We live in an age where the wisdom of man has reached new heights. Where technology spurs forth with gaining speed each passing year (month). There is no question that the "tree of knowledge of good and evil" (Genesis 2:9) has been manifested in the 21st Century. There is no question that mankind has become enamored with their own intellect. There is also no question, that the Christian Culture has become enamored by the intellect of man as well.
a serpent's wisdom
"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"
Looking at the Hebrew lexicon of subtil it says:
2450 chakam khaw-kawm' from 2449; wise, (i.e. intelligent, skilful or artful):--cunning (man), subtil, ((un-)), wise((hearted), man).
5341 natsar naw-tsar' a primitive root; to guard, in a good sense (to protect, maintain, obey, etc.) or a bad one (to conceal, etc.):-- besieged, hidden thing, keep(-er, -ing), monument, observe, preserve(-r), subtil, watcher(-man).
6175 `aruwm aw-room' passive participle of 6191; cunning (usually in a bad sense):--crafty, prudent, subtil.
Serpent was on a mission, probably on the mission of it's entire existence to destroy the communion man had with God. He would do this with every trick and cunning wit. He had a strategy in speaking with Eve alone, as opposed to Adam or both. He was cunning in his ability to "play" on words, and "correct" in appealing to the "fleshly desire" of the Woman to achieve his ultimate goal.
To survive in this windy climate of false doctrines. We MUST be the SAME, in reverse. We must cunningly dissect, analyze, question, and strategize equal to or above those who have motives to misdirect us, whether innocently or intentionally. We must do it in a way that does not cause harm, physically AND spiritually.
"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."-- Matthew 15:16
This balance of wits cannot be done by our own power, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, which cannot be borne outside of Faith in Christ.
Like Eve, too many of us are easily appeased by our five senses, and our own desires of "the flesh and of the mind". Ephesians 2:3 Automatically many of us will think of issues such as sexual perversion, alcoholism, gambling, the "big" sins, or maybe you'll think of nonbelievers and disqualify yourselves from this category. Truly the term is not as disqualifying as you may think, "desires of the flesh" is as simple as our OWN will in place of HIS. Be it as innocent as "personal goals" (career, house, etc), or as obvious as a perversion of thoughts and behaviors. It becomes a "heart" issue in which we all must examine our true intents and motives, for HE does. (Hebrews 4:12) For wherever your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21
the heart treasure principle
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: (physical/earthly possessions)
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal" -- Matthew 6:19-20 (Spiritual/eternal possession, our salvation, by Faith in Christ Jesus)
The principle listed in Matthew 6:21 is a simple one, whichever you invest in, store up of...be it time, money or faith is an indicator of where your heart (desires) truly are: for this life only or for eternity.
Are you wondering what this has to do with the topic of this post? The true cause of sin, lays in one's heart, not in one's actions. Any departure from the living God (Hebrews 3:12) originates from this very principle, what WE treasure (love).
the "itchy ear" factor
If what we treasure appeals to our whims and fancy, "the desires of the flesh and of the mind", then we develop the "itchy ear" factor.
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears" -- 2 Timothy 4:3
With this factor, we no longer wish to "endure" sound doctrine (WHOLESOME scriptural teaching), but rather teachings that appeal to those desires, and as a result:
"And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables" -- 2 Timothy 4:4
And the truth is not something we hold in high esteem.
A CRITICAL THINKER BY FAITH
It is very easy this day and age to receive another's truth, however false, for our own, IF we are not a critical thinking Believer. There are far too few of us, and too many as sheep being led away by the wolves. I have my own personal definition of a "critical thinking Believer", based on the reading of scriptures over the years, personal experience, and of course the leading of the Spirit.
A critical thinking Believer:
- Embraces truth, be it offensive (hard to accept) or not. "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved" -- 2 Thessalonians 2:10
- Is motivated to uncover the truth. To live in and by it. "My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth." 1 John 3:18
- "My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God."--Proverbs 2:1-5
- Is not enamored by the physical, or the cares of this world. "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit" --Romans 8:5
- "He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful." -- Matthew 13:23
wisdom of man as defined by the word
Upon examining the motives and intents of our hearts, we must understand how God views the "intellect" of society.
"But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called" -- 1 Corinthians 1:23-26
As clear the "heavens are higher than the earth", so are His ways than ours. The "wisdom" of this world IS foolishness to the Lord. He is not impressed with the influx of today's technologies and the advances in science.
"For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? " -- 1 Corinthians 1:19-20
Our Faith should never stand in the "wisdom" of men, but in the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:5) And in His power He reveals wisdom to us by the Spirit, which searches all things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:10)
"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. " -- 1 Corinthians 2:12-13
(End of Part 1)
I found this post getting a bit too long, as I still have more to share. So I'll be dividing it into two parts, for now... unless part two is just as long as this one :)