A Good Start
Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”
The phrase “the fear of the Lord” can sound really negative, almost like “you’d better watch out for God, because He’s coming for you.” However, it is important that we remember that this fear is not the same kind of fear that we might have for spiders, or clowns, or heights. On the contrary, this word fear is speaking more of respect, honor, or obedience.
So respecting Jesus, and obeying Him is the beginning of wisdom.
The opposite of wise is foolish, so the opposite of a wise person is a foolish person. and it doesn’t say that once you’ve obeyed Christ, you have completed wisdom, it says that this honor and obedience of God is the very beginning of wisdom. Its a good start to being wise. Often, we can get into thinking that wisdom is what we know. However, that is only half of it. Wisdom is taking what we know, and applying it. Living out the truths that we have been taught. If you don’t want to be foolish, the first step you have to take is honoring God, and obeying Him.
I know that this can sound like a lot of Old Testament stuff, but Jesus actually continues this thought in John 14:15, He said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” Jesus actually takes it a step past obedience to love. We don’t just obey Christ because it makes us wise, but we obey Christ because we love Him.
We’ve talked a lot about why its important to obey Jesus, and to do what He says, but lets look at what that looks like.
Luke 9:23, “and He said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”
That can sound like a lot of religious talk, but lets look at what Jesus is actually saying.
Jesus says if we want to follow Him, we have to deny ourselves. Another way of wording that would be that we have to put ourselves last. Last in what we want, last in how we feel, last in everything. I don’t just mean letting someone else go before you in a line, but it means caring more about how someone else feels than how you feel. Taking care of someone else and what they want, rather than doing what you want.
Jesus also says to take up our cross daily and follow Him.
The cross isn’t something that is comfortable to “take up”. The modern equivalent would be “take up your lethal injection and follow Me.”
Jesus is going one step further in how we are supposed to act. We are to put ourselves, our flesh that is, to death. Our flesh (the part of us that wants to sin) needs to be given no place of authority in our lives, because Jesus Christ has freed us from it. (Galatians 5:1)
I know that looking at this, and what that means for our lives, that’s pretty scary. We can’t do that on our own. I can’t do that on my own!
However, Jesus never expected us to do it on our own. In Acts 1:8, Jesus told the disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Jesus doesn’t expect us to follow and obey Him in our strength, and there in the first chapter of Acts, He promises the Apostles that the Holy Spirit will fill them, and the Holy Spirit will give them the power to overcome.
Paul later writes about this same thing in Romans 8:11, “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
The Holy Spirit has the power to raise the dead, and that Spirit lives inside of YOU.
Think about that for a minute. If that is true (which it is) is there anything to big for us?
Later on in that same chapter, Paul says “…in all things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” -Romans 8:37.
Because of Jesus dying for us, and the Holy Spirit living inside of us, we have done more than defeated our enemy, and we have more than beaten our flesh.
I know that when we think about how we need to obey Christ, and put Him first in our lives, He reminds us in our hearts what changes we need to make, and if that’s you, knowing that things aren’t right, then I challenge you today, fix that sin in your life, put Christ where He belongs as the Lord and King of your life.
Begin on the path to wisdom!