Generation Cedar

One of the things that most concerns me about the ever-changing church is the lack of the pursuit of wise living.  There’s a new gospel that seems to treat the Bible as a nice read, with little practical application for every day life.  It is viewed as out-dated, counter-culture, and certainly no place to find directives for living.

There also seems to be a dearth of teaching about “walking carefully”.  Again, we’re so drawn to a message of freedom and acceptance (which does indeed exist in Christ!) that any talk of being careful in the way we live seems to encroach on that freedom and we want no part of it.

But is that what the Bible really teaches?  Have we no obligation as Christians in our daily lives?  Doesn’t love usher in cheerful obedience?

This jumped out at me today when I was reading Proverbs 4.  The emphasis on “finding wisdom” and keeping ourselves walking straight is so strong!  Over and over this father pleads with his son…

Get wisdom!  Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get wisdom.”

He makes the point that his father said the same thing to him.  I asked my children, “If I told you to “go get your shoes“, does that mean you already have on shoes?”

My point is, we aren’t born with the wisdom spoken of here, or there wouldn’t be a need to “get” it.  We can’t rely on “the wisdom God gives us”, because it is to be sought like a treasure, hunted down, craved, coveted. 

Why?  Why does it matter?  Because without wisdom we are lured by the foolishness of the world.  And that foolishness becomes undistinguishable from wisdom if we’re not seeking the kind that comes from above.

And of course, wisdom can only be found in God’s Word, because the two are one and the same…“in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God…”

Then, later in that chapter were these words–listen carefully:

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.  Put away from you a deceitful mouth…let your eyes look straight ahead…ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.  Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil.”

Now that’s a godly father, speaking to a son, about living very carefully, paying attention to what he does and doesn’t do, and seeking God’s Word for the specifics of his life.  There is not a hint of, “God loves you so just relax, it doesn’t matter how you live”. 

And for those needing a New Testament command, it gets even stronger–we are to “crucify our flesh” daily.  Deny ourselves, die to our own desires and take up the cross of Christ.  It matters how we live!

May I also point out a side note:  it is actually becoming a popular idea that Christians are not to “brain wash” their children, but just let them figure out life for themselves.  Can you imagine telling this writer of Proverbs that?  Read the whole chapter, and tell me what kind of blueprint is there for parents instructing their children!

I think we need more Christians who yearn for wisdom, willing to hunt it down and then live it, even if it’s not what they wanted it to be when they find it. 

And certainly, we must join with the father in Proverbs and say to our children…“Keep my commands, and live.  Get wisdom!”

Press on.

16 Responses

  1. Amen.
    I think because it’s hard to do; plus a lot of us don’t want to look/feel like “freaks” that we don’t train up ourselves or our children. But the life we are called to, and the culture we live in, are vastly different. We can only serve one master. It’s impossible to be in the world and out of it. I see this in my own denomination, where we have been told by the culture over and over, that we need to get with the times, we are losing faithful, etc. But there is one set of rules, regardless of the age we live in. Certainly small details may change, but the heart of it is unchanging.

  2. Wow, Kelly that really hit me! How many times have I heard the excuse “God gives us wisdom to make our own decisions”, yet clearly the Bible says it isn’t just given to us, we are to search and dig for it. Wow. That really hit me this morning! Thanks!

  3. Thank you for this today, Kelly. But do you ever get angry? I deal with this issue more than I’d like to. I see family, blood family and church family, and they come to church on Sunday or they have certain Scripture they can quote, and still they live like heathen. How do you keep from going all “fire and brimstone” on them? They know better, I know they know better, but they are almost like two separate people…”convenience Christians”. I love them very much, but how can you be truly saved and still chase the harlots and foolish lusts of this world?

  4. Kelly, I think this is a fabulous post. Especially in this day where apostasy abounds, people are searching for truth, and being led to think that they have found it in their new found “freedom”(translate … freedom to disobey God’s word and shun the Narrow Way).
    It is the time to start each morning begging the Lord for wisdom and each night doing the same. Without it, we are easily led astray! Thanks for an excellent post.

