So, You Call Yourself A Christian?
Not part of my plan, but definitely and clearly part of God's plan; today I'll be continuing the conversation about wisdom. The title & subtitle I chose are not an exact quote from the closing part of Sunday's sermon, but pretty close. So, for a handful of me & my friends in Sunday School class the theme of wisdom overflowed into the Worship service, once again. Last week I encouraged you to just ask for wisdom. This week I would like to encourage you to take that wisdom and start using it! I know, mind blowing, right?
Our Sunday School hour was spent discussing knowledge verses wisdom. The sermon, for me anyway, was just a continuation of this subject. The two words used in the sermon were believer and disciple. Let me see if I can bring it all together for you like I feel it was for me.
I'd venture to say that we have some knowledge of the Bible.
Let's start with knowledge. If we've been a Christ follower for just about any amount of time, I'd venture to say that we have some knowledge of the Bible. We're learning the difference between right & wrong choices. We have a plethora of information at our fingertips. We're learning who God is. His characteristics. Who we should be as His servant. I believe it would be safe to say that the knowledge of realizing we're a sinner in need of a Savior was the start of it all. Therefore, we can call ourselves a believer, right? Of course, this is where it all begins. Thank the Lord it's not all there is.
"practice what you preach."
Enter wisdom. Is wisdom something God bestows on only those that have served Him the longest? Is it something that sparks out from the end of some wand He carries around and only those that happen to be at the end of it get to be the wise ones? Is it only granted to a few chosen ones who have the inside secret on how to ask for it in the right way? No, no & nope. Our Sunday School lesson goes so much deeper than what I'm about to say, but to sum up the difference between knowledge & wisdom: knowledge is the what, wisdom is the how. So knowledge is the information, but wisdom is actually doing it. In my opinion, it's similar to the difference between believer and disciple. Believer is where you stand, it's who or what you are. But a Disciple moves...carries it out, puts those beliefs into motion, into practice. Kind of reminds me of the saying, "practice what you preach." Although, you can't have one without the other, it's important to grow into wisdom as a practicing disciple. This process will be ongoing until we finally get to see Jesus face to face. It will be a constant process of knowledge transforming into wisdom. Being a believer transforming into a disciple.
"throwing yourself face down...laying all the way down...spread eagle...doing a belly flop on God."
What does that look like? How do we do it? What's the result of those coming together as one? Let's go back to wisdom. It's roots are found in the fear of the Lord (see Proverbs 1). Which requires trusting in the Lord. I'm not sure if I wrote this down exactly as it was said, but I will try to covey it the best I can - trusting in the Lord is doing this: "throwing yourself face down...laying all the way down...spread eagle...doing a belly flop on God." Can you picture yourself doing this? Try to. Close your eyes. If you've managed to picture this, then I can imagine a big smile across your face right now. I can so see myself doing this because I did it when I was a child with my mom. My children have done it to me, too. They, without reserve, just threw themselves onto me without even pausing. Without doubting. Our children trust us. This is a picture of wisdom.
We could learn a lot from children if we'd choose to.
1. Simple faith. "Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:17
2. Simple trust. "Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3
3. Simple love. "Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise." Matthew 21:16
And practice, my friend, makes progress!
Let's not allow ourselves to just have knowledge without wisdom. Instead, let's allow ourselves to grow from knowledge to wisdom. Serving Christ is an action. It's a practice. And practice, my friend, makes progress! Again, wisdom is acting on that knowledge. Let's take that first step & move...it's been my experience (and I'm betting yours too) that Jesus will meet us right there, in fact, He's already there waiting. Good for you, for me, we've just grown in wisdom and will every single time we act on that knowledge and every single time we choose to move from believer to disciple, we grow more into a wise disciple. Oh how I'd love to be referred to as a wise disciple of Jesus.
"Don't just listen to the Word, do what it says." James 1:22
Let me ask again....."So, we call ourselves a Christian...then why don't we act like it?"