When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.
1 Corinthians 2:13 NLT
Godly wisdom, spiritual wisdom, discernment.
These are things that come from being close to the Holy Spirit of God, not from reading and thinking and examining alone. Because the Pharisees, the religious leaders of the time used human wisdom to examine the law and come up with ways to work around the letter of the law but to still have evil in their hearts – missing the whole point of the law.
This is because their minds were veiled to the truth, they were trying to understand God’s perfect and divine instruction from a perspective of worldly understanding and of intellectual reasoning and of theological debate alone – but their ears were closed to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd who brings the Word of God to life in our hearts. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God is written on our hearts, not just loaded into our minds. Yes, this is an important difference.
A detective who has gathered all of the facts and evidence detailing the events of a crime, but who has no insight into the desires or motivations or intent of those involved in the circumstances is not going to be very effective in reconstructing the crime – in putting together the “whole picture”. The same can be said for those who call themselves Christians. If we just have our own intellect to rely upon, we might take pieces of the Word of God and use what we like to support our own opinions while ignoring the rest. But the Holy Spirit brings us discernment, it teaches us the value of the whole Word of God, it convicts us in ways that press us into uncomfortable areas of growth, and it chastise us in those areas where we are not in God’s will.
And just because we aren’t convicted against something doesn’t mean that it is okay for us to do. It might mean that we are refusing to listen to the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. There are other spirit voices out there that are more than happy to tickle our ears with deception, giving us something less than God’s will to set our desires upon, which is why we are given the Word of God to test all spirits.
Salvation isn’t a flip of the light switch and all is perfect, this is a ministry of reconciliation as we are restored to the image of Christ, as we are taught a lesson at a time, as we grow trial by trial and struggle by struggle, as we choose with each breath whether we will respond in our flesh nature or allow the Holy Spirit to shine through.
Salvation isn’t a heaven ticket purchased once upon a time to someday get to turn in after we die as much as it is a race to the finish where we get to participate in seeing God’s Kingdom come and His will be done through us today and each day until we return into the fullness of His presence.
And if that sounds like works, if that sounds like striving, you can’t hear my voice – you are only looking at the written words, with no understanding of the message that I am trying to convey. You see, it isn’t out of obligation that I want to obey the Word of God – it is out of gratitude. And I am grateful because I believe, and I have discernment to understand because of the Holy Spirit alive within me.
This is why belief, faith, is the requirement. Because without faith, we might fall into empty religious practice, lifting up sacrifices of works and ceremony, hoping to one day trade them in for a reward, but having no true love for God, having no real relationship with God, having no change within our child, hardened hearts. Because without faith, we might see a promise of grace and use it as an excuse to remain in the darkness of our sinful lives, never seeking to be doers of the Word of God, because we were never seeking God and His righteousness, we were just hoping to escape punishment and to enjoy the treasures and reward.
But I tell myself this – since Jesus is our portion and our prize, and since heaven is a righteous place filled with the glorious radiance of His presence all day long, every day – I can understand why before I fell in love with Him that I had no real interest in being there for eternity – but now that I know that there is nothing else worth having, where else could I turn?
This is why I say to you, friend, choose today who you will serve. So not be lukewarm. If you do not love the Lord, if you are not yet fully surrendered – take heart, because He is eagerly awaiting you to turn to Him and follow. We, your brothers and sisters in Christ are eagerly awaiting you to join us in running this race and seeing this fight through to the end. But know that an end is coming, and the day will come where the goats will be separated from the sheep, and some will be sent to their destruction and eternal torment, while others will know the glory of His presence. I do not say this to scare you into a religious conversion, because neither fear nor religion alone will bring love to your heart for your Lord and Savior – but I do tell you so that you might know the truth, so that you will not be surprised on the day of judgement. And maybe, just maybe, you will understand Godly wisdom because you are meant to listen to that voice of the, Holy Spirit bidding you to come home to your father’s house.
He is waiting for you.
Hear His voice.
Answer the call.