South Lake Tahoe, California
October 1, 2021
The word “wisdom” is something we often hear discussed by good people, and, especially today, by those who claim to be worldly wise. But true wisdom is actually a virtue that sees past this world, delving deeply into life and observing its very foundations.
Webster’s defines wisdom variously as ‘good judgment, learning, knowledge’, and as being ‘shrewd or clever’. A wise man or woman today is generally thought of as someone who has learned to use what the world has to offer to become successful in life. This is often defined as making a lot of money and being financially secure; having an abundance of possessions; having power, authority and influence over other people; being famous; enjoying many pleasures; and being admired by others. Worldly wisdom consists of having the foresight, industriousness, and cleverness to use what the world has to offer to your advantage. But is this kind of success really working to your advantage? Scripture gives us a stark warning:
“What profit would a man show if he were to gain the whole world and destroy himself in the process? What can a man offer in exchange for his very self?” Matthew 16, 26
True wisdom from God goes well beyond profiting from what the world has to offer, and, instead, pairs it with the eternity we will all face after death as the completion of what our lives here only begin. These two, time and eternity, are a matched set. They together create the whole that we must see as humans to truly benefit from earthly life. If we don’t take into account this pairing of life and afterlife, we can easily end up endlessly competing against one another in an effort to appropriate for ourselves goods, pleasures and accomplishments of this world. In this feeding frenzy, we can easily overlook our need to develop good character, virtue, and the willingness to love others among whom we live. The result of this myopic focus often leads people to live selfish lives, concentrating on their rights, their needs, their benefit, and their way, and neglecting what others might be experiencing or what they want or need, especially their need for personal love and attention from us. This puts self on the throne, with everyone else’s needs either relegated to some later time, or simply forgotten altogether. Would anyone want to spend their lives with selfish people like this? Would you? Think about it. Honestly, I don’t enjoy interacting with selfish people, you undoubtedly don’t either, and even the selfish and self-centered people themselves seem to be prone to particularly abhor selfish people like themselves. They would much rather live among the virtuous, the selfless, the thoughtful, the kind, and those who are loving and caring. This should give them a clue that maybe they themselves should be aspiring to be like those that they prefer to be around.
Here’s where the Golden Rule comes into play and begins to expose the need for pairing how we act here in this life with what we can expect in the next, where we will hopefully be living life together forever with others in heaven: “Do unto others as you would have them do to you”. This means all others, not just your friends and relatives. Humans are not just smart “animals” and subject to “the survival of the fittest” that Charles Darwin made so famous. Real animals have a razor sharp focus on themselves, blindly preserving their existence while having no care whatsoever for those that they might pursue and eat. In nature it is truly a ‘dog eat dog’ world. Good humans don’t function like that: We have consciences which teach us about right and wrong; we build hospitals and train people to care for the sick; and we maintain laws, courts, and jails to rescue the good and punish the evil. We function above the need to survive at all costs which rules the natural world, and go by higher laws of good and evil which are not part of this natural world. This was known even to the psalmist who penned the words below approximately 2,500 years ago:
“Why should I fear in evil days when my wicked ensnarers ring me round? They trust in their wealth, the abundance of their riches is their boast. Yet, in no way can a man redeem himself or pay his own ransom to God; Too high is the price to redeem one’s life; he would never have enough to remain alive always and not see destruction.” Psalm 49, 6-10
Humans are not animals whose sole purpose in life is to survive and live to see another day. Animals can never actually avoid death anyway, but only delay its inevitable coming for them. In contrast, we humans are all children of God, and true wisdom for us looks beyond this world and seeks to know him, his holiness, and the eternity in which he lives. We were made for eternity, not for pursuing temporary experiences and pleasures on earth, for they all end in death. We were made for life, and that life is contained in God himself. Human wisdom seeks the earth and all that it can give us, while God’s wisdom teaches us to use our earthly lives to prepare ourselves for eternity. That preparation leads us towards holiness, self-sacrifice, good character, virtue, selflessness, and love for our fellow man, as well as particularly to love of the God who created us. The promises of the words of scripture from the Apostle Paul should spur us on:
“There is, to be sure, a certain wisdom which we express among the spiritually mature. It is not a wisdom of this age, however, nor of the rulers of this age, who are men headed for destruction. No, what we utter is God’s wisdom: a mysterious, a hidden wisdom. God planned it before all ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age knew the mystery; if they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory (Jesus). Of this wisdom it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love him.'” 1 Corinthians 2, 6-9
All humans who take the time to honestly reflect on the meaning and purpose of life, come to the conclusion that there is much greater purpose here than meets the eye. We can sense it in the beauty and order we see all around us, and we can hear it whisper over and over to our minds, “There is hidden gold underlying life everywhere–search for it!” The gold that we find here will ultimately result in what is described beautifully in the last sentence of the above scripture quote from 1 Corinthians, Chapter 2. This is the heaven that awaits all believers at death. This potentially includes all of you reading this article. Yes, it has not even dawned on man or even entered his imagination, the awesome eternity that God has prepared for us who love him and want it. This is because we will all be immersed forever in God’s majesty, purity, glory, perfection, holiness, and in his immense love for us. He will be generously sharing his supernatural being and life with us, that is why we can’t even imagine it. He lives in a completely different plane than we do in our earthly realm, both transcending it and at the same time sustaining its very existence by his mighty power.
And we don’t have to pay to enter heaven either, like we must do to get much of anything of value here on this earth. Our only “payment”, so to speak, is to seek God your Creator with all your heart, confess your sins to him, and submit to his kingship over you. When you find him, he will not be a stranger to you, for he is our Father and we his offspring. It will actually be a homecoming! I myself received an awesome downpayment on heaven when I earnestly sought God and was filled with his Holy Spirit way back in May of 1974. His Holy Spirit has been within me, empowering and leading me every day since then. It felt like I was on ‘cloud 9’ for seven months after this experience, often experiencing times of euphoria and bliss. I encourage all of you reading this to seek God for yourselves like I did. True wisdom tells us to willingly and joyfully do this, and that experiencing God himself for eternity is the true goal of life.
I will leave you with a final quote that accurately describes what I have experienced throughout my life since that glorious day in 1974. I sincerely wanted to know what life was all about back then, and it has been an astounding journey for me to be led on a grand tour of the very fabric of life ever since. I am surprised by something new practically every day. Meditate on the following scripture and seek to absorb its message into your very being and life. You will not be disappointed!
“Yet God has revealed this wisdom to us through the Spirit. The Spirit scrutinizes all matters, even the deep things of God. Who, for example, knows a man’s innermost self but the man’s own spirit within him. Similarly, no one knows what lies at the depths of God but the Spirit of God. The Spirit we have received is not the world’s spirit but God’s Spirit, helping us to recognize the gifts he has given us. We speak of these, not in words of human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, thus interpreting spiritual things in spiritual terms. The natural man does not accept what is taught by the Spirit of God. For him, that is absurdity. He cannot come to know such teaching because it must be appraised in a spiritual way.” 1 Corinthians 2, 10-14
Rise above the natural man within you, seek and find God, and become truly wise and heaven bound.