KNOWLEDGE is sometimes proud that it knows so much, while WISDOM is humble in the realization that it knows so little.
James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
KEY STATEMENT: With spiritual wisdom we are able to walk through life’s difficulties with confidence and peace because we are able to view our problems from God’s point of view.
Wisdom is the ability to see God’s hand in human circumstances and to apply divine judgement to earthly situations.
KNOWLEDGE is the apprehension of truth in one’s mind, but WISDOM is the application of truth to one’s life.
TRUE WISDOM IS FROM GOD
Do you consider yourself a person of wisdom or one who acts unwisely? The answer is determined, not by the opinion of others, but by what God’s Word tells us about wisdom. All true wisdom comes from God. From His Word we learn that God’s wisdom is the perfect understanding of all things. He always acts in light of all the facts and in light of divine values.
God has access to all the facts. His judgments are made wisely, and He never has to revise His estimation because of additional information. He sees all things in their proper perspective. Therefore, He does not give anything a higher or lower value than it ought to have.Read More
Philippians 3:12-14 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
KEY STATEMENT: Goals setting is planned, organized stretching.
What are you living for? Do you have a sense of direction for your life? Are you moving toward a desired objective, or are you merely moving? Goals give us targets to aim at, objectives to strive for. Goals help make our desires and dreams a reality. In the process we are stretched mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We grow.
Some people feel that goal setting and living by faith are conflicting ideas. But the truth is that faith is an essential ingredient in reaching any goal. When we understand God’s view of goals we realize there is no conflict. Goal setting for the believer is planned, organized stretching under the lordship of Christ. Such texts as the following are often misunderstood or used as an excuse for failing to set goals.
Hebrews 13:5 [Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content.
I Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
There is no conflict between faith and goal setting. All through Scripture we see God setting goals for His servants. Noah’s goal was to build an ark and save his family from the Flood. Moses’ goal was to rescue God’s people from Egyptian bondage and lead them into the Promised Land. David’s goal was to save his people from the Philistines. Elijah’s goal was to destroy Baal worship in Israel.
He said, “One thing I do. . . I press toward the goal.”
Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
PAUL’S DECISION-MAKING PROCESS
PURPOSE: Paul adopted spiritual goals that were based on divine revelation.
PRIORITIES: He arranged his goals into wise priorities determining what should be done first, second, third, etc.
PLANS: Next, he devised plans that gave him a strategy for accomplishing his objectives.
PRAYER: Through prayer, he submitted himself and his plans to the sovereign will of God. -Praying for wisdom.
PERSEVERANCE: When providentially hindered from accomplishing his plans, he assumed that the delay was God’s sovereign will. This conviction freed him from discouragement. Since his plans were sound, the only thing he adjusted was the timetable.
PRESENTATION: Paul explained his decisions based on God’s moral will and his own personal application of wisdom.
We should set goals for all areas of life: Our personal, family, vocational, and social life. A life without goals lacks excitement and tends to drift, is often critical of others who are achieving, is wasteful, satisfied with mediocrity, and disappointing in the end.
But the goal-oriented life is energetic, enthusiastic, excited, expectant. It is going somewhere and has a plan for getting there.
Every great achievement in life begins with a desire, which ultimately becomes a goal toward which the person directs his God-given resources until the goal is reached. But it requires more than mere desire. The greater the goal, the greater the demands.
One of the many reasons given for failing to set goals is the fear of setting the wrong goals. Following is an eightfold test by which to test the worthiness of your goals:
Will I be a better person for reaching this goal?
Will it get me where God wants me to go in Life?
Will it help others?
Will it violate my conscience?
Will my family enjoy the rewards of my achievement?
Am I willing to pay the price to reach this goal?
Can I sincerely ask God to help me reach this goal?
How will it affect my personal testimony for Christ?
Aim high when setting goals, give it your best, and remember that it is Christ in you who will enable you to reach your goals.
James 4:13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
Key Scripture: We live in time but belong to eternity.
Time is a space in eternity. In fact, the way we spend our time will determine how we will live in eternity. Our present space in time is our preparation for eternity.
How often have we sighed, “I just don’t have time.” We live in a “hurry-up” world. We have deadlines to meet, appointments to keep, and even every sport is played against the clock. Our days are divided into segments of time: Time to work, time to play, time to rest. And then there is the matter of timing our decisions. The right time makes the difference between success and failure-sometimes life and death.
Why do we come up short on time? God has given to each of us enough time to do the things we should do. Our crowded, ulcer- producing schedules are the result of pressure we place upon ourselves or allow others to place on us. Instead of really living, we settle for an unhappy existence. We are not fulfilled because we feel we never quite have the time to do our best. Our family is discontented because seemingly we do not want to spend time with them.
Accountable for Our use of Time
The way we invest our time determines our happiness and success in life. Our time in this world is our life. We can either spend it foolishly and fruitlessly, or we can invest it wisely. The Scriptures warn us that we will give an account to God, the giver of life, for the way we use our time “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12).
A wise investment of time is a wise investment in life. Such an investment requires careful management of our time. Without planning and priorities our lives can slip away quickly. If we do not govern our time, other people and circumstances will. Manage your time and you will manage your life.
People view time in different ways. There are those who spend all their time planning and making lists of things to do. They are so busy improving their lists and updating their plans that they never seem to achieve their goals. Then there are those who are so busy doing they never have time to assess the value of how they are spending their time. We are all familiar with people who are so conscious of not wasting time that they make everyone else around them nervous as they hurry about to save another ten seconds.
Neither extreme is healthy or necessary. God intends that we enjoy life. That includes our work, our families, our friends, our play. Is that possible in this rushing, time-conscious world? Yes! An God has given us the key to wisely investing our time in every aspect of life.
