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Interplay of Wisdom and Humility

I may have written about this before. I’m not really sure. I know there was a period in which I talked about it a lot. Anyway, I’m thinking about it now. Two verses in totally different parts of Scripture incited my ruminating about this concept and what it looks like in life. Proverbs 11:2 makes the simple statement, “with wisdom comes humility.” And much later in the history of the Scriptures, the ever blunt James talks about “the humility that comes from wisdom.”

I’m intrigued by how when one of these two character traits are present, the other characteristic is inevitably on its way. One cannot be both wise and arrogant. Intelligent and arrogant, sure. Clever and cocky? Absolutely. Insightful and proud, very possible. But wisdom is something different. Wisdom walks hand in hand with humility, and if you get a hold of one, you will find yourself holding the other. I want wisdom. My lack of it lately has been so destructive to my life. It’s been so limiting and I have been constantly held back and have often held others back by my own foolishness.

Years ago, just beginning my Jesus following, I knew I needed to be humble. Not knowing how to do that after being cocky, arrogant, and proud of it my whole life, I decided instead of pursuing humility, I would pursue wisdom and trust that the words of Scripture were true. It worked. The more wise I became, the more clearly my position in the world became. Differences between myself and others became increasingly blurry as I saw more clearly the beauty and glory of the one who created us all. I became humble as I saw the things that truly mattered in life and the things that didn’t. As I discovered the meaning of actions, words, touch, beauty, joy, and the necessities of love, I found humility a necessity to actually be wise – to actually live out a life that is truly life.

I love what the verse in James 3:12 says, Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. Beautiful idea. Truly living involves a life with an overflowing cup of good deeds. I want this verse to be true for me. But, I am in a different spot now. I don’t have wisdom. I don’t see anything with clarity. I don’t feel like I have the capacity to pursue wisdom. What I have right now, is a whole lot of humility. My lack of wisdom has led to developing pride which led to increasing foolishness and then a shattered pride. Here I am, with nothing but nothing. I’m humbled greatly now. Not that I have “great humility,” that’s a misnomer. But rather I have nothing left to fuel my pride, and so I’m left with humility. That leaves me with humility and hope. Hope for something better. Great. Unimaginably great. But first, I need wisdom. Now I’m approaching it from a different route, but may God make the results even greater. May He give generously to all without finding fault, and may God see it fit to grant me wisdom to go along with my humility. And then, a life that evidences both without saying a word.

BTW, I’m in need of a full body deep tissue massage and I lost my massage therapist, any takers?

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