“He who gets wisdom loves his own soul;
He who keeps understanding will find good.”
“And do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
so that you may prove what the will of God is,
that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Sometimes reading the Bible is like a kick in the pants.
Other times, God’s word is a refuge from an environment which tries to strip away your most desperately held values.
Do you ever feel vindicated by Scripture?
On the whole, I believe conservative, Bible-believing Christians are far too hesitant to see Scripture as affirmative. In a world which is constantly tearing at their most treasured values and relationships, it is essential that God’s word is embraced as a refuge from this attack.
How often do you read God’s word, and think to yourself, “Hey! That IS what I’m doing…I’ve been doing the right thing!” Too often people believe Scripture merely encourages people to stop doing something, or do more of something else. I believe God’s word exists not only to point people in a certain direction, but to comfort and support those who follow it.
There is something deeply affirming in the phrase, “He who gets wisdom loves his own soul.” I know there are many areas in my life which remain immature, spiritually. I don’t intend to gloat through my discussion of Scripture. When I say that Scripture can be affirming to a believer, I believe it often affirms existing traits within believers…not the whole person (which always seems to retain some residual sin). Specifically, I have felt compelled to ask God for wisdom most of my praying life, and I am ever so grateful that I did. This is something I have done right, by God’s grace.
Proverbs has been deeply affirmative to me throughout my spiritual life. It’s filled with simple phrases about what is good and what isn’t; what is true and what is a lie and I have been immensely blessed by God’s gracious response to my earnest desire for wisdom. (Note: this list does not purport itself to be a good overall representation of my decision making skills…I’ve made countless bad, sinful ones which will remain unspoken (and forgiven) since they have nothing to do with the subject at hand (the acquisition of wisdom, not misuse and betrayal of it)).
Wisdom told me to listen to on-line sermons from MacArthur, Piper, Sproul, and Driscoll during high school.
Wisdom told me to go to a Bible college, because I needed to learn about the Bible from men much further along than I.
Wisdom told me to leave that Bible college, because I needed to share Christ with others in my classes, instead of just absorbing knowledge.
Most of all, wisdom has utterly compelled me to see the futility of living for any other thing apart from Jesus Christ. Wisdom has shown me that I am nothing if I am not everything for God. It is wisdom which makes hold so firmly to my view of God. Once I gleaned certain truths about God from my study of scripture like “sovereignty”, “holiness”, “grace”, “truth”, “steadfastness”, “lovingkindness”, I couldn’t ever let go of them. I will compromise on things like music, Bible translations, and evangelism methodology; but never on God.
If the God you embrace does not carry attributes of which you are certain and by which you are blown away, you have a weak God; you have a false God.
But if you do embrace those attributes of God to the extent that you are enraptured by him, do not ever be ashamed of it. You cannot speak of him too little, you cannot cherish him too much, and you cannot think of him too deeply. You ought not feel guilty for finding sin to be utterly disgusting; nor ought you feel ashamed for rejoicing too much when your environment seems to dictate distress or sorrow.
How does the act of “getting wisdom” constitute loving your own soul? Simply put, wisdom always ultimately leads one to further reliance upon God. Reliance upon God results in greater peace and satisfaction since God actively cares for those who turn to him for guidance. Who knows how to love and direct people better than their Designer?
Though the Bible teaches that turning to God is in one way an act of self-denial (Matt 16:24), it is in another way the highest act of self-love. It isn’t a direct act of self-love, the way commercials tell you to indulge yourself. It is a profoundly greater act of self-love, since you accept the embrace of the one who is able to love you far better than you understand.
…He who keeps understanding will find good.
So once you “get” wisdom…keep understanding. Stand firm in it. You will find good.