be not wise in your own eyes; fear the lord, and turn away from evil. [proverbs 3:7]
we might not run around thinking “man, i’m so wise.” but our thoughts and actions would probably give us away. how often do we actually pray over a decision or weigh what we say against scripture? hopefully that answer is constantly and consistently. unfortunately, it’s often…maybe sometimes? these behaviors subconsciously reveal who we believe is the most wise. who will make the decision that gives me the outcome i desire? me, obviously.
and maybe you’re thinking, “well i’ve consistently made good decisions for my family because i’m very strategic, intelligent, and thoughtful.” well that’s nice, but it’s not necessarily wisdom. just a few chapters later in the psalms we read this:
“the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” psalm 9:10.
if you desire true wisdom, fear the Lord – but that’s just the beginning. fear the Lord, spend time in his word, talk to him in prayer and wisdom will follow. these are the actions that produce wisdom by extension, wise decisions.
do you want to know what to do? do you want wisdom in every aspect of your life? know Jesus. know him. read about him, talk to him. know him like you know your best friend. when you know him, you will know for certain that he is the only source for all wisdom. when you go to the source consistently for wisdom it’s much easier to turn away from evil.
the bible is full of verses mentioning “turning away from evil [psalm 34:14, proverbs 4:27, and many more!]. as usual, when something is repeated multiple times in the scripture, it’s something God really wants us to write on our hearts.
so we must assume that fearing the Lord and not regarding ourselves as wise has something to do with turning from evil. the tricky thing about evil is that it rarely looks evil. it usually looks beautiful, handsome, fulfilling, and life-giving. the satanic counterfeit of every good and perfect thing God gives us [james 1:17].
sometimes evil looks like jumping into a movement that aligns with our ideologies but causes us to elevate ideologies over Christ. sometimes it looks like indulging our flesh. whatever form it takes, it’s appealing. but it’s an appealing and unfulfilling lie. a mirage. what it promises is not reality.
the only way to recognize a mirage is to stop hallucinating. to stop hallucinating you need to be hydrated and full. perhaps that’s exactly why Jesus offers us living water. and maybe that’s why he calls himself the bread of life.
quench your thirst on living water and satisfy your hunger on the bread of life and you will see the mirage of evil for what it is. you will have wisdom, not of your own making, but from Christ who gives abundantly.
i do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, [ephesians 1:16-18]
~ erin boettge