Invest Time with God
God made us for Himself and He has provided the necessary time for us to achieve in life what He has planned for us. The key to the wise investment of our lives is the time we invest with Him. I discovered long ago that the most effective way to save time is to spend time in prayer and meditation before the Lord.
Time is also defined as a dimension in which things change. In quiet meditation there is change. We are quieted on the inside. There is no longer the compulsion to rush. That hurried feeling is replaced by a restful confidence that the work will be completed on time. Stress fades from the emotional scene in the presence of faith. Read Joshua 1:8-9 and meditate upon God’s promise to His servant regarding the awesome task facing him.
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:8-9).
Our text says that life is like a vapor: it appears for a little while and then vanishes away. That is not to imply that it no longer exists, but rather that time leaps into eternity. Eternity is time without end. Where will you spend eternity?
II Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
II Peter 3:15 And account [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
I Kings 18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD [be] God, follow him: but if Baal, [then] follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
Key Statement: If we have accumulated and analyzed the data, have sought out other viewpoints, and have asked for God’s direction, we can step out in confidence.
Decisiveness is one of the most sought-after qualities in a business environment. Firm, wise decisions can make the deference between success and failure, prosperity or austerity.
Biblical Principles for Decision Making:
Although all decisions must be made in the light of God’s sovereignty and control of the future, the Scriptures do provide us with some solid biblical principles upon which we can make sound determinations.
We must make sure we get all the facts. It is amazing how many decisions are made without gathering all the pertinent information. Facts give us tangible means by which we can start an informed decision-making process.
However, facts alone are not enough. Once we have compiled the information, we must use discernment to sift through the data. What lies behind the numbers and statistics? What forces are at work to contribute to this array of material? Discernment looks beneath the surface, analyzes, ask questions, and investigates.
The Berean Christians were said to be more “fair-minded” than their Thessalonians contemporaries because they “searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so”
Seeking the astute counsel of well-informed associates or friends is also an important step. Others see clearly where our vision is fogged. They can sense danger when we are complacent. “Where there is no counsel, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsels there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). However, we must be careful not to abdicate our own responsibility at this point. The counsel of others is to be weighed but not substituted for our personal judgment.
While the counsel of others is meaningful, the counsel of God is vital. Whatever decisions we face-factory orders, job recruitment, budget forecasts, personal guidance-are important to God because we were created to glorify Him in every area of life, including our decisions. Once saved, we have entered into a life of dependence on Him for wise guidance in business life as well as in our personal lives.
That counsel comes through deliberate prayer and conformity to the principles of Scripture. Prayer brings the matter before God’s throne, and His Word provides the guidelines within which we can make a right decision. God wants to be part of our decision process. To leave Him out by ignoring prayer and the truths of Scripture denies us the privilege of God’s perspective, which He is always willing to share.
Take Courage to Act
Once we have done all of the above, the decision must be made. That calls for courage, which means we are willing to accept the risk involved. A decision always brings consequences. Some hesitate at the crucial point of action because they are afraid of failure. However, if we have accumulated and analyzed the data, have sought out other view points, and have asked for God’s direction, we can step out in confidence. If we fail, we learn and trust that God will use our error in a positive way.
Trust God with the Unknown
Occasionally, factors beyond our control or knowledge will affect our decisions. At that point, we must rest in the omniscience of God who holds the future in His hands. We cannot be responsible for what we do not know, but we are obligated to make informed, wise decisions to the best of our abilities. The rest lies with God.
John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Key Statement: Make a commitment now to begin living your life on the unlimited resources of Christ, who is in you and ready to work through you by His Holy Spirit.
Why do you continue to delay contracting your client? Why do you keep ignoring that list of phone calls? What is preventing you from writing that report? What is inhibiting you from inviting your boss to lunch? You are practicing a self-defeated habit called procrastination. Many highly qualified, talented people will remain in the lower level of their vocations because they are procrastinators. Life leaves them behind.
Two Causes for Procrastination and Their Results
Procrastination is the habit of putting off until tomorrow what is uncomfortable to do today. There are two primary causes for our procrastination. The first is called “discomfort dodging.” This is the practice of putting off an activity because some parts of it are associated with uncomfortable or anxious feelings. So the goal is to avoid bad feelings. The second is called “self-doubt.” This occurs when we feel inadequate and become preoccupied with our faults. We allow ourselves to be harassed and tormented by feelings of worthlessness and incompetence, which are unfounded but nevertheless real to us. This negative view of ourselves is naturally followed by hesitation and delay.
The effects of this destructive habit are numerous and costly both to emotional health and our advancement. The procrastinator always feels behind and guilty for not getting the work completed: is stressful; is tense; becomes insensitive to the needs of others because he has so many of his own needs; cannot enjoy time away from the office because he worries about what was left undone; causes frustration in others; misses exciting and profitable opportunities; and fails to perform according to his ability because of inadequate preparation. He never has quite enough time.
How to Cure Procrastination
What is the cure for procrastination? Of course, you can make lists, plan ahead, rearrange your work area, and make a new schedule. All of these are good ideas. But until you deal with the truth about the way you feel about yourself, you will drift right back into your old state.
Jesus said, “The truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). How does this apply to your bondage of procrastination? The root cause of your problem is your feelings about yourself and your work. What is the real truth about you? You have received Christ as your personal Savior and now you belong to the family of God. You are a person of great worth-remember, Christ died for you! You now have the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through you, making you competent. You have the right to say with the apostle Paul, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13 ). You have all you need to achieve every goal God has set for your life. He promises to “supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:9).
Make a commitment now to begin living your life on the unlimited resources of Christ, who is in you and ready to work through you by His Holy Spirit. Replace “Going to start tomorrow” with “Getting started now!”
“Each day is a day closer to eternity!”