Part Two of Two
Continuing with our series on Wisdom and Successful Living, we have found that wisdom is both from above and necessary in our daily living. It is a life skill that comes with knowledge and practice. It is the Hebrew term chokmah, which means skillful living or wisely winding your life with skill around the circumstances you face with good judgment and sober thinking and knowledge.
Last week we learned of the lost art or discipline of truth-telling. At least 50% of the time people lie or shade the truth or work on plausible deniability recitations. Unfortunately, being in the legal system does not change those percentages much, in my judgment. It is better in the actual courtroom, but still, perjury is too common.
In the Biblical model, truth does not stand alone. It did in the Old Testament. The Prophets spoke Truth, the Words of God, the warnings to Israel and others, and too often without much repentance from the Chosen Ones. But in the New Testament, it is a new economy, or age, or pattern. Because He who is Truth came in flesh and blood, and lived among us, and talked of the Kingdom, and modeled God’s love, we now have a model, and instruction, that blends truth and love.
Ephesians 4:15 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Last week we learned that “speaking the truth” is really “truthing” in the original Greek. In other words, all about us, our actions, our words, our intentions – are to model truth. But what is God’s love, Christian love? First the counterfeit, and then the real McCoy: Luke 10:27. The expert answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
- First, the counterfeit – the psychological babble. Some would focus on the last part of this passage first and assert that in order to Love God and Love others, we need to love ourselves. But that is not what it says. Nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to love ourselves. Quite the opposite. Sacrifice. Considering ourselves the least. That is the Biblical model. Contemplating our navel, gazing in the mirror, does nothing to focus our lives on God or others. The closest we get is Galatians 6, where we are “not to think more highly of ourselves then we ought to think…test ourselves.”
- Better the Real Deal – Loving God and loving others RATHER than ourselves. Whether it is in the context of Jesus’ model and teaching to his disciples and others, or the larger of the New Testament, biblical love is choosing the interests of others over or rather than ourselves. If you want to test yourself, ask “What is the need at hand, rather than what I want to do or say.” Being other minded, or asking what God has purposed in your life and relationships retools you toward God’s interest and way from self-interest.
So our goal: A life that models truth and integrity, and a lifestyle that has the skills of seeking God and other’s interests over our own. Pretty certain this is the first and greatest commandment. Godspeed to you and me as we keep this as our focus and life ambition.
– John Moore