Family: Why Wisdom?

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When Jesus speaks about a “narrow way” and a “broad way” one leading to life and the other to destruction, we learn that paths lead to places and the decisions we make cause us to walk the path we do.  As we have seen, the gospel should be the very thing that informs our thinking and therefore the decisions we make. The reason we require wisdom is because we need to hear from God through His Word and have the sense to follow what he says. God who knows the beginning from the end and who understands our limits, fears and desires is the one, we should trust above all. There is no place on earth where God is absent and with this, in mind, we need to teach our children to live recognising that God is always present.

The wisdom of God teaches us that God’s will, which is done in heaven, is also being done on earth. With God being involved in all things, wisdom reminds us that we can never avoid His involvement within our lives and that a person’s beliefs and opinions cannot alter the facts as revealed in Scripture.  Wisdom is essential for learning about the ways of God and how God deals with His people. God is known through what He does and therefore being unaware of the will of God doesn’t cause a person to avoid it, it simply causes such a person to be frustrated as to why their lives aren’t going the way we thought they would or should.

Direction for Children

Children who try to find their own way through life need to be told that there is only one way that God approves of and this way is what’s best for them. Teaching them to understand the involvement which God has in their lives is essential for them to understand the battles they will face. Challenges increase within parenting as the child grows and there is always more to contend with and as the child contends with the world, and this is where parents need to speak the wisdom of God into the lives of their children. So that through our words to them they may come to see for themselves with clarity what the right decision is. Yet, before they get there, they are likely to contend more with the parent who is making the right decision on their behalf, and this is another challenge for which we need God’s wisdom.

God wants His people to live a skillfull life in this fallen world and He provides a way for this to happen, by giving wisdom to those who ask him for it. Just as water naturally flows from higher ground to lower ground, so too does wisdom flow from God to us, from the mature in the faith to those who are maturing. This means, that in a world which is always changing we need to be committed to God and the wisdom he provides. Wisdom will teach us how to make decisions which honours God in a changing world so that we don’t change in the wrong way. How we walk today with the Lord is a good foundation for how we may walk with the Lord tomorrow, but it is no guarantee. This is why the wise hear the Word of God and increase in learning and the one who understands obtains guidance. This applies both to the parent and the child. Children are born ready to be committed to something and what that something is will depend on who is caring for them and who is speaking to them.

Being Ready

In order to be ready for tomorrow, we must be ready today for tomorrow and wisdom will cause us to think ahead, to make wise decisions ahead of time, trusting God daily and not being anxious about tomorrow. If our parenting is to be God-centered then it cannot become a half-hearted attempt at doing the right thing once in a while. It must always operate consciously under the Lordship of Christ. Since Jesus is Lord over all, He is Lord over parenting, meaning that what the Word of God says about parenting is the standard for parenting. The danger of a divided heart is a real one, it’s one to avoid. Solomon is often known as the wisest man on earth and at the same time the foolish, why can both be true? It’s true, not because the wisdom given to Solomon was insufficient but rather because there was a division in his heart. This division must be carefully understood.

Solomon is known for exercising great wisdom in 1 Kings 3. But it seems that Solomon was extremely wise for others but not for himself.  This is noticed by all that he loved and which he began to love more than God. He had a heart full of love and wisdom and this is where the division is witnessed. Solomon’s divided heart is witnessed by him loving others more than God and not treating the worship of God with the importance it deserves. He recognized that he was like a little child, immature but he was also the king. The wisdom he received was meant to influence all that he loved and the order, in which it should be loved, but it never happened, because of the division within his heart. It was a division between love and wisdom where neither seemed to influence the other because he did not apply the same wisdom to himself that he applied to others.

When God spoke to Solomon, telling him to ask him for anything, Solomon asked for wisdom because he takes two very important truths into consideration. The first is that he is like a child, the second is that he is a king and that’s not a good combination. He couldn’t do anything to change the fact that he was king, in the same way, a parent can’t do anything to change the fact that they are a parent. This knowledge, self-awareness informs what he prays for. He takes into account, his immaturity and his responsibility before God and asks for wisdom. Parents can learn a lot from Solomon here, by taking into consideration what we know ourselves to be, our weaknesses and our responsibilities. This is a good foundation, informing us, as to what we should be asking God for in prayer. But unlike Solomon we should do the wisdom we receive, applying it to what we love. Parenting will then take the shape it should have, providing us with clear reasons for why we do what we do and why we don’t do it another way.

By Daniel Ralph

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