Garry spoke tonight about living a wise life (see Eph 5:15-17). It’s easy enough to live like the world, but to go against the flow is much harder, yet this is what is required of believers, because the world is at odds with God. 1 John 5:4 in the Message version says, ‘every God-begotten person conquers the world’s ways’, but this can only be done as we carefully consider God’s ways. Just as we ought to read the small print in contracts before signing, we need to examine God’s ways so that we can learn how to live wisely.
Wisdom is not simply knowledge or experience; it’s what we do with those things. We can learn from others, but ultimately, we must learn from God, developing flexibility in how we adapt what we know to given situations. The Beatitudes (Matt 5:3-12) show us God’s ways and these remind us that the attitudes we need to adopt are radically different to the world’s norms.
God calls us to be peacemakers and to value peace (see Matt 5:9, Rom 12:18, Matt 5:38-42). We are called to love even our enemies (Luke 6:27-30). To do what God wants is not hard to understand – it’s just hard to put into practice! To be godly, though, we must do things God’s way and grow in wisdom (see Luke 2:52). We need to depend upon the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in situations (1 Cor 12:8, James 1:5). God wants us to grow and develop and mature, which includes growing in wisdom, whether that is the wisdom gained from studying God’s word or the wisdom given as a gift of the Spirit, dropped into situations unexpectedly.