Smarts That Matter

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” – Proverbs 2:6

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Happy Monday! I hope that you have a good week ahead of you. Thank you for continuing to be so kind in reading. I appreciate you and your support.

I’ve been thinking about a few things that I’d like to share today. I discussed my decision to limit my entertainment choices to avoid impure language and actions in Of Superheroes and Seasoning. Lately, it’s been kind of hard to follow through on that. And, I’ve had to seriously sit back and try to figure out why.

At the time that I wrote that, I didn’t have a television. That’s what I concluded. It was easier to do because the temptation to watch anything that does not have completely pure language and content was not there. And, it’s less of a temptation but more of a test.

I don’t actively seek out TV shows or movies that have explicit language or content. It happens subtly. You know what I mean: you’re sitting there watching what’s supposed to be a family-friendly show or movie when suddenly someone blurts out a cuss word or says something inappropriate or a homosexual relationship materializes. And it usually happens after you’re already invested in the plot and you want to know how everything will end. There’s the test. Do you keep watching or do you turn it off?

Well, the effects of leaving the TV on are visible, and I think it’s better for me to just not have a TV altogether. Even on the most seemingly-innocent shows, it happens. And, whether we are aware or not, over time, that stuff can affect our thinking. I also notice that I’m more likely to zone-out from the world when the TV is on. I don’t have that luxury.

There’s too much to think about and to do to zone-out, as appealing as it may be. So I’m renewing my commitment in that. Less TV means more time to study, too. Plus the mean-TV-people who like to play things while I’m sleeping to get in my head and try to influence me to do their bidding won’t be able to without a TV. No! I don’t want to buy anything for 3 easy payments of $39.99.

I’ve even resorted to wearing headphones to bed to avoid their attempts to steal from me by their deceitful tactics. And I could’ve sworn last night that someone was talking to me through the headphones in my sleep. Yeah, I know, I must’ve been dreaming. Surely, no one is that obsessed, vindictive, or evil to try to get customers that way. Crazy mean-TV-people. Crazy dream.

Another thing that I’ve been thinking about that I’d like to share with you of my own volition is a message that a dear friend and brother in Christ preached at the Polishing the Pulpit convention last year. It was about the final exam of life. I cannot remember all the details, as I don’t have a copy of the audio of the lesson to be able to listen to it again. But I do remember the gist of it, and it’s got me to thinking about what’s really important.

People spend a lot of time investing into school, their jobs, and their own personal development. We go to grade-school, high school, college, and even take courses and seminars for work. There’s a lot of knowledge out there to be had, and nobody has it all. There’s a lot that I don’t know. There’s a lot that you don’t know, but, maybe, you think you do. And with modern technology, we have access to lots of information and knowledge bases. But, when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter how much science, how much math, how much social studies, how much language arts, or how much world policy you know.

“Whatever your hands find to do, do with all your strength, because there is no work, planning, knowledge, or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.” – Ecclesiastes 9:10

In the final exam of life, what matters is one’s knowledge of God and His word and how you carried it out. You can learn all the trivia you want about every subject known to man, but if you don’t have the knowledge of God, of Christ, and of the salvation that He offers, then you will fail life’s final exam. The knowledge of Christ is the way we escape this world’s impurities and death (2 Peter 2:20).

“His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” – 2 Peter 1:3

So, I’m not concerned about whether or not I know all there is to know about a particular secular topic. Science can’t get me into heaven. Politics can’t get me into heaven. International affairs can’t get me into heaven. Nor can government policy. Christ can. His words can. And His sacrifice can.

“But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” – Romans 14:10

There are some who are “always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). We should be careful not to put too much effort into gaining worldly knowledge and neglect the knowledge of God. Some people care more about the knowledge of this world and even look down on those who don’t have as much as they do. Knowledge puffs up a person with pride (1 Cor. 8:1).

But being smart or intelligent is not about how much you know. Having intellect is about the ability to gain knowledge and use it. It’s about being able to find and use resources when there is something that you do not know in order to learn more about it. Being smart is about being able to use logic and reason through thoughts and circumstances.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved. For it is written:

I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and I will set aside the understanding of the experts.

Where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age?

Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached.

For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom, because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” – 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

I don’t know about you, but I care more about being God-smart than having knowledge that is fleeting (1 Cor. 13:8). Think about it: when you are ill or a family member is in need or you’re going through trying times in life, does it really matter how much you know about global warming or what the capitol of North Dakota is? (Or any other relatively trivial piece of info?) No.

When the storms of life rage, what matters are the things that Christ teaches – kindness, goodness, compassion, justice, honor, peace, faith, hope, and love. So, a big hats-off to the scholar, to the expert, and to the great minds of our day. But I have way more respect for the one who abides in the knowledge of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

“Brothers, consider your calling: Not many are wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world—what is viewed as nothing—to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, so that no one can boast in His presence.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-29

It’s Christ whom we will have to stand before and give an answer for how we have lived this life. And we won’t know how He wants us to live it if we don’t gain knowledge of His will from the words that He has given us.

It’s His questions that I care about being able to answer in that day (Rev. 7:9; 20:12). It’s His final exam that I hope to be able to pass with a “Well done good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matt. 25:21).

Will you be able to give an answer to the Lord on the day of judgement when He questions you? God is done overlooking times of ignorance (Rom. 1:20; Acts 17:30). Have you come to the knowledge of salvation through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? You can become God-smart by obeying Christ. Believe in Jesus as Lord (Mark 16:16); confess to others that Jesus is Lord (Rom. 10:9); repent of your sins (Luke 13:3); put on the Lord in water baptism (Gal. 3:27), and live faithful unto death (Rev. 2:10).

Let’s be God-smart.

May grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” – 2 Peter 1:2

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