They say that one of the challenges of flying a plane is when you lose view of the horizon. It is the horizon that helps you to say oriented, or in the case of darkness or poor visibility, your instruments. The loss of the horizon or the inability to pilot by instruments will result in pilot disorientation and is almost always fatal. The same can be true for the follower of Christ living in an upside down culture.
I was recently reminded that the challenges of following Jesus today have been the same for all generations. The prophet Isaiah wrote about the cultural condition of his times, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20) The cultural perspective of his day, as in our day, is very disorienting. Many will meet their demise because of the moral disorientation that prevails.
My study this past week in Ecclesiastes 10 reminds us of the necessity of Biblical wisdom for keeping the follower of Jesus upright. Solomon offers these insights for us. First, don’t allow foolishness to get a foothold in your life. Foolish in the Bible is the opposite of wisdom. If wisdom involves knowing and applying God’s truth, foolishness is the rejection of God’s truth and living for one’s self. There are many places that the Bible calls for balance in the lives of the follower of Jesus. Yet, there are areas that admonish us to make no compromise. Solomon states it this way, “Dead flies make the perfumer’s ointment give off a stench; so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.” (Ecclesiastes 10:1) He reminds us that it is the little things in life that cause our demise. It is the small indiscretions that destroy wisdom and honor. Satan deceived Eve by getting her to focus on the fruit.
Solomon then goes on to point out areas that reflect our lack of wisdom: a wrong response to another’s behavior, our increased vulnerability to physical danger, our mouth get us into trouble, and our propensity toward poor behavior. The antidote for foolishness, which comes naturally, is Biblical wisdom. It is the learning of Biblical truth and then the application of that truth into our lives. Solomon’s godly father, King David, said it best, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:1–2)
True wisdom is cultivated through the process that begins with time spent absorbing God’s truth and is completed by living out that truth in our daily life situations. Paul reminded Timothy and us, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16–17) Another good practice is to read a chapter of Proverbs each day.
The challenge for you and me is will we keep our perspective and remain upright in an upside down culture.
-Pastor Joe Parkinson