Wisdom and humility

Happy Fourth of July to all the wonderful Americans I know out there in the big world! May you have a great day with lots of burgers and fireworks! We will do some barbecue at the beach here in Kiev tomorrow to celebrate Independence Day. How weird is that that I’ll actually be in America in less than two weeks from now…We’re in the midst of packing up our lives here, and we’re looking forward to the new adventures God has for us over there!

Yesterday YWAM Kyiv had a prayer day where we were praying about wisdom. And it struck me how different the idea of wisdom found in the Bible and God’s wisdom in general is from what people generally think of as wisdom. God’s wisdom is far beyond ours, and God’s wisdom always shows itself through people who are humble. You simply can’t get true wisdom if you don’t have a character of humility. Wonderfully-straightforward-and-easy-to-understand-James puts it like this: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom” (James 3:13) and a few verses down he elaborates on what godly wisdom is: “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” (James 3:17).

Humility comes from wisdom. And without humility you won’t live a wise life. 1. Corinthians 1:30 tells us that Christ became for us wisdom from God. Jesus is wisdom. And Jesus showed us what humility was when he came to earth and lived and died here (Philippians 2 talks about Jesus’ humility). 

I was thinking and praying about it yesterday, and it struck me that it’s a brave prayer to follow James’ exhortation and ask God for wisdom (James 1:5). We do want wisdom, but God knows that without the necessary humility and brokenness before God we can’t carry wisdom without it inflating our egos and ultimately lead us away from God. King Solomon of the Old Testament got the choice of from God that he could have whatever he wanted (1. Kings 3 tells the story), and Solomon chose to get wisdom. And we are told that no-one was ever wiser than this king, but unfortunately we also see that Solomon became so wise that he forgot about where he had gotten his wisdom from. He married countless foreign wives and slowly his heart was lead away from God (1. Kings 11). He simply didn’t have the needed humility to carry all the wisdom. 

When I first entered the world of mission to do a Discipleship Training School at Holmsted Manor in England in 2003 I found a welcome note on my pillow where the aforementioned verse from James was written: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). I prayed that prayer many times. God laid it on my heart to also ask for humility, and so he has been answering that prayer ever since. I’m thankful to God that he has taught me more and more about being wise and humble. I am thankful that he has taken me to places and put me in situations where I’ve had the opportunity to die to (some of) my pride. It hasn’t felt great. It hasn’t looked like much in the eyes of other people, but I know and see the difference it has made. So I will continue to ask God for wisdom and humility. I don’t want to build my own sand castles that are made with my ideas and my own hands. I want to build with God. I want to build his kingdom. I want to build what will last when storms come. My sand castles won’t. And I thank God that he is showing me that it’s never about me doing things or building things on my own. That was never God’s plan for his children. Instead it’s about Christ living and building through me. It’s about Christ’s humility and wisdom being manifested through me. I get to be the vessel that God does his work through. But it’s not about me. It’s all about him. And when this is the case, he is also the one getting all the glory. 

I want to live a life where God gets all the glory. I know that when he gets all the glory, myself and other people around me get to experience the abundance of blessings that God loves to pour out on us. He loves to bless us and what we do, but he won’t bless to his full capacity if he knows that what we’re doing is our own little sand castles. That simply wouldn’t be loving either. He knows what will stand when storms of life rage, and he wants to continue to bless his children that choose to build on the Rock of Christ. 

I pray that I may build my personal life, my family life, my ministry life on the only foundation that never fails. I want to build on Jesus. I want to live a life where his life can be manifested. 

I realize that “God is God and I am not. I can only see a part of the picture he’s painting” (Steven Curtis Chapman), and I want to grow in my acceptance of this. When I accept that I don’t know best, and that God always knows what he is doing, I can rest and experience peace. 

Hoping to grow in godly wisdom and humility, Torben

Du har hånd om os, kære far i himlen, sidder inde med det store overblik. Og i tillid til, at din omsorg holder, vil vi kaste alt i armene på dig. Herredømmet og magten og æren tilhører dig, tilhører dig far. Herredømmet og magten og æren tilhører i al evighed dig. Du gør, hvad du vil. Du ved, hvad du gør. Du vil os det bedste, du er vores far” a wonderful song written by my dear friend Carsten Almann Levisen (or Calle as I continue to call him 🙂 ). The lyrics go something like this: “Your hand is around us, dear Father in heaven, you always see the big picture. And trusting that your care will last, we will throw everything in your arms. The Lordship, the power and the honor belong to you, belong to you Father. The Lordship, the power and the honor belong to you for all eternity. You do what you want. You know what you do. You want what’s best for us. You are our Father

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