Wisdom embraces

Wisdom embraces

“I know, I know!”, a girl with two black braids shouted at the front of the class. If she hadn’t been so small, her finger would have pierced a little hole in the ceiling. The teacher had asked a difficult question and she knew the answer. She knew, and she wanted to tell her so bad.

This blog is about her quest to more knowledge, and instead she found wisdom. Wisdom in Person. This Wisdom is for everyone, regardless how smart you are!

 You guessed it: that girl was me. Like every child, I too felt the need to be seen and heard. To be meaningful. To feel strong. I found all this in the pursuit of knowledge. The more I knew and understood, the more I was heard and seen. At least, that’s what I thought. And it was also a bit true. Of course, there was a period when I certainly didn’t show that. It’s called puberty , I think. But I knew early on that good grades and knowledge brought appreciation and recognition. I discovered my nerdy side. I’d love to analyze, to remember theories and facts.  Besides, it was an easy escape for me. Interaction scared me. And secretly still a little.

From mbo (secondary vocational education) I cycled to the HBO (higher professional education)) and there it was, painfully obvious: theoretically strong, a lot less in practice. Each time I was confronted in my internships with one of my limitations: my lack of people-skills due to fear. Quite the challenge if you have chosen a social education, I tell you…

From hbo came the advice: after the first year you’d better go to college, you’ll fit better there. A tempting advice; more books, fewer sweaty hands and less stuttering moments during internship interviews! At the same time, a dreadful image passed my mind’s eye: tucked away in a soggy basement with a lab coat… (I don’t know why I was wearing a lab coat or sitting in a soggy basement, but you get me). But I didn’t choose social education for that! I wanted to help people. However, one teacher was wise and said, “the gap between what you know  and what you can do becomes even bigger. Maybe you should first grow into who you are furthermore than just ‘a brain on legs’.”

Was there more to me? Like Solomon from Preacher I asked myself: what then do I gain by being wise? Or in my case, what do I want to be so wise for? For what? Embarrassingly, I have to confess: for myself. To profile myself. Defend myself. Hiding myself. To be seen and heard. Myself.  But if someone asked, “Who are you?”, I was tongue-tied. I noticed I had no foundation. No self-confidence or identity. And with that, no rest.

Rest came only when I met Wisdom Himself: Jesus. In Him I found a Foundation, a rock-solid faith and unconditional love. Identity. Jesus to me is Wisdom in Person. He taught me that wisdom is something other than endless pursuit of knowledge. This Wisdom is not afraid, has no urge to prove itself, does not repel people, does not isolate, is not envious or judgmental, does not boast, and is not restless. This Wisdom gives peace, inspires, rises above the mind and reaches for the heart, is righteous in love, is gentle and courageous, is serving and humble, brings and seeks connection, grows, is endlessly loving and forgiving. This Wisdom embraces. And in that embrace, everything is different.

Knowledge is not a dirty word, by the way. I just used it wrongly. In addition, I confused my own knowledge (or cockiness) for Biblical wisdom. In the Bible I found James 3:17: But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

Wow, what is described here is about at odds with how I have understood knowledge! The Holy Spirit wanted to show me this so I could repent of it. Fortunately, He wants to cooperate with what He has already put in us. In my case, I get to analyze! There it goes.

“Wisdom from above is pure.” My motives for gaining more knowledge were certainly not pure, but self-oriented..

‘Then peace-loving’. Um, I slap people with titbits and theories around the head (usually in my head, because yes, social an itsy bitsy anxious)..

“Considerate.” Hmm, more dismissive (but with ‘well’ substantiated arguments of course).

“Submissive.” Well, anything but that. On the outside, of course, but all the less so on the inside.

“Full of mercy and good fruits.”  I used knowledge more often to condemn, reject and create distance, which produced fruits such as hubris, loneliness, closedness and little flexibility.

“Impartial and sincere. For this you need to be more interested in the heart of the other than getting your own right.. I failed on all sides!

This text is full of revelation about what wisdom is and what it looks like. With the knowledge of today and the understanding of the Holy Spirit about His Word, I read instructive lessons in this text from James:

“Wisdom from above is pure.” If I want to discover and show God in everything I learn, that is where my heart is focused on Him and I can deal with knowledge purely.

“Then peace-loving.” With knowledge you can connect and bring together, especially if you search with wisdom for the heart of people.

“Considerate.” Kind and compassionate. That is a different attitude than a critical or a distrustful one. Helpful and friendly, without fear that people are taking advantage of you or that you’re making a mistake.

“Submissive.” Open. With the idea that you can learn from others. That you even have a limited knowledge of your own. Whether that’s a lot or a little.

