Proverbs 1: 2-4
‘Here are proverbs that will help you recognize wisdom and good advice, and understand sayings with deep meaning. They can teach you how to live intelligently and how to be honest, just, and fair. They can make an inexperienced person clever and teach young people how to be resourcefuL’ (GNT)
Christmas reminds us that God has come to us, and is with us every day, no matter what. And, as we say farewell to Advent it challenges us all that we best get on with the “no matter what” bit! And for most of us, getting on with our hopes and dreams seems to come in for a ‘reset’ as the last month of an old year gives way to the new. The ‘driven’ among us relish the thought of setting new goals for a new year and by late December 31 (with the help of a few quiet drinks with family and friends), several resolutions for the new year have usually been pledged. Others feel the obligation and trot out some half-hearted aims and plans, that probably fit with Mark Twain’s satirical take on it:
“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done the day after tomorrow just as well.”
What all of us do know about the new year is that we want life to be good for ourselves and our loved ones. We also know intuitively that the good life doesn’t just spring from decisions alone but that at some point, action must be taken. That’s where things can get a bit tricky, because there is a seemingly endless supply of suggestions about what the good life is and how one might achieve it. The scriptural response to such questions is usually not to buy into a discussion on setting particular goals, but rather to set out a way of living that will position each of us in a good place to be making decisions and taking action. The Biblical logic is that if the right foundation of wisdom is laid, decisions about possible end-goals will tend towards honesty, justice and fairness. In other words, if we focus on Godly means we will journey towards Godly ends. Christians thinking about these things usually look towards Proverbs.
Eugene Peterson says, “This is ancient wisdom and we disregard it at our peril” , and in his introduction to Proverbs asserts that, “Wisdom” is the biblical term for this on-earth-as-it-is-in-heaven everyday living. Wisdom is the art of living skillfully in whatever actual conditions we find our-selves…Wisdom has to do with becoming skillful in honoring our parents and raising our children, handling our money and conducting our sexual lives, going to work and exercising leadership, using words well and treating friends kindly, eating and drinking healthily, cultivating emotions within ourselves and attitudes toward others that make for peace.
So, at this turn-of-the-year, Westcity wants to encourage making life-resolutions that are founded on the kind of wisdom that will help integrate Godly means and God-centred ends. That way our desires can align with proverbial wisdom (Proverbs 3: 5-6) and we will be in a position where we can “hear a voice behind us saying, this is the way, walk in it (Isaiah 30:21)”
This series aims to:
· Invite people into thinking deeply about the foundation Godly wisdom provides for striving towards the good life.
· Each week highlight how we can respond honestly to the challenge that the message has invited us into.
· Motivate listeners to memorise scriptures that speak into their everyday experience.
· Encourage the Westcity community that everyone following Jesus has unfettered access to wise foundations and that life decisions are always best when they spring from bedrock Biblical wisdom.