The Foundation of Wisdom
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10). Initially, the connection between these two concepts may be difficult to grasp. How can fearing God make us wise?
First, we need to understand what it means to fear the Lord. This term is used to describe an awesome reverence for God that moves us to acknowledge Him as the sovereign ruler of heaven and earth, submit to His will, and walk in obedience. The result of such a response will be the acquisition of wisdom.
If we commit ourselves to living for God’s purposes rather than our own, we will gain greater understanding of Him. The Holy Spirit will enable us to see circumstances and people from His divine perspective. This kind of wisdom reaches beyond human perception and gives us discernment to make decisions that fit into the Lord’s plans for our life. Knowing that He always works for our best interests, we are empowered to walk confidently through both good and bad times.
But if we reject God’s instructions, we dishonor Him with our refusal to acknowledge His right to rule our life. It’s foolish to rebel against His authority and think we can ever win. Those who won’t fear God will never know real wisdom.
What is your attitude toward the Lord? If you truly revere Him, you will listen for His directions and heed His warnings. A desire to honor and please Him will motivate you to turn from evil and seek to live in obedience. The result will be wisdom beyond human understanding.
Your dominion endures throughout all generations.
Yahweh is faithful in all his words,
and loving in all his deeds.
Now we know better. According to his widow, Susan Williams, the comedian had no alcohol or illegal drugs in his system when he died and had been sober for eight years. Nor was his death the result of depression. Rather, he was a victim of what Susan calls “the chemical warfare that no one knew about.” Specifically, her husband was a victim of Lewy body dementia (LBD), a progressive disease caused when normal proteins in the brain begins to aggregate and interfere with the brain’s ability to transmit signals.
LBD victims experience confusion, reduced attention span, memory loss, hallucinations, and wide mood swings. Doctors who examined autopsy results told Susan that her husband’s disease progression was one of the worst they had ever seen. She now believes that Robin knew he was losing his cognitive abilities, and chose to die before his condition got even worse.
This news is important for several reasons.
First, it highlights the fact that many people face devastating diseases most of us don’t know exist. According to the National Institute of Health, LBD afflicts one million people in the U.S. Yet I had never heard of it before Susan Williams made her husband’s condition public.
Second, her report shows that it’s always too soon to judge other people. It is never true that “I know how you feel.” Even if I am in the exact circumstances you face, I experience them differently than you do. I remember reading a counselor’s advice when dealing with people who disappoint or frustrate you: there’s always “one more thing” you don’t know. If you knew that fact or factor, you might still disagree with their behavior, but you would understand it better.
The Sand Trap of Perfection
Everyone wants to be perfect – flawless, blameless, and excellent. The problem is that no one is, nor can anyone be, truly perfect. Perfection is reserved for God alone.
So while many of us make perfectionism — the quest to be perfect — a way of life, we aren’t helping ourselves. Instead, we are setting ourselves up to believe we can reach unrealistic goals, and in the long run, that makes us less productive, less resilient, and unsuccessful. As strange as it sounds, perfectionism sets us up to become perfect failures!
And that is perfectly alright. We all fall into the sand trap of perfection from time to time. The key to success and forward movement is to not stay camped out there.
The best role models are not the people to whom we can hardly relate. If their virtues seem unattainable to us, then we aren’t motivated to even try to become like them. However, when we are presented with individuals who struggle, stumble, and fail sometimes just like we do, but are still wonderful and successful, that is something we can aspire to. “If he can do it, so can I” becomes the attitude. It is empowering and encouraging.
The same principle holds when we set personal goals for ourselves. If we set the standard impossibly high, we aren’t nearly as motivated or as likely to achieve that goal. However, when we embrace our imperfections and set goals that honor our strengths as well as our weaknesses, we are well on the road to success.
Ultimately, God isn’t looking for perfection, and neither should we. Life is about becoming better – not perfect. It’s about being perfectly dedicated to becoming the best that WE can be – imperfections and all. (D J Saker)