The Necessity of God’s Wisdom

The Necessity of God’s Wisdom
Robert Wurtz II

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.  15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. (James 3:13-17)

The book of James in many respects is a book about wisdom. It teaches us that we can lack wisdom during the great trials of our lives and if we do we can ask God for it, who gives it liberally and without reprimanding those who ask. Moreover, it teaches us that there are two types of wisdom: earthly/sensual/demonic and the wisdom of God. We can string together sentences that make sense and seem to convey intelligence; but the source can be ungodly. The devil can impart “wisdom” that will advise according to his objectives. God imparts wisdom in order to advise according to His objectives. The challenge to God’s will is often one of two things: compromise or competition. We know what compromise is, but what about competition?

God gives wisdom to those who are determined to know and convey the truth. This requires sincere introspection. We need to understand what is motivating us before we can begin to examine situations and determine a wise solution. For example, James reminds us, But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. The envy James speaks of is perhaps understood by the English word rivalry. This is an “us against them” state of the heart. It seeks to compete with others for the vanities of the world within the House of God. and among the people of God. James characterizes the behavior as “lying against the truth.” That is to say, it betrays all the truth for which a Christian – yea – a minister of the Gospel purports to stand for.

When two parties are in a state of competition, they cannot rightly love one another. Their wisdom cannot be pure, for it is corrupted by the displeasure of the blessings that attend their rival. Their wisdom cannot be peaceable for it flows from the fountain of enmity and opposition. It cannot be gentle, for it springs from an attitude of antagonism. In this condition, one must understand that they are likely moving in the “wisdom” that is earthly/sensual/demonic. They are receptive to thoughts that further the competitiveness and strife between the parties. Bitter envy is a beachhead from which the enemy can launch devastating attacks against Christians. 

If we have bitter envy, we must repent. Clear your mind and heart of all ill-will and antagonism. Renounce hostility and resentment. Sometimes compromise can create conflict that results in competition. In fact, in some cases one party may wage war to end compromise of various kinds, while the other side sees the conflict as a competition. They are battling, but for different reasons. Situations like this are almost never resolved because the parties are generally unaware that each side has different objectives. This is where the introspection comes in. We have to allow God and others whom God may use, to point out things that we need to be aware of so we can see the situation clearly. 

I have observed over the years both in business and in ministry that when a person of little or no authority questions or voices concerns to authority figures (managers or ministers, etc.) the person in authority almost always takes it personally as a personal attack. There are few people who are meek enough to take the concerns of their subordinates (or sheep) seriously without jumping to conclusions about motive. This is particularly true where nepotism (friends and family: see footnote) is involved or believed to be involved. It is human nature to want to protect friends and family. Everyone knows this, so it is often assumed that favortism is in play; especially if there are questionable decisions being made that portend to nepotism. This can greatly complicate a situation, especially when a friend or family member is in the wrong and the authority figure will not acknowledge the fact or don’t believe it. What complicates the situation even more is when there is a mixture of real concerns plus bitter envy and strife. Real concerns + real envy = a real mess. These are situations that, in the words of James, “try our faith” and require the wisdom of God. 




Once we have settled the matter of motivations and have purified our hearts before the Lord, we are ready to ask for wisdom. Some situations demand the wisdom of God; especially situations where there has been a lot of earthly/sensual/demonic wisdom being spoken. The enemy can build a castle of falsehood and misconceptions until people are misled completely from the truth. They believe things that are false. These falsehoods are being used as part of their rationale for their position of subjects. Few things are worse than building a perspective from a bunch of lies and half-truths. Exaggeration of minor details and the marginalizing of important ones are only the beginnings of deception.

Solomon had a way of getting to the truth. He once suggested cutting a baby in half to share it between two feuding mothers who each claimed the child was theirs. The real mother declined and Solomon recognized her from her attitude towards the child. We must likewise pray that God will give us wisdom to get to the bottom of things. We need to pray for wisdom to deal with irrationality. We must pray for wisdom to counter the earthly/sensual/demonic. 

