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Jim Killebrew has 40 years of clinical psychological work for people with intellectual disabilities, and experience teaching, administration, consulting, writing with multiple publications. Dr. Killebrew has attended four Universities and received advanced degrees. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D., Educational Psychology; University of Illinois at Springfield, Counseling Education; M.A., Human Development Counseling; Northeastern Oklahoma State University, B.A., Psychology and Sociology. Dr. Killebrew attended Lincoln Christian Seminary (Now Lincoln Christian University). Writing contributions have been accepted and published in several journals: Hospital & Community Psychiatry, The Lookout, and Christian Standard (multiple articles). He may be reached at Killebrewjb@aol.com.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Beginning of wisdom

Solomon wrote in his Proverbs,

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7) (KJV)

God is the one to be feared, but not necessarily in a sense of pulling back away from, but more a reverent approach of awe and respect with an aim toward worship. In the Christian life one senses the majesty and awesomeness of a Creator God and that Christian places everything else in a secondary position. From within that fear is the foundation of hearing from God what His will is for the Christian life. Christian living, then, is undergirded with God as the foundation and the starting point for gaining wisdom.

As Christian living begins to surround the individual through God's Spirit, the Christian begins to want to turn away from evil and avoid those things that are known to be displeasing to God. Yielding to God's message, the Christian steps onto the path of being led into righteousness through the power of God. This is not a work the Christian performs in order to gain some special favor with God, but rather a continual yielding to God's power in His Spirit that moves the Christian from a mere "head" knowledge to a "moral" knowledge.

Moral knowledge is an experiential knowledge that is produced in the Christian from the leading of God's Spirit. It enables the Christian to meld into practical Christian living experiences that reflect the Spirit of God. Again, this is not a "work" in which the Christian engages, of which he could boast, but a gift from God bound in the work of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross through the shedding of His blood, and the subsequent work of the Holy Spirit that dwells within the heart of the Christian. It is a gift of God by taking the Christian's hand and walking with him as he embarks on the journey of obtaining Wisdom.

Solomon wrote in such a way as to contrast two thoughts; the antithetical parallelism in verse 7 contrasts the one who is beginning the journey on the path to obtain Wisdom to the one who lives life in a completely opposite way. Solomon referred to that person as a fool.

That is a person who claims that Christian living is a weakness, a crutch needed by the Christian in order to make it in life. The fool's wisdom is to depend entirely on "self" to be the god of his life. What he desires is the important thing in life, and he defines what is most important; nothing can compare to his acquiring the best for himself. This is seen in the American culture as the constant quest for "things" and happiness. The seeking of self-pleasure consumes the individual constantly seeking newer, bigger, better, most advanced things that ends with a comparison of his life being, "He who has the most wins." A competitive tendency grows to the natural order of getting ahead no matter who gets in the way of personal success.

This lifestyle fails to view moral knowledge as important and engages in thoughts and activities that negate wisdom in the moral sense. As the verse states, it is wisdom and instruction that fools despise.

For the Christian to receive instruction in the Word of God and set his foot on the pathway to moral knowledge, and then turn from that instruction is to join the ranks of the fools. Christian living is to acknowledge God's Word, listen to the instruction of God's Word and yield to the Spirit of God to continue in His presence and have God write the instructions of Christian living on the Christian's heart.

Solomon began his writings by saying the Proverbs had a purpose. That purpose was to,

"Know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding." (Proverbs 1:2) (KJV)

Discernment is to learn by instruction the ability to know the moral truth and acquire the skill to distinguish between the truth and something else that is not the truth. It is the acquisition of a skill that is given to the Christian the ability to understand Wisdom. As the Christian becomes immersed in the Word of God through the gift of the Holy Spirit, through his personal faith in Christ, the power of the Spirit energizes the Christian to continue seeking the righteousness of God. The Christian lives and works then to do righteous acts, not to be saved, but because he is saved. Christian living is a gift from God, with all glory going to Him.

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