“Full of mercy and good fruits.” This means:  all inclusive! Loving, embracing everyone.

Fruits will then be: humility, love, open and learnable. 

“Impartial and sincere.” Not socially desirable behavior, but genuine love, support and interest.

Okay, I can (thankfully) take eternity for this. What particularly touches me is that wisdom is a matter of the heart in combination with the mind. And sometimes even without reason. The latter is a matter of surrender for me. This one is still under construction!

With Encyclo.nl and The Bible, I come to the following conclusion:

Knowledge is part of wisdom. It’s what you know or have learned. Wisdom, however, is the ability to act with insight. When you can’t apply knowledge with the right insight,  it’s useless.

Insight comes with vision, a view. The right view, admittedly. To the Father. Jesus knew this. In John 5:19 he says: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

It is not: why I have become so wise, but for Whom?

The journey of discovery to whom I am even more besides ‘a brain on legs’, is still going on. In the embrace of Wisdom Itself, I have changed so much already. I’m getting more and more healed and free from myself. And yes, there is still a lot to tinker with my people-skills.  Ask around. No, please, don’t😊 But I get to analyze all kinds of texts during that journey of discovery, hoping to gain more and more wisdom. Without a soggy basement and a lab coat.

by Karuna Toes van Dorp

What is wisdom?

What is wisdom?

Today, wisdom is a word that has fallen into oblivion.

It seems to be a word that no longer applies in the 21st century.

But what is wisdom? Why are great world leaders often praised for it?

And why is it the most searched after feature when we’re looking for leaders? Where do you find wisdom? When I look at society and especially at world leaders and legislation, I notice one thing. They are mainly self-directed and legislation is increasingly being drawn up without regard to the individual. While legislation that does not take the individual into account is not good legislation. We are all unique and every situation is different.  The way I am allowed to lead and do so with great satisfaction is to keep looking for what God wants. That alone allows me to put not my own interest first, but what He wants. And His will is good for all involved. Jesus teaches us that He is not seeking His will but that of His Father, which is why His judgment is just. For me, this is pure wisdom, knowing Him and seeking His will. Without weighing our own personal interest or our own point of view.

In 2010,I experienced that God wanted me to start a day care center. I had just had a consultancy for two years and worked for a number of Christian and regular nurseries, which made His plan more and more clear for me. Starting a nursery was not something I aspired to on my own, my desire to do what God asked of me was greater than my own ambitions..

The challenge was to find investors, because God asked something of me at a time when a major crisis was expected for daycare centers. Every bank closed its doors at that time for starters in this line off work. In the confidence that if this was God’s will and His plan, my husband and I decided to put our house up for sale and use the excess as the first investment. It took less than 4 weeks before we had a serious buyer, so we had to find a rental property very quickly. Because we made this step we found the building in which the nursery is now located.

However, our house was never sold, because two investors came our way. Gradually, one of the investors did not feel well. I was given the choice of what I was going to do.  The lease for the property was drawn up and could be signed. I could close my eyes to this feeling and not do anything with it, because I wanted everything to continue. Or I could do something with the risk that if one investor would be gone, the other would also withdraw.

From the certainty I had that starting this nursery was God’s plan and not mine, I knew that if He wanted it, nothing could stop it. So I informed the investor who didn’t feel well that I couldn’t go any further (with substantiation) and informed the first investor that I would do so. The latter indicated that he still had a good feeling about it. If I had played “safe” by relying on my own insights, I would have wanted to build God’s work on an incorrect foundation. He builds, and I see that over and over again.

Is wisdom the same as knowledge?

For the ancient Greeks, knowledge was the main road to zeal, the path to a good life reached you by the intellect. The more knowledge the more intellectual you were. 

But in Hebrew culture, wisdom is much more than the pursuit of intellect. Wisdom is practical first of all. Wisdom is built  on Divine principles of right and wrong. These principles must be observed in everyday life, in all dimensions of personal relationships. Biblical wisdom is to apply your knowledge of God and His will to the choices you make in life.

Wisdom is the ability to apply knowledge correctly. It begins with the ability to see and evaluate life through God’s eyes.

It is God’s desire for us to acquire wisdom by knowing Him from a personal relationship. God is a Person who longs for relationship with us, knowing Him is the beginning of wisdom. It is God’s desire to let us all share in His wisdom.

So what should be the purpose of education and education?  In many translations, Proverbs 4 speaks about “Instruction of a Father”. In the NBG translation it says “Admonition to Wisdom”. Be wise, we often say.  Remarkably, the title is Instruction of a Father, not a shepherd or teacher. It is from an educator and this emphasizes the relationship necessary to live wisdom. The purpose of education and education should be to teach children wisdom from relationship.