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
(James 3:17–18 NKJV)  



When God’s wisdom comes it will not be with human hostility, but with Divine generosity. We must be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath. This is the practical side of Christianity. When we can listen and hold our peace without getting angry, we are in position to hear, speak, and employ God’s wisdom. One of the key uses of wisdom is making peace. Anyone can stir something up, but it takes the wisdom of God to clear a matter. We must check ourselves and then pray God for the wisdom to handle the “divers” temptations and trials of life. 


____

Footnotes:

nepotism |ˈnepəˌtizəm|nounthe practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, esp. by giving them jobs.DERIVATIVESnepotist noun.nepotistic |ˌnepəˈtistikadjectiveORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from French népotismefrom Italian nepotismofrom nipote nephew (with reference to privileges bestowed on the “nephews” of popes, who were in many cases their illegitimate sons).



  

Testing the Sweetness

Testing the Sweetness
Robert Wurtz II


Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world (1 John 4:1).

In our previous entry entitled, “I’ve Been to the Mountain” we discussed the importance of going on with God through a process of “walking”. We employed the Ark of the Covenant motif as our illustration. The Ark was to be carried on the shoulders of four priests and not on a cart. We said that a “cart” represents the machinery of our times that men employ to simulate a move of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit. Bear in mind that the Holy Spirit is not a tingle or a mystical feeling, but a person with a character. A false presence of God cannot provide the people with love, joy, peace or unity among the brethren. When the sensation lifts there will be strife and confusion. This is how we know it is false. It is an impotent spirit. The true Holy Spirit cannot come lest He bring His fruit with Him. In this entry I wish to take this phenomena to its next faze and examine the dangers of such practices.

The spirit of the meeting

There is a spirit that when manifest dispels the sweetness of the Holy Spirit and leaves in its wake confusion and division. This spirit will seek to strong-arm God’s people by utilizing the dreadfulness employed by the Old Testament Prophets, upon New Covenant Christians. What did James say? “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17 ESV). These are eight things we can use to test the spirits of the prophets under the New Covenant. This dreadful Old Testament attitude that has no place under the New Covenant, sought to infiltrate the Disciples as they ministered in Samaria. What happened? When the people did not respond to Jesus, they desired to “call fire down from Heaven.” This can be both literal and figurative; for James had already said in the preceding verses; “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell” (James 3:6 ESV). The “fire of hell” sometimes imitates “fire from heaven.” It is an impostor. There is a spirit that imitates the Old Testament Prophets, lacking the gentleness, mercy and good fruits associated with the dispensation of the Grace of God (Ephesians 3:2). It is the spirit that drove the Disciples when Jesus told them, “You know not what manor (sort) of spirit you are of.” They were moving in a destructive spirit. If this spirit ever gets a foothold in the churches of God we are doomed. 

The character of  the Holy Spirit
 
When Paul left Ephesus he commended the church to God and to the Word of His grace. Paul had absolutely no confidence in those that were converted under his ministry. In fact, he warned the leaders day and night with tears that after he left, chaos and destruction would move in. He wrote; For I know this, that savage wolves will come in after my departure, not sparing the flock. Also from among you yourselves will arise men speaking things having been distorted, in order to draw away the disciples after them (Acts 20:29-30 ESV). Notice he said “savage wolves” that would not spare the flock. This is the antithesis of the role of a pastor/shepherd. Ambitious men will come in and exert their will at the expense of the blood-bought flock of God. The flock would diminish as the shepherd pursued their own aims. Paul continues, “They will speak ‘distorted things'”. The solution? Paul commended them to God and to the Word of His grace. 

