Walk With The Wise
He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed. Proverbs 13:20
We see it all the time. Teenagers join the “wrong crowd,” and they make dumb choices they never would have made before. Sometimes these choices are minor annoyances for their parents, but sometimes they’re fatal. The choice of friends isn’t important just for teenagers, though It’s crucial for all of us.
Why are some of us attracted to “fools”? In many cases, attracted to them because they seem to live exciting lives. They take risks: they laugh loudly, play loudly, and sing loudly. This life looks like fun, and the truth is it is for a while. Many of us are wired to enjoy taking risks, and fools take more risks than others. The rush of adrenaline can be addictive.
On the other hand, “wise people” sometimes have a bad reputation. Actually we often mistakenly believe boring stuff, religious, and self-righteous are words that describe wisdom, and that doesn’t make wisdom attractive at all! True wisdom, though, is the ability to really live, to squeeze every drop of meaning out of life, and to look to God to give us the greatest adventure life has to offer. Unfortunately there are a lot more stiff, self righteous people out there than there are those who are truly wise and live exciting, Christ honoring lives.
Can you find a wise friend or two? Yes, they’re out there. But you may have to look hard to find them. Can you be one? That’s your challenge.
“Your best friend is the one who brings out your highest and best, never your lowest and least”.
One of the great gifts and sometimes the worst curse that God gave to humanity was choice and self-will. In the generosity and love of God, Adam and Eve given the ability to choose whether to trust and obey God or to succumb to the deceitfulness of the devil. I have been often asked why God would permit such things by the very people who would be greatly offended if they lost their choices. The responsibility of choice and it’s subsequent consequences are part and parcel of human living. Good and wise choices don’t always bring about happy endings which may be why they aren’t always chosen. Sometimes choosing the wise thing now may cause suffering. Consider for example the three Hebrew boys before the furnace. They were faced with a choice and neither thing they chose was going to be easy. If they chose to bow before the idol, their lives would be spared but their souls would be damned in eternity if they chose the idol over God. On the other hand if they chose not to bow, they would be thrown into the fiery furnace losing their lives but gaining eternity with God. In their case, they chose God and through His intervention were kept in the furnace. Hebrews tells us of those who made wise and godly choices that brought great suffering in this world but eternal reward.
Wisdom usually isn’t flashy or loud. It waits quietly for the seeker. It offers incredible benefits to those who pursue it and seek with patient trust in the source of it, God.
James tells us that we can receive wisdom from God if we will ask and that God never embarrasses us when we admit to being unwise.
On the other hand, foolish choices are flashy, grabbing our attention almost immediately. How often are we led down the path of fools with things that enamor us by tantalizing our earthly desires. How often do we yield to temptation before we consider the consequences of our choices. Remember Eve? Ever wonder why she was hanging out at the tree? To be sure whatever foolish choices we make, it is because they satisfy our desires. Many of us love amusement parks because the rides bring us as close to danger as we can get while being in a safe environment. Why are these things so attractive? Because they satisfy our innate desire to court danger.
The game of the devil is to get us enticed with dangerous things while thinking that we can stop just before they bring harm to us. That’s a dangerous game and many of us have found ourselves being pulled over the cliff before we realize we’ve gone too far.
There is a story of a wealthy man who wished to hire a new chauffeur. He brought his two candidates out to the top of a cliff. He instructed them to get into the car and drive it as fast as they could to the edge of the cliff. The first person got into the car and tore off toward the edge of the cliff and brought the car to a screeching halt a foot from the edge. I’m sure he thought he had performed well and that his driving skills were impressive. The second person got into the car and drove away from the cliff. “What a chicken,” thought the first person. The wealthy man walked over to the car and told the second driver that he was hired. You see he wanted someone he could trust to keep him safe, not someone who would bring him close to danger.
Wisdom moves us away from danger. Wisdom takes few risks. Wisdom is not a daredevil. Wisdom carefully considers the consequences of its choices.
The Bible speaks a lot about pursuing wisdom and the folly of foolish living. Solomon in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes laces his writing with comparing the life that chooses wisdom and the life that chooses foolish living. Paul as he is writing instructions to his young student minister gives these words:
“If you point out these instructions to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished [through study] on the words of the faith and of the good [Christian] doctrine which you have closely followed. But have nothing to do with irreverent folklore and silly myths. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness [keeping yourself spiritually fit]. For physical training is of some value, but godliness (spiritual training) is of value in everything and in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and for the life to come. This is a faithful and trustworthy saying worthy of full acceptance and approval. It is for this that we labor and strive [often called to account], because we have fixed our [confident] hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe [in Him, recognize Him as the Son of God, and accept Him as Savior and Lord]. Keep commanding and teaching these things. Let no one look down on [you because of] your youth, but be an example and set a pattern for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in [moral] purity. Until I come, devote yourself to public reading [of Scripture], to preaching and to teaching [the sound doctrine of God’s word]. Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, [that special endowment] which was intentionally bestowed on you [by the Holy Spirit] through prophetic utterance when the elders laid their hands on you [at your ordination]. Practice and work hard on these things; be absorbed in them [completely occupied in your ministry], so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself [concentrate on your personal development] and to your teaching; persevere in these things [hold to them], for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.
1 Timothy 4:6-16
May we develop the habit of consulting God with our choices. May we find those who are walking in God’s wisdom and choose them as our mentors. May we indeed become wise- not in our own eyes but in the ways of God.
Dr. John Thompson