The two kinds of wisdom - a paraphrase of James 3&4
I am writing this to motivate all of us to stand still for a moment and examine our deepest motivations. Especially those of us who think that we are wise and that we understand life and God. The time has come to take a long, loving look at my own conduct and see to what extent my life is lived in the meekness of real wisdom.
There are two kinds of wisdom that we as humans operate from. The wisdom that forms the foundation of my thinking will determine my approach to life, others, religion, to unity – even to God. Viewing the Sacre Coeur from the streets of Montmartre in Paris is beautiful but when you have walked the winding streets and climbed the steps and eventually stand in the shadow of the building itself, you have a totally different experience. Our viewpoints are the platforms from where we observe and judge everything around us. We take up positions on the strength of our platforms and then fight to the bitter end to prove our point. The world is descending into an era of delusion and once you can discern the origin of that delusion, you will be able to understand why some people could crucify the same Jesus who was the way, the truth and the life to many. Everything depends on the origin of the wisdom that governs your approach and choices.
We can discern which wisdom lies at the foundation of our choices when we examine our conduct. Our natural approach is to judge people, things and circumstances according to the potential benefit or threat they pose to my life, status and possessions. Because it is natural for me to be the centre of my own life, I may feel personally let down by friends or others, judge them and then speak evil against them. I may tend to judge the words and actions of others solely on how these may affect me personally. I may even fight and wage war and even murder to protect my own interests. I may lust for power and influence and wealth and make detailed plans to bring it about in my life without keeping my neighbour and God in mind.
And if I look deeply, I will find that I am in a prison, the prison of self, guarded by envy and ambition. From there, all I can expect is to slowly descend into confusion and real evil.
If I look at life from this platform, I will not gain anything of real value. My ego will demand that I fight for what I want instead of asking like a child. And even if I ask while standing on this platform, I will seldom have my prayers answered because my motivation will be only to gain more for myself.
Another clear indication of which viewing platform I live from; is how I conduct my daily planning. I just have to look at my speech to see how much I involve God in my life. Our natural way is to discuss our plans and make commitments without a deep dependence on God. This platform causes us only to be aware of how tomorrow may affect me, mine and my belongings. We often plan to conduct our business in a certain way and only after that ask God to bless our plans. That is a clear sign that our ego is in control and that God's purpose plays a secondary role.
If you find that you have been approaching life from this angle, know that this way of living is not from God. It is earthly, sensual and demonic and it brings us into conflict with God. This kind of life is so alien to the heart of God that we can actually be called adulterers or adulteresses. When I love myself with my whole heart and soul and mind, I cannot find space in my heart for my neighbour and God.
God requires that my first allegiance is to God-self and when I am focused on my allegiance with myself, I often find that God will oppose me until my eyes are opened through the humiliation of unanswered prayer. This loving humiliation helps me to turn away from self and rediscover my first love and the real purpose of life.
Once I allow this process to unfold, I discover that my prayers are answered incrementally for God gives grace to the humble. The humbling process produces conviction. You will feel this conviction when you find that you spontaneously lament and cry for freedom. You will find that your laughter will turn to tears and your joy to mourning and as long as you are crying for release, God will set you free incrementally until you will stumble over the new platform. This God-view cannot be taught. It has to be discovered by journeying towards it. We are only required to let go of our comparative and competitive paradigms and grant permission to be humbled to join God on this journey.
The alternate platform cannot be owned or really described for it is the manifestation of something that can never be defined. This platform is God-self and a life lived in humility and unconditional love and one can never fully reach it. We only discover through our conduct that our platform has changed. We discover that our choices proceed more and more from the purity of the life of God in us, and the result is that we approach friend and foe from a place of peace and gentleness. We become willing to yield to our circumstances and to others. We discover that all entitlement recedes and that we start giving without demanding reward. We start to look at all people and all things and all circumstances without hypocrisy nor partiality. We discover slowly that we are planting seeds of unity through servanthood which grow into trees of unconditional love.
Uncovering the destructive power of self-centredness is our life's journey but all journeys must start somewhere. This one starts when we examine our hearts and discover that we are living from the wrong source. Our actions, however miraculous and powerful, when birthed from that ego-intelligence, will profit us nothing. We discover that even though people may think that we are wise, or powerful, or that we are close to God, all of that is part of the delusion. It’s the manner in which we love and who we love most that affects the way we live.
As we become aware of this wrong way of thinking, we slowly begin to live for God's purposes and not for our own. This change will affect us fundamentally, even the way we speak. We’ll find that we can no longer arrogantly boast in our own abilities to plan and execute our lives while relegating God to a cosmic servant, someone who is under obligation to help us fulfil our own plans and purposes. We will come to know that our life is but a vapour that appears for a little while and then disappears. God's purposes are the only constant that should motivate all our actions.
This way of life is very practical because who we love most underpins the motivation of our every action through every day. All that is required is that we draw near to the Love of the Trinity that is planted deep within our souls. We can trust God to respond to this love and draw us into a new revelation of unconditional love. This is what it means to humble yourself before God. We make choices every day to crucify our self-centred desires and do what Jesus did. We learn to follow his love-drenched approach and discover that the other-centredness of the Trinity bears fruit in our lives. As a result, we will incrementally lay down the wisdom which is earthly. This love goes as far as even laying down our instinct to stay alive at all cost. Slowly we discover that we become willing to lay down our lives for the sake of others.
As this platform of God-centredness is incrementally adjusted, we will eventually fulfil the purpose of our own incarnation and become living signposts to the love and the incarnated life of God,