  5. Amen Kelly! Here’s are some verses from Ephesians that address the same issue: “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Eph. 5:15-16
    Then there are verses warning us not to let our freedom in Christ become license for the flesh. God cares how we walk and His Word is what He points us to over and over again throughout the Scriptures. Psalm 119 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17 are just a couple places in Scripture that express the importance of being in God’s Word. I am alarmed when I see people dismiss the importance of God’s Word in favor of “experience”. This is dangerous and deceptive ground!

  6. Amen! To raise wise children and to want to walk in a manner worthy of the calling, well, that takes hard work and it’s every moment of every day.

  7. We read the chapter of Provers that corresponds with the date every day. (The 4th chapter on the 4th day of the month, etc.). We never ever get tired of reading the same chapters every month and each month new truths and wisdom are brought out before our very eyes. Each day I start off asking, “Who wants to get wisdom?!?!?” Charis always looks like she isn’t sure, but Arwen knows well enough to exclaim, “I DO!!!!” LOL

    One thing about that whole New Testament/freedom/free from the law thing that strikes me… If you study the NT you will find that Christ didn’t come to do away with the law, but to fulfill it. OT said “Do not commit adultery” , NT says “If you even LOOK at a woman lustfully, you have committed adultery”. OT says “Do not murder”, NT says “If you even hate a man in your heart, you are guilty of murder”, etc etc. It really gets more “strict” (For lack of a better word) than more lax once you examine it. We are held to a higher standard because we’ve been given victory over sin and death, by the grace of God and Christ’s death on the cross.

  8. Missi, I think you make a good point about the NT and the higher bar Jesus set. It’s interesting the Pharisees were very strict but only about outward things, thing that are easy to control but Jesus was saying, no, God cares about the heart and that you can’t do anything about in your own power and that’s what you need Me for! Christ sets us free from sin’s power to live a life of obedience through the power of the Holy Spirit. God changes our hearts and that will show up in our living, there will be a separateness that should draw people to Christ but will also turn some people away I think as well.

  9. Oh, Kelly! This hits home to me more than I can express.
    I have a dear friend with whom I grew up, who has recently suggested in a roundabout fashion that she would like to get to know Christ… but, at 23, she’s had a rough time. Her parents were of the school of thought that said that children should make their own mistakes. Hence there was no discipline… they wanted to “let her make her own mistakes.” Umm… not the best idea ever.
    Where did this end up? At 13, she was drinking; at 14, she was sleeping over at boys’ houses; at 18, she decided not to go to college, but rather to “move in” with her boyfriend at the time; at 20, she dumped the boyfriend for a 31 year old man with two children by two different women; at 21, she married the man – who was abusive – after knowing him for six weeks!; and, at 23, she’s divorced… and it seems that she finally discovered what “shame” is.
    Without making this a huge story, what she said the other day broke my heart. She commented, “I wish my parents had let me go to church when I was a kid, or had brought me up in a church. They said they wanted me to make my own choices for religion, but now I don’t know how.”
    This may be an extreme story, but I think it goes to show how critical your message is…

  10. Freedom in Christ is to release us from the bondage and slavery of sin. We now have the ability to do that which is excellent. The point of the application portions of the New Testament is to explain how to live excellently based on that doctrine. We shouldn’t just be concerned for our own spiritual welfare. Our freedom may not cause others to stumble. I Cor. 8:9, “But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.”

  11. When I was a kid, I remember someone telling me, “We could all use a little brain washing with God’s Word as soap.”

    Now days, people see protecting and sheltering children, reading and teaching to them the Word of God, and giving them no choice but to attend church is wrong.. that we should give even our youngest children the choice to do as they please. Brainwashing sounds very negative, because we’ve seen so many use these methods of “discipleship” for bad, not good.

    Anyway, great post!

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