The Walk of Wisdom Part 5
The Walk of the World
Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
There is a form of wisdom that the Scriptures warns us about – the wisdom of the world system that opposes God. This wisdom leads to a walk that leads away from God. As we have seen earlier, it is described as the broad way that leads, ultimately, to destruction (Matt. 7:13-14).
We are exhorted to walk wisely and not waste waste time – because we are living a life in view of the brevity of this life, carrying the Gospel message to the lost, because we live in evil times. We are warned to not conform to the wisdom of this world, but to allow God’s will and word to transform our mind to carry out our wise walk for Him. (Rom 12:2) John sharply warned of the dangers of the world system: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”(1 John 2:15-17).
Jesus contrasted the walk of the wise and the unwise in several similar parables:
- Wise and Foolish Builders – in Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus contrasted the wise builder who built his house (his life) on the rock foundation (the Lord and eternal values) and the foolish builder whose foundation was sand (the world of temporal values). When the torrential rain came, only the wise house stood.
- The Wise and Foolish Stewards – In Luke 12:42-48 Jesus contrasted the wise servant who is faithful over the ruler’s assigned stewardship and the foolish steward who disbelieved the ruler’s promise to return and squandered his stewardship. Jesus warned “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more (v. 48).
- Wise and Foolish Virgins – in Matthew 25:1-13, after explaining He will come again (as a bridegroom), Jesus described wise brides who are prepared and eager – as “they that look for Him” (Hebrews 9:28), and “love His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8); these live wise lives, the light of their lamps shining as the Abide in Christ. The unwise were unprepared, and sadly, rejected by the groom.
- Foolish Investor – in Luke 12:16-21 Jesus described the sad fate of the foolish investor who unwisely boasted to himself “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry” on the night of his untimely death. (v. 19) He counted on the temporal things of life, misjudged his lifespan, and failed to invest in eternal things.
Each of these illustrated the wise who did not waste time, remained faithful, and lived with a recognition that our life on earth is short, indeed, and that the Lord is coming.
James, the stepbrother of Jesus, also contrasts the characteristics of the wisdom of God and the wisdom of the world in chapter 3 of his epistle to the scattered Jews of his time.. Before describing the attributes of Godly wisdom (verses 13, 17-18), James enumerates the attributes of the wisdom of the world (verses 14-16). The world’s wisdom is first, based on the attitude of the heart that is motivated by:
- Self-seeking goals (contentious and even strife to achieve and obtain)
- Bitter envy (a fervent jealousy or malice toward others).
If these motivations are present in the life of a believer, he or she must admit it and confess it rather than boasting or denying it (v.14). Denial is the kind of self-deception depicted earlier in James 1:24-25. This kind of wisdom is of the earth, serves the sensual, and its source is Satan. The outcome of this kind of wisdom is:
- Confusion or instability
- Every evil thing; wickedness in behavior
In contrast, James exhorts us to Godly wisdom: But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:17-18
Our encouragement in wisdom this week is to beware of the wisdom of the world that rejects Jesus and breeds confusion, leading people to wickedness and destruction. We re exhorted to walk in God’s wisdom to produce spiritual fruit and bring peace.