 The Holy Spirit is a gentle Spirit that moves in the sweetness of love, joy, peace, gentleness, temperance, meekness, etc. of a shepherd watching over the flock. He convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment to come and sometimes goads; but when a person stops resisting Him He pours in love and joy (Romans 5:5). But there is another spirit that seeks to control the people rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to do His work. Returning briefly to our last several entries, we are not at liberty to “put our hands on the Ark of God.” What does that mean? People have to learn to be led of the Spirit so they can follow God on their own- independent spiritually of others that would be their spiritual counsel. 

I recall hearing the story of a woman that had turned her life to Christ, but she was a smoker. The elders of her assembly, wanting her to learn to hear from God herself, trusted God. One day she came to them and said, “The Lord told me it is OK to smoke.” They did not correct her. They did not give her a “directive prophesy”. They simply trusted God to lead her. A number of months later she came back and said, “I’ve been talking to the Lord and He said it is time to stop smoking.” The attitude of those elders is exemplary. We need to allow God to establish His authority in a person’s life. If she had been subject to controlling people she would have never learned to be led of the Spirit. It’s a bitter pill, but we need to swallow it in this crisis hour. The sheep need to learn to be taught of the Shepherd. We can touch that Ark in a person and wound them for life if we are not careful.    

 Modern day destroyers

Like the church at Ephesus, the churches of God have suffered a great many fads over the last 100 years. This is largely due to some specific errors that the enemy has employed to disable the churches warning systems. One of those is a general attitude that we should not judge (discern) manifestations or ministers. Add to that Psalm 105:15 (touch not the Lord’s anointed and do my prophets no harm) and you have a recipe for total devastation. Although Jesus commended the Ephesians in Revelation 2:2 for testing the false apostles Paul warned them about in Acts 20; finding them to be liars, there came a generation in he 1990’s that made exposing false prophets and teachings a damnable sin – worthy of the judgment of God. These fads, false teachers and falsehoods left carnage of immense proportions. Why? People like to chase some new thing. The stories are a dime a dozen. Some of these falsehoods and fads get picked up and recycled from time to time when folk don’t know the history or they are looking for something novel. From the so-called “Holy Ghost Bartender” to the would-be healing ministry of a man that boasted of kicking a woman in the face with his biker boot at the Lord’s direction, we have seen it all in the last 25 years. One common denominator: there was an evil spirit that dispelled the sweetness of the Holy Spirit from the room and all that was left was to manufacture a sense of presence of God that fooled the masses. And fool many they did. One thing I noticed, it always divided the churches.


Bubbling up the bubbly

I recall once waking up in the middle of the night having fallen asleep on the couch. The TV had been playing on a popular Christian network. On the screen were people lying on their backs as if dead, all over the floor of a church auditorium. The speaker was walking around mumbling things that I cannot recall. A fear seized me; not a holy or Godly fear, but a fear similar to if I had woke up and an evil horror movie had been playing. I knew that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and a sound mind. This man was a very popular speaker at the time in Charismatic circles and I may have had one of his books. I can’t recall as it has been almost 18 years ago. But at that moment, I knew something was amiss. There was an evil there that should not have been. And when someone shows you who they are, you should believe them. Many people just pretended it was not happening and warned not to touch the Lord’s anointed. I have written along this line in the past, but Derek Prince once said that Charismatics are particularly vulnerable to demonic spirits because they think that everything that happens supernatural is of God. It is not. The problem is that it is impossible for some people to acknowledge that something is not of God once they have been involved in it. But evil spirits have been known to fool even the very elect of God’s people.  

I’m gonna fire somebody!

On a different occasion I was attending a large meeting of another popular healing evangelist. I had followed this person’s ministry very closely and attended many crusades even traveling out-of-state. In the middle of the meeting, just after the worship service, something happened that changed my perspective forever. Over the platform there was a little light that kept going off and the people in the sound booth would press a button and it would come back on. I had a unique view of it from where I was sitting. It was obviously a technical problem. Suddenly the popular evangelist stepped to the front and said in a mean spirited voice, “I’m gonna fire someone if they don’t get that fixed! Because Je-sus deserves our best…” I was taken aback and in total disbelief. Here was a man that was leading the people in worship and yet “just-like-that” he turned on a dime into this “person” that was anything but Christlike; and all over a little light bulb. He showed me who he was and I believed him. Needless to say, that that was the beginning of the end for that as far as I was concerned. What happens? People live double lives. They are “the nice guy” on the stage and are ruthless in private. I wondered after that what his employees must suffer? Talk to people that have worked with him in ministry behind the scenes and see what kind of reputation he/she has. Talk to unbelievers and see what the report is (1 Timothy 3:7 ESV). If we would do that, we would stop a lot of trouble at the gates before it ever became a problem.

