ESN Devotions: Wisdom Series

Bible, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=54154 (retrieved March 22, 2014). Original source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zanthia/2994131163/.

Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, 200 chiefs, and all their kinsmen under their command (I Chronicles 12:32, ESV).

Biblical wisdom in a university or higher education context, or any context for that matter, is the God-given, Spirit-infused ability to apply God’s Word in a variety of ways to a multitude of situations and people. This application has many facets. I am choosing five (5) of them for this series of devotionals:

  • discernment
  • convergence
  • applicability
  • “in-spite-of” wisdom
  • timing.

Today the issue is discernment. One of the major biblical applications flowing from the theology of Romans 1-12 is the admonition to discern – “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom. 12:2) Wisdom for daily living and interacting in an academic environment comes from discerning the times and the will of God for those times.

Discerning the “times.” David’s key leaders were people who understood their times. They knew the context in which they lived and led. Instead of wishing for the past times, the “good old days,” and instead of anxiously hoping for better future times, they were fully engaged in the times God had placed them. This is the first rule of discernment – to accept where God has placed me and to operate fully and completely in those times. Rather than complain or passively hope for better times, we give ourselves to really knowing what we are dealing with now, and how God’s Word and truth apply now. Discernment for the here and now requires active seeing, hearing, learning and interacting with people, subjects and circumstances now. Psalm 119:105 tells us that God’s Word is a “lamp for my feet,” in other words, God gives us enough light to see the path right ahead of us and no more until we get there.

Lord, help me see, hear and interact with today, with the here-and-now of my life. Keep me from pining for he past or passively hoping for a better future. Give me strength and discernment to interact with my present and trust You for my future.

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Carl Shank

A Christ-follower and mentor of leaders and churches whose life plan is to make an eternal difference in lives for Jesus Christ. Carl currently serves as the Executive Pastor of Cross Roads Brethren in Christ Church (Mount Joy, PA), President of Carl Shank Consulting, and as a Board Member of the Mount Joy Chamber of Commerce. B. S. in Mathematics from Dickinson College. M. Div. and Th. M. from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia Campus). Carl's insights have been a great encouragement to Thomas B. Grosh IV, Associate Director, Emerging Scholars Network. To God be the glory!

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