The Wisdom of Godly Character (August 9)


“But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14).

AS WE SEEK GOD AND GROW IN OUR KNOWLEDGE OF HIM, WE FIND OURSELVES ASPIRING TO THINGS OF HIGHER AND HIGHER QUALITY. Every human being has longings and desires of one sort or another. We spend our days seeking the things we desire, whatever those might be. But not all the goals a human being might seek are of equal value. The challenge in life is to be able to identify the best things to seek and then fix our desire on these.

One of the dangerous things about spiritual immaturity is that while we’re in that state, we’re hampered by a lack of discernment. In the important areas in life, we can’t tell the difference between good quality and poor. We may find it difficult to distinguish the good from the better and the better from the best. In some cases, we may not even be able to judge between outright good and evil. The writer of Hebrews pointed out that those who are “of full age” are those who “have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” The difference between a wise course of action and a foolish one is sometimes so slight that it takes a person of some maturity to tell the difference. Until we develop that ability, we’re always in danger of making poor decisions about what is “good.”

If being able to judge between shades of goodness is important in the ordinary affairs of life, it is certainly important when the time comes to decide our highest aspirations. The things we choose to desire are the things that ultimately determine our character and our destiny. When God can see that a certain thing is of good quality, it’s important that our own powers of judgment be sharp enough to see at least some of the value that God sees. This is what Paul meant when he spoke of learning to “approve the things that are excellent” (Philippians 1:10).

We can’t set good goals without good judgment, and good judgment is more than a quick technique. It comes from good character. And where does good character come from? It comes from godliness and spiritual maturity, which in turn come from seeking God and knowing Him more fully. The more we know of God, the wiser we’ll be about what is best for us to desire.

“Wisdom is a taste for goodness” (Bernard of Clairvaux).

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com

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