This week I thought I’d share sections from one of my favourite chapters in one of my favourite books. The book is called Knowing God, by J.I. Packer and the chapter is titled, God’s Wisdom and Ours. If you’re ever looking for a challenging book that is jam-packed with sound doctrine and sound direction for Christian living, this is a must read. Every now and then life throws something at me that reminds me of the ideas presented in this chapter; it’s usually a conversation with someone, a circumstance, or just some of my own thoughts. This reminder is the exact kind of wake-up call we probably all need at times. I think you’ll see what I mean as you read on.
“Not till we have become humble and teachable, standing in awe of God’s holiness and sovereignty, acknowledging our own littleness, distrusting our own thoughts and willing to have our minds turned upside down, can divine wisdom become ours.
It is to be feared that many Christians spend all their lives in too unhumbled and conceited a frame of mind ever to gain wisdom from God at all. Not for nothing does Scripture say, ‘with the lowly is wisdom’ (Proverbs 11:2).”
“To live wisely, you have to be clear-sighted and realistic – ruthlessly so – in looking at life as it is. Wisdom will not go with comforting illusions, false sentiment, or the use of rose-colored glasses. Most of us live in a dream world, with our heads in the clouds and our feet off the ground; we never see the world, and our lives in it, as they really are. This deep-seated, sin-bred unrealism is one reason why there is so little wisdom among us – even the soundest and most orthodox of us.”
Packer paints a pretty bleak and scary picture for us, and basically says that none of us are exempt from this faulty thinking. Imagine he ended the chapter there? Thankfully, he goes on to dig into the book of Ecclesiastes to draw out some basic principles for us to live by. He advises us to,
“Live in the present, and enjoy it thoroughly (Ecclesiastes 7:14; 9:7-10; 11:9-10); present pleasures are God’s good gifts. Though Ecclesiastes condemns flippancy (7:4-6), he clearly has no time for the superspirituality which is too proud or too pious ever to laugh and have fun.”
I love that! Wisdom doesn’t mean men walking around in robes, stroking their long beards, and slowly nodding at all of life’s experiences. We don’t need to walk around with serious faces on, almost in tears about life and its difficult existence, but for some reason many of us associate wisdom with a pattern of solemn living. Having fun and enjoying all of God’s current blessings such as, our families, friends, jobs, all of your pinterests (without striving to become Jack ), sports, the Leafs (except last night), it is all a part of living wisely.
We do not have to know it all, in fact we can’t, and there is trouble in thinking that we’re even close. I’ll end off with my favourite quote in this chapter, and I hope you find it as encouraging as I did.
“…it is not a sharing in all his knowledge, but a disposition to confess that he is wise, and to cleave to him and live for him in the light of his Word through thick and thin.”