Monday, August 12, 2013

Wisdom by Taran Holland

            “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without           criticizing, and it will be given to him.                     James 1:5


            About a year ago I was selling books for my office on campus, and I had the privilege of talking to a very sweet couple. They had graduated from New Orleans Seminary in 1958 and 1960. Currently they were serving as the pastor couple for a church in Virginia. We talked about their experience on campus, how much the campus had changed then about our families. They had raised sons, two or three I can’t remember exactly, which was a common factor for myself as I was raising two little men at that time. (Currently we are adding number three to the mix…Come on September!) As I was expressing my need for patience with my sons, the wife gave me the best advice I have received in parenting. “Stop praying for patience, pray for the wisdom to raise them the way the Lord wants them to be raised.”

            WOW! Where had that been in the past three years I had been a mother? Pray for wisdom, because if I am wise I will know how to react to my children during those circumstances when I want to scream. So I began praying for the wisdom to raise my sons and seeking God’s Word on wisdom.

            I am often taken by the wisdom we see in Solomon and all because he asked for it. Here is God’s reply to Solomon’s request:


            “I will give you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has never been anyone like             you before and never will be again.” (1 Kings 3:12)


So, we are given proof that by asking God to give us good things, things that will help not only us but also the people around us, He will “give …generously”! That is very encouraging to a mother who feels like she only get’s it right 1/3 of the time. If we continue reading about Solomon we see many examples of how he exercised the wisdom God gave him. But for me, I’m not being approached by any women fighting over a child (a toy between brothers, maybe). So I’m left with some questions: What does wisdom look like? When I pray for God to give me wisdom, what exactly am I seeking Him for? Do I just want the right answer for that moment, or do I want something that is going to stick around long after this moment has passed?

            We find in James 3:13-17 a great description of what wisdom is and what wisdom is not. Here is what James has to say about it:


            “Who is wise and has understanding among you? He should show his works by good    conduct with wisdom’s gentleness. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t brag and deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where envy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder   and ever kind of evil. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace loving, gentle,             compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy.”


This passage really stands out to me when I think about how I mother my children. If I am to be a wise mother I should conduct myself with “wisdom’s gentleness”. The Greek word used here is prautes [prah OO tays] it is translated to gentleness. This specific type of gentleness only comes from within and manifests itself outwardly. Secondly, I should have no bitter envy or selfish ambition in my heart. That one seems pretty easy until the next verse points out that these characteristics exist when there is disorder…uh oh, lots of disorder in my house! Finally, we are given a descriptive definition of wisdom from above: pure, peace loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. When I look at this list it looks similar to the characteristics that we would give to God, our heavenly father. He is full of mercy, gentleness and peace when He is teaching and guiding His children. So, this is what my parenting should look like to. Gosh that seems like a tall order! Then I remember that God has already proven His willingness to give wisdom that I ask for.  

            The Lord has proven Himself faithful to answering my prayers for wisdom. This does not mean that I am an ever wise mother, who never has a melt down or whose children always listen. But I am encouraged by the promise that God is trustworthy to do as His Word says He will. He will give me the wisdom that I seek to parent my children. Lets also begin praying that I use the wisdom He gives me!

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