‘Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.’ Proverbs 8: 10-11
A month or two ago I was reading through Proverbs. The words ‘wisdom‘, ‘knowledge‘, ‘understanding‘, ‘discernment‘, and ‘insight‘ come up time and time again throughout this book of sage sayings and advice. For someone who has massive respect for people who have cultivated wisdom and ‘old souls’ full of knowledge and understanding, I was filled with a craving for these qualities and ardently prayed that God would fill me and allow me to grow in ‘wisdom’, ‘knowledge’, ‘understanding’, ‘insight’ and ‘discernment’, for all areas of my life.
Through the many verses and passages relating to these qualities, it becomes apparent that the way to obtain these qualities is to read the Word, obey the instructions outlined in it and follow God’s will. Simples! 😛
‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will’. Romans 12: 2
This quest for increased wisdom and discernment is an ongoing and lifelong process. However, these qualities do not emerge without some challenges along the way. ‘Be transformed by the renewing of your mind’.
Over the last year or two, my faith has deepened substantially. Although ironically, it has also been in the last year or two where my faith has been challenged most severely. I have found myself further from God than I have ever felt, to the point where I questioned, not necessarily His existence, but His worth in my life. (Shameful to read that in print. But I’m real in my journals and I’ll be real here too). To the point where I wanted to throw in the towel altogether with regards to my faith, but was caught in a place of desperation knowing that I couldn’t ‘un-believe’ what I knew to be true, however ‘easier’ I thought my life would be to just ‘un-believe’. This ‘crisis of faith’ was a period He pulled me out of purely by grace on top of grace on top of grace. And palpable love on top of love on top of love. It was a gentle process of kneading my heart and my spirit, allowing me to fully break, piecing me back together and weaving those broken pieces with strong threads of love, compassion, empathy, more love, grace, and tender healing. During this process, I needed to be transformed by the renewing of my mind. I needed to seek Him out, and in fervently doing so, He was able to reveal Himself to me with more clarity than ever before.
This song spoke to me a lot during that time, and still does:
'You're more real than the the wind in my lungs. You're more real than the ground I'm standing on. Abba, I belong to You' (Song: Abba - Jonathan David Helser)
More recently amidst the whirlwind of chaos and intensity life can sometimes throw at you, I have questioned my ability to discern His voice and instruction in terms of His will in my life. I have struggled with the insight, knowledge and understanding aspects of faith in some ways. This has and is continuing to lead me to a place of acceptance of my weaknesses and human flaws, understanding better what it means when Paul wrote,
‘Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong’. 2 Corinthians 12: 8-10
I am fast discovering that humility is this season’s lesson! My capabilities lie in His strength and sometimes I won’t understand, but have to relinquish the control and trust Him despite this. Letting go in this way, brings about humility. Sometimes, we are not capable. And that’s okay. Because He is. We need to let go to let Him get on with it!
'Hold on to me, I am weak without you, I can't breathe without You, But I can make it through, If you hold on to me' (Song: Hold On To Me - Elevation Worship)
What I have come to realise is this. In order to become more like Him we must be transformed by the renewing of our mind. This process can be painful, because each time, we are shedding the old way of thinking or being. That in itself poses a conflict or challenge. However, by getting instruction through His word and by listening to the Holy Spirit, we are renewing our minds and growing in wisdom and understanding and all those fine qualities I mentioned above. It brings us to a deeper level of faith and closer relationship with our Father. And so the seasons change. And so the transformative process of renewal continues. All the while, His gentle kneading and loving outpouring of grace, will continue to carry us through.
His grace is sufficient for me.
‘My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding- indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose way of life is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.’ Proverbs 2: 1-8
‘Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.’ Daniel 2: 20-22
‘Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding…. I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble’. Proverbs 4: 5-7, 11-12