Not As Smart as Your Average Bear

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Some people are under the mistaken impression (though there may not be as many of them as I think) that, just because I am older and have had some experience with life, I have wisdom to offer. There are times that I am even prone to believing that myself.

The truth of the matter? Yes, I am older. Yes, I have had some experiences in life that others might not have gotten around to yet. Hopefully I have learned some lessons from those experiences. Hopefully I am the wiser for them—otherwise God’s efforts in bringing them into my life might have been wasted.

But whatever wisdom that has been acquired does not ultimately reside in me—I’m still frail and sometimes foolish though, hopefully, less so than once I was.

The truth is, as Job 12:13 says: “To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.”

I am reminded that one of the characteristics of a good listening ear is humility—the recognition that I come from the same messiness that the person to whom I am listening is coming from. There is no room for judgment, or an attitude of superiority. I am reminded that it isn’t my advice that makes a difference in someone’s life, it isn’t even my ability to toss out appropriate Scriptures with the accuracy of Nick Foles.

Whatever of lasting value I might offer to another person journeying along with me through the pitfalls and pleasures of life must come from the source of all wisdom, power, counsel and understanding. On my part, that insists that I be totally dependent on Him, listening for Him, looking for what He wants to do, as I listen to the story of this particular slice of this other person’s journey.

It can be challenging. I want to “fix” things, to toss out the verses and give advice. For a moment those things might work. But unless the changes needed are permanent, “momentary” is the operative word.

Only the Spirit of God, the Source of all wisdom, power, counsel and understanding, can make the changes that will last. Only God can change a heart. I need to remember to get out of His way so that He can do just that.

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