Tuesday August 14, 2018

Tan: Learning wisdom in engaging with life's non-negotiables

1How wonderful to be wise, to analyze and interpret things. Wisdom lights up a person’s face, softening its harshness. 2 Obey the king since you vowed to God that you would. 3 Don’t try to avoid doing your duty, and don’t stand with those who plot evil, for the king can do whatever he wants. 4 His command is backed by great power. No one can resist or question it. 5 Those who obey him will not be punished. Those who are wise will find a time and a way to do what is right... (Printed: verses 1-5)

WHILE the obvious is the writer's emphasis on wisdom, exposing our lack of it and our desperate need for it, do not forget to read between the lines. God is the source of it (wisdom) and fearing God is the only way to walk in wisdom. Wisdom is slippery...the moment we boast possession of it, it slips from our arrogant grip.

Wisdom is not indifferent, it is engaging! Wisdom refuses to be boxed in by the standards of man's expectations. Wisdom cries out to be heard and is for the taking. The takers must choose, not be forced to. How we desperately need it as we engage with the non-negotiables of life.

In Ecclesiastes chapter 8, the writer exalts a man who walks in wisdom. It does not only guide his mind, it also projects beams of joy in his moods (v1). From verse 2-17, we can at least discover 3 non-negotiables in life. By non-negotiable, we mean it is not wise to collide with it and expect surrender. Wisdom is the only way to engage it.

Ø First, is the perpetual presence and power of people in Authority

Ø Second, the persistent possibility and painful reality of Abuse

Ø Third, the persuading perspective of an Awakening.

Remember, they are non-negotiable. We engage it with a Quiet Heart in wisdom. We are not winning this by anger and loud voices. Consider these wise ways, and like a stealth plane, pass through the radars and engage!

1. Quietly engage the authorities above you by applying attitudes fueled by Wisdom (1-9)

Wisdom is all about attitudes. Wisdom is better than wrath. A wise heart knows proper time and procedure. The reality is that no one is without an authority. We may have people under our authority and at the same time we are under someone. This is non-negotiable! We engage with this reality in the fear of the Lord and wisdom. We are not an advocate of blind obedience. This is really an appeal for wisdom rather than wrath;

Insights rather than impulse; Freedom rather than force; Respect rather than revenge. Wisdom is best measured as it is applied in our attitudes that reflect our fear of God. These are some time-tested insights that give way to wisdom. Reflect on them...

• Know and stay in your place

• Know and focus on your task

• Know and observe your limits

. Know and accept you’re not in control

• Know and fear your God

• Know and listen to your heart

2. In Wisdom, quietly engage the reality of abuses in life by allowing insights to guide your cause than having the propensity to explode in anger.

When we think of the reality of abuses in our society, think of it as a whole and not selectively, meaning, even religion has its own dark stains of abuse so deep that it has marred its credibility to correct. The prophetic voice of the church has somehow been toned down by her own tolerated abuses. Are we saying that we all abuse each other? Never!

Rather, our mindset and resolve must not only be inspired by preventing the abusers, our greater challenge lies in how we can resist becoming abusers ourselves. Let it be without mistake that though people may not agree with our opinions and actions, it is clear to them that they know that we fear the Lord. Before using the social media or before making a stand, pause and ponder... then proceed with a clear heart.

• In the fear of the Lord, prayerfully reflect

• In the fear of the Lord, wisely react

• In the fear of the Lord, graciously respond

• In the fear of the Lord, courageously rebuke

3. With A Quiet Heart of Wisdom Engage The Awakenings of Life in Brokenness and Humility

Solomon tried to explain it all out. Finally, in brokenness, he accepted he could not. This is a good sign that an awakening is happening. Some call it turning points where something unplanned and unscheduled ushers us to redefine everything. Such awakenings are available yet few... avail of it. Look for it and listen and let this chance of being awakened change us. These awakenings come in many forms... sometimes humorous but many times rude. It is immaterial how we meet, it is important that we meet Mr. AWAKENING. It is liberating and life-transforming. Along with this encounter is the need for brokenness and humility.

• In brokenness, engage to embrace your humanity.

• In humility, engage and avail of your opportunity.

• Respect mystery.

• Resist mastery.

• Rebuke mediocrity.

At the end of a long discourse, we all end with these timeless truths as we engage the non-negotiables of life with the non-negotiables of grace

• Fear of God (Wisdom)

• Faith in God (Worship)

• Favor from God (Wonders of life)

• Family of God (Way of Connection)

Thanks for reading. I write from a heart which longs for quietness and hopefully act in wisdom.