The outcome of their life

There is a passage in Hebrews that is insightful; “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith” (Hebrews 13:7). Notice the phrase, consider the outcome of their life. Watch and see what happens. I have known on many occasions for Christians to be in disagreement and even split-up friendships because the one saw the error and the other did not; but when the “minister” in question was caught in scandal we were able to apply this Hebrews 13:7. What does it say? “Consider the outcome of their life.” This is tremendous wisdom. I have personally sat under ministers in meetings that were very questionable. The elders would even question their actions. Some have backslidden and are no longer a minister at all. How did they get under the radar? Sometimes it is due to friendships or relationships. People are often blindest to those that are closest to them. It’s not until they get angry at them that they take off their blinders and spill the beans. Some of the time people are duped because they were performing miracles, prophesying and a host of other things; but there was a serious problem all along in these situations. There was something in the inner man of certain leaders that was shouting, NO! No! No! This is all wrong. Their warnings went unheeded. What does the scripture teach? In the multitude of counselors there is safety. When the deck is stacked to run a person through the ropes disaster is looming.

Acknowledging the signs

How could a host of people fall for a Todd Bentley? He dressed himself like the Hell’s Angels biker gang and nobody thought anything of it. Unlike the days of old when men would get saved and try to cover the evidences of their past sinful life with long sleeve shirts, this person flaunted it. That is how deeply they desired to distance themselves from a sinful identity. They were ashamed of their old life. What did the followers say about Bentley? “Don’t judge!” Why? Because in Charismatic circles miracles trump everything else. I tremble to say it, but I am persuaded to believe that a person could dress like the Devil himself: red suit, horns and all and some people would say, “Don’t judge!” If you give a word that is “on” you are considered legit. My advice? If you would not trust the person to watch your children you probably should not trust them to speak into your life. Would it surprise you to know that William Branham was said to have never once given a false prophesy? We know how that ended. Some people were so duped that they believed God would raise him from the dead after he died. Derek Prince in his book, “Protection from Deception” described the situation well. But that is the danger. Warning sign after warning sign and they are overlooked one by one. Before it is over with a person has to totally rearrange their belief system to accommodate the person. The attitude becomes, “If they make mean spirited comments? No problem. Kick a woman in the face with your biker boot? No problem”. And to think that well intentioned Christians divide over whether these type people are legit. It is a simple thing to say, but if you have to abandon your common sense when you come to the meeting, that is usually a good sign something is amiss. Better to obey God and discern rightly in these things than it is to become a statistic.

What about the sweetness?

One of the first signs towards Jesus Christ was that the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descended upon Him. The Holy Spirit was at His ear. And when the Holy Spirit is truly at work there will be a holy sweetness to His ministry; the fruit of love, joy and peace will permeate all that He does. Christ-likeness will be manifest. But are these the criteria in our times? When was the last time you heard of a meeting being promoted on the basis of the love, joy and peace that is manifest in the meeting? When was the last time you heard a testimony, “Oh, how they love one another!” as in the book of Acts? I said in the beginning; “There is a spirit that when manifest dispels the sweetness of the Holy Spirit and leaves in its wake confusion and division.” It is the spirit that sought to infiltrate the Disciples and Jesus rebuked. Something is wrong when the “spirit” we are of does not promote the unity of the Brethren. If discord and confusion are the fruit, we know God is not the author. Selah. 



 
  

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