Spiritual Wisdom, the way forward

Anita Ruis, Oct 06, 2021, 4:30 PM
Anita Ruis National Director
The Path of Wisdom October Blog.jpg

Turn your ear to wisdom
Apply your heart to understanding
Call out for insight
And cry aloud for understanding
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...
Then you will understand what is right and just and fair - every good path
Proverbs 2:2-5,9 NIV

Someone once said that the path of wisdom is one marked with suffering. However uncomfortable I may be with this statement, there is something in it that I can't escape.  Perhaps it's because I'm more and more convinced that the wisdom spoken about in the biblical text can only be acquired by a letting go and a surrender of self. A full dependence on the Holy Spirit. Spiritual Wisdom.

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid,
but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me, his prisoner.
Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.
2 Timothy 1:7-8

Dean of the American Bible Society and translation scholar, Philip H. Towner says of Paul's words to Timothy.

In this context, Paul's teaching to Timothy about the importance of the Spirit for ministry introduces a challenge to the (his) opponents' views about the Spirit. The crucial matter here is the effect of their view of the Spirit on the church's understanding of Christian life and ministry in this world. For them (1) "Spirit" meant power in the sense of the completion of their spiritual life; (2) the gift of the Spirit at conversion meant transfer (resurrection) from this fallen world to a spiritual dimension of final triumph; and consequently (3) the Holy Spirit had very little to do with suffering and struggling, things that pertain to the physical, bodily existence. Suffering and struggling may have been viewed as indications of unspirituality.
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The current teaching was much the same as what in our times has come to be called "triumphalism" and the "health and wealth gospel," the idea that faith in Christ promises immediate solutions to life's problems. These views are tough to overcome—it is much easier to hear that the gospel brings peace and rest than it is to be reminded of the "sword" and the opposition of the world that Jesus promised. Timothy had grown tired and discouraged at the resistance of the false teachers to a balanced biblical message and at the church's willingness to receive a sugar-coated message (4:3). He had grown weary of the struggle. The solution comes in the form of a reminder that the gift of the Holy Spirit means power for the Christian struggle, not removal from it.
Towner, P. (1994). 1–2 Timothy & Titus (Vol. 14, 2 Ti 1:6–14). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

The last several years have revealed clearly to us as followers of Jesus in Vineyard Canada, our great need for the Spiritual Wisdom that gives us the strength and insight needed to walk this good path. Thank God for this revelation!! It's become painfully obvious, the good path, the way of Jesus, the upside down patient Kingdom of God, is illusive to all without the help, empowerment and indeed the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. We have all needed this reminder!

Perhaps this understanding is one of the many "gifts" that has surfaced in the midst of Covid with all its upheaval and pressure.  We have had to acknowledge again and again that the storehouse of our own strength and understanding is simply not enough.  We have been confronted with the limitations of our own wisdom and have been made uncomfortable. Where we have issues of control and hidden fears they have been triggered and areas of "shakey" theology have been brought into the light.  It truly has been, and continues to be, a time of great "revealing," both of our strengths and of our weaknesses.

T.S. Eliot once observed

The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.

Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

And yet, in spite of the discomfort of it all -  we are thankful! For we have all been forced to reach beyond ourselves for that Great Wisdom that is higher than our own.  We have been pressed to lean in, to wait, to ask and to seek for the Way of the Spirit of Christ. We have been compelled to walk like children, step by step in the shadow of the One who goes before us. His strength sustaining us, His grace and mercy holding us to the path of wisdom.

None of us know what the future may hold but what we do know is that we will not face it alone. We can be confident that the One we follow, holds all the wisdom we will need.

Grace & Peace
Anita & David