The Roles We Play in Life and The Wisdom We Need to Succeed at Them

The Roles We Play in Life and The Wisdom We Need to Succeed at Them March 11, 2019

What roles do you have in life? Are you a husband or a wife or a child or a parent? Be honest with yourself and answer these questions: Could you use some help understanding your roles? Have your relationships suffered because of your unwise choices?  If you answered yes to these last two questions, then you need to learn how to live a godly life. However, let me tell you today that in order to live a godly, fulfilling life,we need wisdom! Therefore I want to kick off this seven part series by first talking about how to have wisdom for Life.

‘Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, ‘ Ephesians 5:15

An Introduction to Wisdom

In this series we are going to look at the roles given in Ephesians 5:22-6:9. We will talk about how we can be living wisely in the role of Husband, Child, Parent, And in our Work relationships. But first, in the verses leading up to this passage talking about our roles, Paul talks about being children of the light and he gives practical advice to show us how we can have better relationships with people, whatever role we find ourselves in.

He talks of the things that come out of our mouth. It’s the things that we say to others that vitally affect every relationship we have with other people. If the things we say tear people down, our relationships will be hindered and we will have difficulties in the roles that God has us in. If the things we say are positive and used for helping others, then our relationships will be beneficial no matter what role we are in.

He also tells us to get rid of bitterness, rage and anger from our lives. These things will harm our relationships as well. So, after giving these helpful hints, he says this:

Ephesians 5:15-21

15 Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Paul starts by telling us to be wise. He tells us to be wise first and then goes on to tell us how to treat each other. You know, it takes great wisdom to live well in whatever role God has placed us in. Whatever hats you wear, you will need wisdom.

I don’t pretend to be someone who has achieved great wisdom. I am still learning, just like you. But I have learned a few things. For example, to be wise, we must understand what wisdom is. And to know what wisdom is, we need to point out what wisdom is not.

Wisdom is not Knowledge or Age or Wealth

We get confused sometimes. We see someone with a lot of knowledge or that has lived a lot of years or has a lot of money and we think they must be wise. Now while it is possible that they could be wise, those things don’t necessarily imply it.

Each one of you probably know someone who had a lot of book smarts, or was older or was rich, who made some foolish choices. If we stopped and thought for a moment, we could probably come up with quite few people who had a lot of money and then lost it all in foolish endeavors. Money does not make a person wise nor does knowledge or age, though these things sometimes accompany wisdom.

Therefore, if wisdom is not those things, what is it? Wisdom is the ability to discern what is true, right, or lasting, and act accordingly. It’s the opposite of foolishness. Discerning the right way and then going that way. That is what wisdom is. Wisdom involves acting on right knowledge. One of the greatest resources for practical, wise living is the book of proverbs. The book of proverbs tells us its purpose at the very outset.

Proverbs 1:1-3

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

2 for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight;

3 for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair;

That is what we should want, to attain wisdom for life. And the book of proverbs is a great place to start. Therefore, let us see from proverbs how we might learn to be wise so that as we begin to look at our individual roles, we would seek true wisdom from God and not trust in the ways the world tells us how to live in those roles.

Value of Wisdom

First, to become wise for life, we need to understand the Value of Wisdom. How valuable is wisdom and what are you willing to do to obtain it?

Proverbs 3:13-16

13 Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding,

14 for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.

15 She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.

16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.

(from New International Version)

When we value something, we pursue it. If you value wisdom, and understand its value, then you will pursue attaining it. We need to understand the value of it in our life.

Now I don’t want you to think that attaining wisdom is like going down to the store and buying it or scratching off lottery ticket and winning it. It does not come that quickly or easily.

Retirement Saving

Being wise for life is like putting $10 a month into a mutual fund from the time you start working. By the time you retire you will have a tidy nest egg. Using that same $10 to buy lottery tickets will get you nothing by the time you retire.

