The secret back door to wisdom

Some old guy with all the answers — that’s our image of the wise man. So many times my wisest moments happen when I don’t have a clue. Here’s why.

I’ve never been in jail — although in the past I deserved it. Now, I help coordinate a Bible prison ministry. Maybe I’m slow or naive, but some things that happen in there just fly way over my head.

The prison is a complex world of corruption, betrayal, and deceit. Since I don’t always “get it”, this makes me look dumb. Maybe even innocent. It’s not the bad behavior that surprises me. That’s not what I’m talking about here.

We bring God’s word to the inmates. We don’t get involved in politics or leadership decision making. Some authorities appreciate us, others tolerate us, still others hate us.

High above it all, God’s hand works.

It doesn’t depend on me or anyone else. All the manipulation — and my failure to capture what’s going on — MAKES NO DIFFERENCE.

Understanding and accepting this makes me wise.

I don’t like to be the last one to get the joke. I’d rather be the smart one who sees right through a situation. The older inmates do this incredibly well. Still, when I accept my limited view, the Lord opens up other insights to me that allow me to be more useful.

Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”

Want to be wise? Then fear God. If you prefer the word “respect” that’s fine too. If he wants to, he can remove you from the scene at any moment. You might protest that God is love, but he’s also the ALMIGHTY authority. Don’t ever forget that. God loves you, but it’s not about you. It’s about him. It’s about his Son.

A wise man has the right PERSPECTIVE.

God gave humankind all that is good and beautiful. We gave back sin in return. Christ paid for this with his blood. THAT’S how fearsome GOD IS. THAT’S the standard God sets for LOVE.

I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9)

When this fully sinks in, I can begin to be wise.

Humility is the secret back door to wisdom.

Many times I try the wrong door. I act with fake humility — usually to avoid conflict. Prudence becomes my excuse for lack of faith.  I say I’m humble, but I’m actually afraid. Instead of being dumb — I act dumb which reveals my cowardice.

Other times I get overconfident, it all depends on me, or I have all the answers. I make a lot of noise for God when all I really want is attention or control. Then I’m shown how little I really know. I’m shown how little I control. If I resist this, I’m an arrogant fool.  If I accept this, I’m wise.

So I get on my knees and seek God’s guidance. That’s my only hope. If I wait for him to show me, he calls the shots. Then the blessing is baked in. If I must be humiliated since my head’s too big, so be it. If the Spirit gives me the courage to kill a giant, then may God’s will be done.

This process is never perfect. It’s fed by a relentless desire to know God and implement his Word my life.

I don’t know Lord. I’m dumb sometimes. But if you say so, I’ll trust and obey.

The door to wisdom is humility. The humble heart opens itself to God and lets him do his work.

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