How to Live Well
One man said “that many people would be full of wisdom had they not had the idea that they already knew everything.”
One of the very best ways to live a life full of wisdom is to remain teachable. Jesus said of those who never lost their hunger nor ever lost their thirst, that they would be filled. (Matthew 5:6) In order for you to be hungry or thirsty, you must deplete yourself of what is already in you. Then there is a pain, hunger pain, or a sign of thirst. Many people will never hunger and thirst after Jesus, because they are still full of themselves. Until you are depleted of you, you’ll never fully hunger and thirst after Jesus.
Let me give you another example. Say, you invited me over for dinner, I’m not sure of the menu, nor I am sure of the exact time that we are going to eat. I’ve worked all day, and I am hungry, so on my way over to your house, I swing into the local burger joint, and get me a couple of items from the value menu. Even though, I’m on my way to dinner, I’m going to satisfy my hunger, on my own. I am now filled with what I have purchased and consumed. I arrive at your place, and there, before me is the most exquisite meal ever served, but I am not hungry, now! You see I have consumed to satisfy myself, regardless of how delicious your meal smells, or how inviting it looks, there just isn’t room, nor is there a hunger to eat what you have prepared.
Could that be the way that we are with God and His word? We are so filled with the value menu of the world, or our own ideas, that we aren’t truly getting the real meal. Sure, you’re making it through, just as that meal satisfied me, but I could have had the best. Instead I settled for less.
In Proverbs 8 Solomon lays it out very simply, that we would live well, if we would listen to wisdom. How do you know if you are getting the value menu or the best dinner? I use this next to funnel so much of what I hear through.
Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. Mean-spirited ambition isn’t wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn’t wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn’t wisdom. It’s the furthest thing from wisdom—it’s animal cunning, devilish conniving. Whenever you’re trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the other’s’ throats.
Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Jas 3:13–16). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.
Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.
Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Jas 3:17–18). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.
Solomon stated many of these same things in Proverbs 8.
Here is some of what Solomon told us about hearing wisdom:
Don’t miss a word of this—I’m telling you how to live well,
I’m telling you how to live at your best.
Prefer my life-disciplines over chasing after money,
and God-knowledge over a lucrative career.
For Wisdom is better than all the trappings of wealth;
nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her…
“I am Lady Wisdom, and I live next to Sanity;
Knowledge and Discretion live just down the street.
The Fear-of-God means hating Evil,
whose ways I hate with a passion—
pride and arrogance and crooked talk.
Good counsel and common sense are my characteristics;
I am both Insight and the Virtue to live it out.
With my help, leaders rule,
and lawmakers legislate fairly;
With my help, governors govern,
along with all in legitimate authority.
I love those who love me;
those who look for me find me.
Wealth and Glory accompany me—
also substantial Honor and a Good Name.
My benefits are worth more than a big salary, even a very big salary;
the returns on me exceed any imaginable bonus.
You can find me on Righteous Road—that’s where I walk—
at the intersection of Justice Avenue,
Handing out life to those who love me,
filling their arms with life—armloads of life!
Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Pr 8:5–6) (Pr 8:9–21). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.
The best way to live is to be emptied of yourself, and go after God with a hunger and thirst to be filled by Him.