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If Any of You Lacks Wisdom...

Since January 1 of this year, I've been reading through the entire Bible chronologically, with the help of The Bible Recap and its host, Tara-Leigh Cobble, affectionately known as TLC. I've finished 15 books so far, which surprisingly is almost half of the Bible already (tomorrow is Day 178), and it's only June! Who knew all of the longest books were in the Old Testament? Not me, and I've been in the church my whole life! If you've never read the Bible in its entirety, I highly encouraged you to do so - especially if you've got some solid guidance along the way to help make sense of the more complex and confusing parts. That's what TBR is doing for me. I'm loving it, and I honestly didn't anticipate feeling that way about the experience back in January. Here I am 6 months later and I haven't missed a day!

Last week I was continuing through the book of Kings, which reflects on the successes and failures of the many kings of Israel, and most notably King Solomon, known as the wisest king who ever lived. In her podcast commentary following this particular day's reading (this one is only 6 minutes if you want to see what it's like), TLC asserted in reference to 1 Kings 10:24, "There is no wisdom apart from God. He owns it ALL. And anyone who has it got it from Him. He is the source, supply, and goal of it all." She also directed listeners to the New Testament, in James 1:5, where it says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it shall be given to you."

Man, I love that promise!

As a kid growing up in church, I learned early on that if I wanted to find truth, I should not look to the world, which tells me that not only is truth relative, but I can also make it up as I go and call it "my truth." How convenient!

I learned that if I needed guidance with relationships, I should not look to the world, which tells me to get what I need and want from people, use and abuse them, and then dump them unceremoniously when I get bored, when they can't benefit me anymore, or when something better comes along.

I learned that if I needed some accountability with how I spent my money, I should not look to the world, which tells me to spend it now, spend beyond my means, put it all on credit, and enjoy all the pleasures of this fleeting life while I still can.

I learned that if I needed direction with sexual endeavors, I should not look to the world, which tells me to do whatever feels good with whomever and how many individuals I choose because it's my body and no one can tell me what's right or wrong or what to do with it.

And as a kid growing up in the church, I learned early on that if I needed wisdom regarding my health or nutrition, I should...

  • be sure I couldn't be labeled a glutton (Does that apply to consumption of Diet Coke? 100 calorie snack packs? White flour? Energy drinks? Coffee?)

  • definitely not allow myself to get fat (Which made me question the verse in I Samuel, "Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.")

  • eat less and move more (Totally ridiculous advice and absolutely unsustainable.)

  • try the latest fad diet (Because those have such a great track record, right?)

  • ask my doctor (Who has almost ZERO nutritional training and is likely suffering from one or more significant health issues just like 88% of the American population.)

  • not become too restrictive with my food choices (Because God wants me to have fun with my life, you know?)

  • try fasting (I mean, it's in the Bible, so maybe I just need to white-knuckle my way through hunger as punishment for my previous bad food choices.)

Does any of this sound like wisdom? Is any of it actually coming from the Word of God as accurate interpretation? I would say - No, and No.

Why is it that we Christians know we should never look to the world for advice on these other common struggles, but when it comes to the health and care of our bodies, we somehow think God's Word is silent, or worse yet - irrelevant, and we turn instead to self-help books, podcasts, friends, the government, and Ivy League experts in white lab coats to tell us what's what?

Of course none of these sources are bad in and of themselves, but when we elevate this kind of worldly advice over God's clear boundaries and natural laws - it's sure to lead to us down a disappointing path. It's no wonder church people are just as unwell as those outside the church - - we are all in the "same sinkin' stinkin' boat," as a pastor friend of mine used to say, following the same poor guidance instead of seeking God's truth.

Maybe we should be asking God for wisdom about our diabetes. The cancer diagnosis. The autoimmune issue. The anxiety and depression. The heart disease. The sleep deprivation. As Creator and Sustainer of it all, He probably knows a thing or two about it all. And He promises to deliver wisdom generously, without judgment, to all of His children who ask. But we must be sure we also pray for COURAGE to act upon the truth He illuminates for us, because what He shares will likely sound a lot different and be much more convicting than the soothing yet deceptive words our itching ears have been hearing from the world.

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