Suppose there is a drug which legally can be purchased and consumed by almost anyone. Consuming the substance is not necessary to sustaining life, but simply a choice. Suppose at least one member in almost every family in the world has chosen to consume the drug, and through its consumption has developed a life-threatening disease. In fact, many families have had multiple members to prematurely die because they chose to consume the chemical compound. There is no doubt that the consumption of the drug is the sole cause of the disease within these loved ones. No drug, no disease.
What would be a wise public response to such a drug? What choice should a person make concerning his own consumption of the substance? What would a responsible parent teach his children about that drug? What should Christians teach their fellow man about consuming the potential life-altering, life-threatening drug?
Knowledge is accumulating and storing facts in our minds. Wisdom is the ability to use the accumulated knowledge to its best potential.
Wisdom visualizes the potential power of the accumulated knowledge. It evaluates the hidden good or evil within the information. Worldly wisdom seeks to use its knowledge for its own pleasure. Godly wisdom chooses to utilize its knowledge with the intent of benefitting everyone concerned. (James 4:13-18)
Mankind’s ability to accumulate knowledge has led to the discovery and development of many kinds of chemical compounds, and mechanical tools. Almost all these discoveries and developments have had potential to benefit mankind. However, mankind’s inability to control himself when it comes to using these discoveries has often led to abuse, self-destruction, dependency, and atrocities.
Christians regularly find themselves debating the rightfulness or the sinfulness of employing certain discoveries. The use of these chemical compounds or mechanical tools is not specifically condoned or condemned within the scriptures. Within the debate, knowledge freely flows forth. Many factual details are brought to light. Yet very little progress is made toward arriving at a conclusion because the participants have forgotten that the rightfulness or sinfulness of the practice may not lie in the substance itself, but in the wisdom of those who choose to use it.
An illustration of such debates can be found concerning the moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages (reread the beginning illustration), the legalization of marijuana and other drugs, the ongoing gun-control debate, etc. In each of these discussions, the point that is continuously brought to the forefront is: “The Bible doesn’t specifically and emphatically state, ‘Thou shalt not.’ Therefore, I have a right to participate in this practice. And since I can do so in all good conscience, I am going to engage in the practice, regardless of the consequences, and regardless of how it affects others.”
When we approach debatable practices with this attitude, we are demonstrating that we are not addressing them with Godly wisdom, but worldly wisdom; that which is earthly, selfish, and unspiritual.
May we always strive to continually attain and accumulate knowledge, but may we also continually seek to apply that knowledge with Godly wisdom.
“Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.” (James 4:13) ESV
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!” (Psalm 111:10) ESV
“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion.” (Proverbs 8:12) ESV
The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving.” (Proverbs 14:8) ESV
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