Race to Happiness (WISDOM)
I came across an article on Authentic Happiness issued in a University of Pennsylvania newsletter. The author says “Wisdom is the product of knowledge and experience, but it is more than the accumulation of information. It is the coordination of this information and its deliberate use to improve well-being.” (Emphasis mine)
Using the accumulation of knowledge and experience as a deliberate use to improve well-being… I just love that! Over the past couple of months, I’ve been very intentional in finding grace to improve my well-being, renew my mind and declutter my soul. For me, wisdom equates to peace in understanding. Whether it comes directly from the Word of God or wisdom obtained from a friend.
On the flip side, however, sometimes gaining wisdom brings conviction. But Thank GOD for conviction! That confirms to me that God is not far. He's still talking to me and pushing me to grow. His Spirit is living in me, giving me guidance and that’s exactly what I need. The problem is when I feel convicted but ignore it (not wise) and find myself in an unfavorable situation, which leads to unhappiness.
Ultimately our flesh wants to do one thing but the Spirit guides us to the RIGHT thing. Paul says in the Book of Romans 7, starting at verse 15, in summary: “I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead I do the opposite. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do wrong, but I do it anyway.” He says he is not the one doing it, “it is the sin that lives in me” (v. 20 NLT).
He goes on to say in v. 24 (NLT), “There is no happiness in me! Who can set me free from my sinful old self?” We all know the answer to Paul’s question is rhetorical because he goes on to say in the very next verse “The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and he does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.” (v. 25 MSG)
The bible says we are not fighting against flesh and blood but against Satan and his army (Ephesians 6:12). We have to be deliberate in our race and throughout our journey. We are pulled in so many directions all day long, whether it is physically, spiritually or emotionally. Without wisdom, discipline and hope in Christ, where would we be? Lost! Trust me, I’ve been there. I’ve been saved since I was a child, but from time to time (and time and time again), along the way I stumble. And each time Christ is right there to pick me up out of the dirt.
When the adulterous woman was caught in John 8, Jesus said to her oppressors “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” As they dropped their stones and walked away Jesus said:
“Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”
“No one, Master.”
“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”
John 8:1-11 (MSG)
Because none of us are without sin, we can be sure that woman sinned again at some point in her life. But this story just goes to show how much GRACE God has for us! We fall so many times on our journey and he is right there the whole time. But when we fall short, we have to be diligent enough to use the accumulation of knowledge and past experiences to improve our well-being.
I heard a fellow Sunday school teacher say “I’m happiest when I’m holiest”. This has stuck with me because it’s so true! When we are fully submitted to God and his will, removed from all distractions that keep us from our relationship with Christ, there lays the peace we’ve been looking for. All hell can break loose in your life but you can smile and know that God has already taken care of it.
There are so many things to say about wisdom. The entire book of Proverbs is consumed with Solomon’s instruction on being wise in SO many areas of our life. If you’ve never read the book of Proverbs, I highly recommend it! This is the final part of my journal on my Race to Happiness and how hope, discipline and wisdom are found along the way.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony”
– Mahatma Gandi
Thank you for joining me in my journal to Finding Grace.
Enjoy the journey