Julian Freeman

Freed to live through the death of another.

Tag: Wisdom (page 3 of 3)

How Simple and Shrewd Viewed Sage

I wrote this a few years ago for a different forum. I thought I might as well post it here as well. Hope you enjoy!

——–

In a place far from here three men, each on a pilgrimage met each other as they were travelling down a forlorn path. Conversation quickly revealed that the three were all desirous of reaching the same destination. One was an old man named Sage who said he had himself carved these paths many years ago. The second man was Simple, a smithy by trade, who often seemed quite pliable. The third man, a young noble named Shrewd, was wise in his own eyes and often desired to forge new paths, even as he imagined Sage had done when he was young.

As the three travelled on for some days, Sage offered direction time and again as he led them through grounds neither of the younger men had seen before. Every time he provided direction, no matter how unlikely it seemed, his word proved to be true and they found themselves to always be headed in the right direction.

Eventually, when the two young men awoke one morning, they found Sage already dressed for travel. He informed them that he had to depart for some time, but that if they followed his directions, he would meet them at the end of their journey. After some days on the path, he said, they would come to a cave. Despite what they saw, no matter how difficult the path through the cave would become, they were to keep going and not give up. This was the only route, he warned, that would take them to the land they desired.

Sure enough, after two days of walking, Simple and Shrewd found themselves at the mouth of a cave. Shrewd took a good long look at the cave, examining it from various perspectives. He warned Simple that caves such as this had been found to be perilous traps before for clueless pilgrims. Simple, however, was convinced that this was the cave he had been told they would find. Seeing that Simple would not be swayed, Sage reluctantly said he too would enter, but that Simple must go first.

As they entered the cave, they found that it travelled only down. Further and further it went, and the air got increasingly frigid. Soon it was totally black and both Simple and Shrewd were in despair for their lives. Looking ahead as far as he could, evaluating the little of the contours of the cave his eyes could discern, Shrewd began to speak:

‘Simple, this is all wrong. Anyone with a half a brain knows that a cave which leads to open land lets in light from both ends. If it is day time outside, and there is a way out of this cave, then we would be able to see light. It makes sense. To follow this path any longer is illogical. We can see that with our eyes. If you insist on staying here anymore, you will have to go it alone, because wisdom advises me to turn around.’

Simple reasoned, ‘The man Sage has never lied to me. He has led me safe this far, and even his words about this cave proved true; the way is difficult. Would it not be more foolish now to turn back, having seen that his counsel has been good thus far?’ And so he spoke to Shrewd, ‘I cannot see the light we both know we should see. But I know the man Sage, and I trust him. I will not turn back.’

So Shrewd and Simple parted ways.

Shrewd quickly, since he was moving towards the light, found his way out. Once out into the forest again, he surveyed the land, checked his compass, and headed off to forge his own path; to take the road less travelled and make his own mark. Not a mile from the cave, as he was looking at his compass, thinking hard about which way made the most sense to him, he happened to walk in between a family of bears, separating a mother from her cubs without even knowing it. He was mawled, and there he died, compass in hand, never having reached his desired land and never having carved the paths he had wanted.

After Shrewd left, Simple continued slowly through the cave. Shortly he had to feel his way along with only his hands as his sight completely failed him in the dark. Several times he hit his head or stubbed his toe, and many times he even began to question whether or not Sage’s words had been correctly spoken–or perhaps they had been misunderstood on his own part? He was, after all, an unlearned man.

But after some time of following the dark, damp, cool walls of the cave, Simple noticed that the wall on his right side disappeared and he realized that he was at a corner. Turning the corner, he caught a glimpse–could it be?–just a glimpse of light ahead. The more he walked toward it, the brighter it got, until he was finally able to walk with ease.

Coming out the other side of the cave he found his old friend, Sage to guide him the rest of the way home to the land of rest he had always desired.

How Can I Become Wise?

One of the greatest questions I think any young Christian (whether young as a person or young as a Christian–or both!) can ask is this: How can I become wise?

To say that the Scriptures speak highly of wisdom is an understatement indeed (see here for just one example). So how does one attain it?

Here is a very incomplete list. I compiled it a little while ago when reading through the book of Proverbs. I wanted to take note of everywhere the book gave instructions on how to become wise.

The funny thing about wisdom is that it’s not just attained by anyone. It begins with a humble heart and is wrought in us only as we diligently and continually look for it.

Wisdom, in the biblical sense, speaks more of the ability to skilfully live a godly life in a fallen world than it does to the mere amassing of knowledge. To be wise is to be blessed: a life that is approved by God is a happy life indeed (in the truest sense of happiness).

So how does one become wise? Here’s my (ever-growing) list. Feel free to make any additions from verses I’ve missed!

How Can I Become Wise?

Prov 10 8 The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.

Prov 10 17 Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.

Prov 11 2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

Prov 12 1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

Prov 12 15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.

Prov 13 1 A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

Prov 13 10 By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom.

Prov 13 13 Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.

Prov 13 14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.

Prov 13 18 Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honoured.

Prov 13 20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

Prov 13 24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

Prov 14 15 The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.

Prov 15 5 A fool despises his father’s instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is prudent.

Prov 15 10 There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way; whoever hates reproof will die.

Prov 15 12 A scoffer does not like to be reproved; he will not go to the wise.

Prov 15 31 The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise.

Prov 15 32 Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.

Prov 17 10 A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.

Prov 18 2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

Prov 18 15 An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.

Prov 19 20 Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.

Prov 19 25 Strike a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence; reprove a man of understanding, and he will gain knowledge.

Prov 20 18 Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war.

Prov 23 12 Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.

Prov 24 6 for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counsellors there is victory.

Prov 25 12 Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear.

Prov 27 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

Prov 27 9 Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.

Prov 28 9 If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.

Prov 28 23 Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favour than he who flatters with his tongue.

Prov 28 26 Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.

Prov 29 1 He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.

Prov 29 5 A man who flatters his neighbour spreads a net for his feet.

Prov 29 15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

Prov 29 17 Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.

If you want, you can download a pdf version of this list to print or for further mediation here.

For more thoughts on the connections between humility and wisdom, you can download a sermon I preached a while ago, called ‘From Poverty of Spirit to Riches of Wisdom.

From Poverty of Spirit to Riches of Wisdom

I have had the privelege of filling the pulpit at Grace Fellowship Church for the past few weeks while ‘the preacher‘ (aka kerux) was away on vacation. The past two Sunday nights I tried to draw some more practical thoughts together with regards to poverty of spirit (see here, here, here, and here for the series I started, and to which I hope to return shortly).

This message’s title was ‘From Poverty of Spirit to Riches of Wisdom.’ The basic premise is that if we are broken before God, we will be humble before others (poverty of spirit) and that this will result in true life change (ie. wisdom: the ability to live skillfully, in a way that pleases God in the midst of a fallen world). In order to live wisely, we must be humble.

Here’s the outline:

  1. Humility allows us to gain wisdom (verses)
  2. Humility make us able to take reproof / correction (verses)
  3. Humility leads us to avoid temptation (verses)
  4. Humility leads to less talking and therefore less sin (verses)
  5. Humility makes it easier to admit guilt & need for reconciliation (verses)
  6. Humility gives ability to be content with less (verses)
  7. The humble one aligns himself with the Lord (verses)
  8. Humility allows us to treat all others fairly (verses)
  9. Humility gives us ability to accept what comes in life (verses)
  10. Humility allows us to have genuine, godly friendships (verses)
Newer posts

© 2019 Julian Freeman

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