Today we are experiencing information in overdrive and unresolved problems galore; each showing why we need the wisdom Solomon was talking about.
Real artist paint life with blemishes, wrinkles, and scars. Idealists paint a subject as they imagine it could be. Both are important. Ideals give us direction. Realism gives us traction.
However, without wisdom, both have their downfalls. realism can cost us our dreams. Idealism can consume our thoughts, days and nights in a futile search for the perfect time to employ an action or take advantage of an opportunity that has just driven down your street.
We need wisdom to see how idealism and realism relate to each other, especially in matters of faith. The Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of a wisdom that ends up showing us how much He loves us (Proverbs 9:10, 1 John 4:18-19) and acknowledges that God is good enough to inspire us with His ideas, merciful enough to accept us as we are, and too loving to leave us as He finds us. Hallelujah right there!
The idealism of the Bible, in a perfect world dictates that we will live forever. That's how the drama of the Bible opens and closes. everything is good-paradise at the beginning and heaven/paradise at the end.
Someday weapons of war will be recycled into garden tools (Isaiah 2:4), and lambs will eat safely among wolves (65:25). the apostle John wrote, "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away" (Rev. 21:4).
Yet, the idealism of the Bible is not just about the future. It calls us to love God with all our heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves. It puts emphasizes on the moral rule of "Love," and the virtues of the "joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control" (Gal. 5:22-23).
No one consistently lives up to such ideals. How can we relate to a God who removed the first man and woman from their garden paradise after doing nothing more than eating a piece of fruit from a tree he was warned not to touch. How could we ever feel safe with a Creator who imposed pain and death on our world for what appears to be a minor offense or breach of trust?
One answer comes from first-century Judaism. some rabbis taught that if we keep just one law because God commanded it, it is as if we have kept the whole law. At first look, this approach sounds like a great solution. We all know that none of us an keep all of the law all of the time. Maybe we can keep some rules some of the time or a least one rule at a time. But would any wise teacher of the law really mean that as long as you don't kill your neighbor it is okay to steal from them? We must be missing something. They must have been talking about keeping one law in such a way as to honor the rest.
Let's look at the realism of James. Whatever the rabbis meant when they took a "one for all" approach to the law, another teacher expressed our accountability to God another way. "Whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10). and the rest of James' letter shows James presses the logic of law, he is pushing people who have already been forgiven to remember the principle of love that is at the heart of every law of God )2:12-13).
James was writing as a follower of Christ (1:1) whose faith in Christ compelled him to pursue the ideal of loving his neighbor, because he had received the forgiveness and mercy of God. In down-to -earth ways, he urged those who accepted Christ to reflect His heart (1:26-2:8).
James was writing to people who were persecuted for believing Christ. He knew they needed wisdom to demonstrate their faith while they were being persecuted by all kinds of troubles and temptations. So he wrote, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him" (James 1:5).
The wisdom James offered was the insight that God Himself wanted to give His people so they could reflect Jesus in the most realistic of conditions. It seems that from the lenses that are being captured via television, the internet, and social media, the body of Christ, would be wise to apprehend the wisdom of the words spoken by The Apostle James. There is a dearth in the land, and the church, its ecclesiastical leadership needs to go back to the old landmark, pick up their Bibles, partake of some deliverance and consecrate their flesh as never before. It we would submit to God, resist the devil, he will flee from you. that is also in the Book of James.
Jesus was the most real person I know. In contrast with religious folk, leaders who condemned and separated themselves from those they regarded as morally inferior, Jesus was a friend of sinners. Luke took note of the way Jesus linked these friendships with wisdom. He quoted Christ as saying, "The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, "Look a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!" But wisdom is justified by all her children" (Luke 7:34-35).
If Jesus had avoided and condemned those who needed Him, He would not be remembered and loved for His life-changing wisdom, message, and good deeds. Instead of condemning people caught in self-destruction, Jesus was kind to them. He reached out to people others avoided. He touched lepers, respected women, and loved children.
Jesus personified the wisdom of God. By His example and teaching, He brought together inspiring idealism with rugged realism. Nowhere do we find a clearer picture of what it means to be faithful to the highest principles while offering mercy to the most broken people.
When Jesus pressed the self-righteous with the logic of their moral idealism, He did so to lovingly humble them (Matthew 5:20-48). When He offered mercy instead of morality, He did so to show that He had come not to condemn but to rescue and save (John 3:17; 12:47).
As this country moves further into the election season, let us be governed by both realism and idealism. As the young folks say, "Let's Keep It Real!" There are candidates out there running for president who are pawns in the hands of lobbyist, big business, the NRA, etc. Many do not and will not keep their word not matter what truths or reasonable policies are presented to them. The Bible says, "In all thy getting, get understanding." As Christians, let us watch as well as pray. Let us not fall prey to the rhetoric on the right or on the left. "Wisdom is the Principle Thing." Pay attention to our leaders who are in places of authority in the church. Watch what they say, but especially, watch what they do!!
Jesus clearly gave that warning to the masses when He went off on the Pharisees, Scribes and the teachers of the law in Matthew chapter 23:13. He said so many "Woes." to the scribes and teachers of the law, it wasn't funny. He told the people listen to them as they declare and read the law to you in the temple, but do not followed them or do as they do. Jesus called them hypocrites and a whole lot of other words.
Remember saints, Jesus is our standard! When looking for direction and leaders to direct, guide and give you sound counsel; Look to see who is upholding the ideals, realism, and qualities of Jesus Christ. HE IS MY CHAMPION!