Wisdom is valuable for the long term. Its payoff is not instant, but it is substantial. So now let’s take a quick look at 3 Life-Saving Tips About WISDOM that will (with God’s help) transform your life and help you live your God-given roles successfully!

1. The Fear of The Lord

To Gain wisdom for life you need to Have a Healthy Fear of the Lord:

Proverbs 9:10

10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

(from New International Version)

It says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom. Until we have a proper and healthy fear of the Lord, it will be impossible for us to be wise because true wisdom is only found in the Lord.

So, should we be afraid of God?

We should not have a fear that He is going to strike us down if we do something wrong, but we should have a reverence for Him knowing that He has the power to judge our thoughts and actions and that we will face Him one day with our whole life laid before Him.

That alone should provide a healthy fear for us. But that fear is a good thing for us. It helps us do the right thing when we know we have to answer for our actions.

After the Giving of the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20, it says this

Exodus 20:18-20

18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance

19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”

20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”

(from New International Version)

We need to have a healthy fear of the Lord if we are going to be wise in living our life and not let sin draw us into bondage. So we need to understand the value of wisdom and see that wisdom begins with having a healthy fear of the Lord. Now I ask, how can we grow and gain more wisdom? Well, we need to Seek the Counsel of the Wise

2. Seek the Counsel of the Wise

Proverbs 13:20

20 He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. (from New International Version)

When we were younger, (and probably some of you kids think this now of your parents) we wondered how our parents could have made it to the age they were and not understand how life worked and all.

We thought, they didn’t know what it was like to be young and to have friends or what it was like to be in school and have to deal with peer pressure. There were so many things that they gave bad advice on. Until we got out of school and saw that the advice they gave us was really pretty good after all. We need to learn from those experiences in life.

Many times the wisest thing to do is not always the easiest. And a wise person is not always going to tell us the easiest thing to do, but the wisest thing to do.

Hang Out With Wise People

We need to surround ourselves with wise people, people who have walked with the Lord and have seen the consequences of sin in their lives and others and can help us to avoid those consequences by living life in accord with God’s word.

This means we need to ask ourselves some hard questions about our relationships with people sometimes. Is who we are hanging out with or talking to or receiving counsel from, helping us in our walk with the Lord or are they pulling us away from the Lord and what His word tells us?

Is the person giving us counsel telling us just what we want to hear or giving us the easy answer, or are they giving the best and wisest advice for our life?

Proverbs 19:20

20 Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.

(from New International Version)

We need to seek out and listen to and accept the advice of the wise people whom God has placed in our lives so that we too will be wise. Finally, the last ingredient for being wise is that we need to Learn to be humble.

Learn to be Humble in Life

Proverbs 11:2

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

(from New International Version)

Learning to be humble does not mean you think less of yourself than what God has made you to be. As Rick Warren has said, It just means you think of yourself less. Now you don’t want to learn humility from the guy who wrote the book “Humility: How I attained it.” Or from the book “the 10 most humble men in the world and how I chose the other nine”

No, humility is learned by standing tall against the true awesomeness of God and His incredible creation and seeing ourselves as God sees us, as we truly are. We don’t have to make ourselves smaller than we are to be humble.

We can stand as tall as God has made us with as many gifts He has given us, and if we compare ourselves to God and His awesomeness and His creation, we will be plenty small in comparison, no matter how tall we stand.

When we have a proper perspective of ourselves, that is when we can be truly wise and be used to accomplish great things.

Donkey into Jerusalem

When Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem, the people were laying their coats on the ground before him, but it was not the donkey they honored, but the One on the donkey’s back, Jesus the King.

When we are honored to be used by the Lord, humility will help us to recognize that it is not us who is doing the great thing being accomplished but the One who so graciously died in our place and made our heart His home.

When we come to the point of understanding rightly who we are, then we can be humble enough and gain wisdom enough to know that we need to follow after the One who is truly wise.

That is when we will find that we can live wisely in whatever role that God has for us, in a way that brings fulfillment into our own lives.

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