Wise as Serpents, Innocent as Doves

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5 ESV)


Last Sunday I asked us all to imagine what it would be like if we were a church known for its wisdom. There are many things the world needs that God's people can give. Faith. Hope. Love. The fruit of the Spirit. But the gift of wisdom is truly in short supply. But we need wise people. We need to be wise people. 


In the contemporary classic, The Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster says, “The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.” I couldn't agree more, and would only add that deep people are wise people. It is impossible to grow deep without wisdom. It is impossible for our gifts or intelligence to be truly fruitful without wisdom. I have met gifted people who lacked wisdom and have ended up destroying their lives. I have met intelligent people who have lacked wisdom and have ended up miserable. But people with depth and wisdom are generally joyful people, and joy is another of those great gifts the world desperately needs right now. 


Wisdom, Proverbs tells us, is to be sought above gold, silver, riches, power, prestige, about everything that most people spend their time seeking after. Wisdom, Proverbs tells us, is more valuable than all of these things. What if we believed that and sought to be people of wisdom? 


Wisdom gives us a way of navigating the world. Wisdom tells us that we shouldn't be surprised that we live in a world of conflict and misunderstanding. Jesus told his disciples, and so tells us, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves," but that is not a statement of despair because he goes on to say "so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16 ESV) Christ's disciples are meant to be known by their wisdom and innocence. What if we asked him to make us wise? After all, James says we simply must ask for wisdom. Would you join me in praying for wisdom? Ask God for wisdom as you navigate your day to day lives, your family, your job, your relationships. Ask God for wisdom, and let's see what happens.

- Chris+