40 days of change – Day 17 (for real this time)

Sorry, I mistakenly numbered Saturday’s reflection as Day 17 when it should have been Day 16. The next 6 reflections were written by ladies in our church in preparation for Mothering Sunday (6 March). These next 6 are characteristics that are ascribed to the woman praised in Proverbs 31.

29 February, 2016                                      40 days of change-Lent, 2016

Wise – Who is wise and understanding among you?   James 3:13

Have you read Proverbs’ description of the ‘wife of noble character’? Perhaps after a day of juggling work and family commitments or a night of broken sleep it feels impossible to match up to this wise multi-tasking woman whose words inspire. Though we wish for a ‘wise tongue that brings healing’ how often does our emotionally-driven tongue instead light a forest fire? Do you also doubt how you compare to ‘wise’ characters like Solomon, Aristotle or Gandhi? Do we relate more to Ecclesiastes 7v23: ‘“I am determined to be wise” – but this was beyond me’? Yet the New Testament shows us Jesus promising and living out a startlingly simple gospel message. Matthew 11 does not ask us to strive after some higher level of cerebral state, but to have a child-like openness, gaining rest from our burdens as we find revealed wisdom through coming to Christ.

This Lent do we need to identify true wisdom and seek moments of quietness, so that God’s wisdom can refresh our emotions and our actions?

Stop striving to be ‘wise in our own eyes’ or to boast in worldly wisdom. Rejoice that ‘God chose the foolish/lowly things of this world to shame the wise’. Have peace knowing that ‘Christ Jesus has become for us wisdom from God’; rely on this wisdom and strength which is freely offered to us.

Refocus on God: ‘Meditate on God’s law all day long, so that his commands are always with us, making us wise and showing us the right path’. Trust God’s promise that ‘the law of the Lord is … trustworthy, making wise the simple’. Praise the God whose divine nature is plain in all creation around you.

Ask now, don’t wait: Job says that it isn’t age that will bring us wisdom ‘But it is the spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding’. True wisdom is not just attainable, but already given freely: ‘We have received the Spirit from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us so that we speak in words taught by the Spirit.

Share the wisdom you receive: Solomon was granted wisdom because it was his heart’s desire and because it would benefit God’s people. Ephesians 5&6 show that God equips us with wisdom so that we will ‘walk in the way of love’, ‘filled with the Spirit’ so that Christ may be shared within our unique relationships and concentric circles of influence.

Be confident: to rest on God’s promises, not relying on ‘wise and persuasive words’, but on the Spirit’s power ‘Speak… not the wisdom of this age’ but ‘God’s wisdom’, ‘be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.’

Today can we challenge ourselves to be like Paul, perhaps feeling ‘weakness with great fear and trembling’, yet stepping out in faith, inspiring others to ‘not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power’? We have a great God! Today pray extravagantly for ‘the wisdom that comes from heaven (which) is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.’ James 3v17

 

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