The concept of “wisdom” explodes out of the book of Proverbs.  In chapter 9:1-6 Wisdom, portrayed as a lady of considerable influence, is inviting us to a banquet at her palace which is both strengthened and beautified by seven pillars. The entirety of the book reveals to us that these seven pillars represent knowledge, truth, discipline, righteousness, humility, discretion, and understanding.

Our culture has cleverly and subtly crafted a counterfeit to each of these seven pillars.  Cultural-infected thinking leads to culturally distorted living and culturally impotent remedies for vital issues.  Knowledge has been consumed by an insatiable and voracious appetite for information.  Truth has been circumvented by an insidious doctrine of tolerance for everyone’s individual truth.  Discipline has been displaced by entitled indulgence of personal rights over personal responsibility.

This post explores how righteousness has been hijacked by fairness, humility is under siege by a victim-based diversity, discretion has been derailed by bandwagon behavior, and understanding has been undermined by an elitist sense of enlightenment.

Righteousness is that which God’s character shows as just and morally excellent.  The concept of fairness, is our human substitution of this.  Polling of any diverse group will show that some think fairness is ‘everyone gets the same size slice of the pie’ and some think it is ‘everyone gets the size slice they need.’  This perception is unique to each human, yet we live like it is a constant.  Fairness is actually an enemy to justice and mercy.  Doing the right thing based on fairness is putting justice and morality on shifting sands.  Those who emphasize fairness will end up subverting the law and even God Himself.  Righteousness and justice should be based on unchanging principles. Righteousness can only be understood through God’s guidance, because it is constant in our changing world.

Humility refers to having a prevailing attitude of confident vulnerability, producing dignity and significance in others and unity between others.  Society has replaced humility with an odious and weaponized victim-based diversity.  Diversity is good when we recognize and celebrate the individual differences that come from our Creator, but it becomes dangerous and divisive when we group differences and place one group against another in a victim-oppressor scenario.  This actually promotes and perpetuates the blinding pride that seeks to put others into submission.

Discretion is using good judgment in our conduct and speech when facing varying situations.  It has been polluted by the debilitating concept of bandwagon-behavior. It is odd that on one hand we believe our own individualized truth, but with the opposite hand, we grab for affirmation by jumping on the bandwagon, so we can be accepted.  We seem to have lost the confidence to evaluate situations for ourselves and discern any decision that may be questioned by those we deem ‘popular.’  That despicable, over-zealous tolerance suddenly devolves into group-think.  God created us in His image, but we seem quick to toss this treasure away and hide ourselves in the image of groups who steal our individual voices and our opportunity to demonstrate discretion.

Understanding is intelligence gained from skillfully seeking, questioning, and limiting our assumptions to make reasoned analysis.  This has been undermined by an old lie in new clothes: enlightenment. The old clothes were the cult of Gnostics: those highly arrogant ones, who set themselves in a superior position over others, believing that they had an elitist grasp of the nature of reality.  Today, instead of seeking an understanding faith in God, we put our faith in the arrogantly enlightened voices of our culture.

Real and godly wisdom radiates from a pure and holy and contented life.  It is considerate and sweetly reasonable, willing to yield to others.  It overflows with active compassion.  This wisdom never displays prejudice or hypocrisy.  With it comes a bountiful harvest of righteousness from the hard work of peace-making and consistently dignifying and honoring others.  James 3:17-18