Why is it important to put wisdom as the main goal in every form of education and education? Because there’s life in wisdom!  Life as God intended. Wisdom asks us to give our lives back to God, so that He can give it back to us even more full. Then we are able to live wisdom for it. At home, on the group and in class.

In my next blog I will share about wisdom in love: how do we fill a group or the class our home with the love of God?

Want to read more about wisdom in the Bible?

Proverbs 4:5 state; Gain wisdom, gain insight, remember, and do not deviate from the words of my mouth.

In Proverbs 4:8 it says: The beginning of wisdom is, acquire wisdom

Psalm 111:10 says: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, have a good understanding of all who exercise them.

Proverbs 2:6:

For the Lord gives wisdom, knowledge and wisdom come from His mouth.

by Sandra Vijber

Live the good life (as a role model)

Live the good life (as a role model)

“My parents have always stimulated me!” “My parents were always there for me.” “My parents could always make it fun, even if we had little.”     

Do you recognize that? I regularly come across the question in interviews what people received from their parental home, their parents or their upbringing. Wonderful things about respect, care for neighbor, trust, rock-solid faith, security, openness, freedom … In other words, all praise! Then I think, wow! Those parents managed to do all that! How??? And immediately afterwards the question: What will my children say about me, and about their upbringing? Are they happy with what they have received? What have they been given anyway? Am I a good parent ??? Help!        

When I look back to my own upbringing, one of the things that I ‘ve been given, is that the world is bigger than our living room. There is a lot of misery in the world and a large part of the people live in poverty. So complaining and throwing food away was not done ! And I realize that I am now also allergic to it. Don’t come to me saying the meatballs are small or that we’re eating string beans again! But the other side was also prominent: roll up your sleeves and help where you can! So, for example we sent  goods to missionaries and we gave money to charity. Share what you have, wholeheartedly, with love and generously. Be grateful for what you have and give what you can. Wonderful lessons that I also want to live out to my children. And that’s just it, right, in being a role model for living the good life.

We parents and educaters have a very important duty! The task of “modeling life”. And so much has already been written about the “modelling function” of parents! Its importance and effect has long been proven. Yet we are not always aware of our own behavior and what we unintentionally role model and thus teach our children. The Dutch have a saying: “A good example leads to good to follow”, but that also has a downside …      

No doubt we will all agree that we want our kids to excel in their behavior, right? But then we must also be honest: parenting starts with yourself! I read this statement somewhere: “Improve the world, start with the parents!” And that is so very true!    

In Proverbs 22: 6 we can read the famous Bible verse about raising children and I love the addition in the Amplified Bible!     

Train up a child in the way he should go ( teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents ), even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (AMP) 

Our mission is to practice, train, teach and show our children how to live their lives. How to seek and discover God’s wisdom and will for their lives. How they can live meaningful lives in the service of God, so that they can receive all that God has put into life. Not to collect pats on the back, but in serving the other. Wow, that’s quite something! Such a responsibility!    

I came across the following significant statements from Charles Spurgeon that relate to this:     

Mothers , the godly training of your offspring is your first and most pressing duty. ” 

Train up a child in the way he should go – but be sure you go that way yourself .” 

Children need to have exemplary people in their lives, role models, at every stage of their development! People who live out the good example, the good life, so that they can learn it themselves.   

This is not for parents only, it also applies to teachers, pedagogical employees, youthleaders etc.  

Especially in these complicated, confusing times where socials have such a big influence and very young children are already glued to their cellphones (but I will not elaborate on that right now). And that requires a sacrifice from us! It is so important to invest in our children! To give them our time and real attention, not to mention our prayer!           

I am grateful for the promise that is in that one verse from Proverbs … learned young is done old, what we sow will yield a harvest. And hallelujah we don’t have to go it alone!!! Every day I pray for wisdom! * Because HELP, I can’t do it on my own! And fortunately, we don’t have to do it on our own! First of all, we have our Heavenly Helper, but we can also ask each other for help, to think along, to pray and even to fight beside you. We are given to each other! We need each other! “It takes a village to raise a child ”               

We have quite a few challenges in our family. That is why we have made a very conscious choice to gather people around us who pray for us. And to choose to pray together for our family every day. That may sound logical, but we didn’t do that for a long time. I always go to bed earlier, and we don’t get up at the same time, so when can you have that time together to pray? We really had to search for it and then commit to it. Even when we are tired, have no energy, or simply don’t feel like it, because it is our pressing duty !      

But what does that live life look like in practice? I can hear you ask ☺ Well, I’ll talk about that next time!  

* “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Jam. 1: 5 (NIV)    

by Sandra van den Ouden