debt they owed by a sizable amount. He did this so that they would feel indebted to him and welcome him into their homes. When his boss found out what he had done, he wasn’t angry but commended him for his shrewd business plan. He thought he had been very wise!

Then Jesus spoke these amazing words:

“For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.” (Luke 16:8 NKJV)

In the King James Version, it reads:

“For the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.”

Please understand that Jesus didn’t endorse what the unjust steward had done – it was his boss who commended him! All Jesus did was point out the way people use the wisdom of this world to get ahead in life. In this respect, the children of this world seem to be wiser than the children of light, because we refuse to follow the wisdom of the world.

God does not want His children to get their wisdom from this world – He doesn’t want us to copy them or follow their example! Instead, He wants us to reject the wisdom of this world and get all of our wisdom from Him.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God.” (1 Corinthians 3:8-9 KJV)

In other words, as God’s saints we need to become a fool in the eyes of the world, in order to become wise in the eyes of God. He wants to be our only source for wisdom!

The Apostle James wrote:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5 NKJV)

God is a generous giver! If we need wisdom to handle a certain problem, He won’t tell us off for getting into that mess. Instead He wants to give us all the wisdom we need to get out of it. For this reason, God wants His children to ask Him for wisdom in everything they do!

You are holy, dear saint!

Steve Smith

[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., unless otherwise noted.]

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