Youth in Focus

Living wisely

Sep 2012    

TWO RIVALS, Ah Tan and Ah Goh, meet at an international conference. eir countries had just acquired nuclear capability. Ah Tan said: “So, your country is now a nuclear power. What are you going to do with your nuclear capability?”

“We will use it for peaceful purposes.” “What peaceful purposes?”
“We’re going to send a man to the moon.”

“Send a man to the moon? What for? e Americans did it years ago.”

Ah Goh asked: “What about your country? What are you going to do with your nuclear power?”

“Use it for peaceful purposes, of course.” “What peaceful purposes?”

“We’re going to send a man to the sun.”

“What! You fool! e sun is so hot – before your man can get there, he will be fried to death.”

“Oh no, you don’t understand. We have a secret.” “What secret?”

“We are going to send him there at night.”

FINDING WISDOM

1. Ask for it.

2. Search for it.

3. Listen for it.

God has placed wise people in our lives – including our parents, church leaders, elders, etc. Listening to them is a great way to gather wisdom.

We laugh at the foolishness of this joke. How could anyone think that we could send a man to the sun at night? Ah Tan needs a dose of wisdom beyond what he sees at night!

Well, the same can be said for our young people today. Choices are plenty and choosing becomes difficult or even muddled at times. Yes, our young people are blessed in this age of information technology where they have access to a wide range of knowledge. But wisdom and knowledge are different things. While knowledge consists of knowing a lot of facts, wisdom is knowing how to apply these facts to your life and the world around you.

Wisdom can be defined as “the capacity to see life from God’s perspective” or “the ability to reach the right conclusion – God’s conclusion – about what you observe and know”. King Solomon had that ability to look at what was going on in the world and understand it rightly. That’s wisdom!

Solomon reminds us in the book of Ecclesiastes that wisdom can make a real difference in how we live our lives. Wisdom is worth listening to. In Ecclesiastes 9:13-18, he paints the picture of a small city surrounded and besieged by the army of a powerful king.

It reminds me of the movie “The Kingdom of Heaven” and how the enemy came up against the walls of Jerusalem with huge wooden structures to breach the defence of the walls. And like this movie, the invading force was unable to overrun the city.

Solomon does not give us details of the fight but what we do know is that a poor but wise man saved the city by his wisdom. us Solomon concluded, “ e quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.” (Ecclesiastes 9:17-18).

Our young people may never find themselves in a city besieged by war, but they will have plenty of opportunities to use wisdom to get themselves out of tight spots. Life is full of sneak attacks and hidden traps – dangers that can be avoided or defeated with a little wisdom.

How can our young people get wisdom? Here are three ways:

1. Ask for it. James 1:5 tells us that if anyone lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives it generously without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

Let me emphasise the words “without finding fault” – God is not going to disqualify you because of your poor choices in the past. If you are really lost, He is the Man to go to because our God gives generously to those who seek and believe that He delivers!

2. Search for it. Proverbs 2:1-6 says: “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding – indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

Note the actions in italic bold text. Looking for wisdom is something you do. It requires effort on your part. If you put in the effort to search, you will find wisdom.

You may start by reading the books of Proverbs or James as they are packed with God’s perspective on real-life issues such as money, friendship, emotions and conflict. Store these in your brain and you will think like a wise teen – knowing God’s perspective will help you see the world in His way and come to His conclusions about what you observe.

3. Listen for it. is is probably the most difficult for any young person – just ask me! Here are some verses from Proverbs: “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” (Proverbs 1:8).

“Plans fail for lack of counsel but with many advisers, they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22).

“A rebuke impresses a man of discernment more than a hundred lashes a fool.” (Proverbs 17:10).

Wise people know how to listen and take advice of wise people. God has placed them in our lives – including our parents, church leaders, elders, etc. Listening to them is a great way to gather wisdom.

So go and live wisely – coming to the Son, becoming like the Son. Just don’t head for the sun … even at night!

REACH OUT

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