THE PRINCIPAL THING 1
by Sade Akanni
“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom; and with all thy getting, get understanding.” (Prov. 4:7)
Man has a natural tendency to be wise in his own eyes; doing what seems right in his own eyes. Even when he gets someone to counsel him against taking a wrong step, he often finds it difficult to change because that step seems right in his eyes. He only suddenly discovers at the end that he has been a fool, after paying a costly price.
What is wisdom? What does it mean to be wise? From dictionary meaning and Biblical description, it has something to do with having or showing experience, knowledge, good judgment, prudence etc; having or manifesting knowledge guided by understanding. It involves acting only after careful thought or planning. It involves doing the right thing in the right way at the right time and for the right purpose. A wise man does not act hastily without a fore-thought; he first ponders over his path before taking any step.
“Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.” (Prov. 4:26KJV).
“Plan carefully what you do, and whatever you do will turn out right” (Prov. 4:26 GNB).
It is often a painful experience to expend energy, time, God-given opportunities and money over a matter, only to discover that it is all wasted on doing the wrong thing. Yet we find ourselves trapped in this painful situation sometimes: painful because the energy we have expended is costly, time for us is limited, God-given opportunities are rare to come by and even money is not easy to find. For us Christians, wisdom demands that we ponder the path of our feet before taking any step in life, whether little or big. God expects us not to be foolish but to find out each time what the Lord wants us to do (Eph. 5:17). Knowing what is the right thing to do is a very important part of decision making. Every Christian desire always to do what is right in God’s sight. But there is no way to arrive at such a thing unless you acknowledge God in all your ways. It is sad that many (Christians) seek God’s face and bombard the heavens wit cries only when there is a big decision to make or a big problem confronting them. For example, they pray zealously only when they need a job or a marriage partner or there is a political post to contest. It is then that their faces are frequently seen in heaven. Once they receive a leading or an answer to their cry, they become “scarce commodities” again at the throne of grace. Decisions over matters considered to be small are often taken by natural senses (or what is called common senses) not knowing that our natural sense has been corrupted by the disobedience of the first man in eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Worse still, there are those who always desire to have their own way in doing what they want, only to ask God to place a stamp of approval on it. No wonder such people often make mistakes and God is not pleased with their lives. Such was the mistake made by Samson in choosing a marriage partner. He insisted on having his own way contrary to God’s will and despite his parents’ counsel. He did the wrong thing and acted foolishly and eventually wasted his life and the divine opportunities given to him by God to deliver his people from the hands of the Philistines. Finding out from the Lord what He would have you do and the steps He would have you take over every situation is surely for your good. And that is wisdom. It will save you a lot of troubles and headaches, and God will be glorified.
Not only must we seek to know the right thing to do, but also to know the right way to do it. There could be many ways to do a particular thing, but there is also the right way to do it.
“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Prov. 14:12
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he that harkeneth unto counsel is wise” Prov. 12:15
“It is not given to a man to direct his own steps” (Jer. 10:23)
If any man insists on doing things his own way, he will surely end up in the ways of destruction. If the right thing is done the wrong way, everything becomes wrong altogether. This places on us a serious responsibility as Christians who desire not to waste our lives. We must not only find out from the Lord what to do, we must also find out how to do it. Should the Lord show you His will over your life, what He wants you to accomplish in your lifetime, you must be wise enough to still wait on Him to teach you and show you the way to do it.
I will instruct and teach thee the way in which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye” Ps. 32:8
God has made provision to teach us the right way to do whatever He asks us to do. It will not be wise for you to do in your own way, that right thing He wants you to do. He has His own way of doing things. Just as you received from the Lord a leading concerning the right thing to do, you must also ask him to show you how to do it the right way. Jesus came into this world to save sinners and receive the kingdom of this world back from the hands of the devil. That was the will of God for His life. There are many ways to achieve this, whether crooked or straight, but there is God’s own way to achieve it justly and righteously. Satan presented to Jesus in the wilderness a way to get back the Kingdom by bowing down to him (Satan). If Jesus did this, He may have seemed to have achieved God’s purpose, but that would have meant His being forever subject to the devil, God’s purpose eventually would not have been achieved and God would not have been glorified. The other way was for Jesus to come by power as God and seize the kingdom from Satan; but that would have been contrary to God’s righteous demand for justice. Even Satan could have accused God of injustice since it was man that yielded the kingdom unto him. God’s own way unto carrying out that assignment was through suffering and death, even the death on the cross since the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). To man, this is foolishness, but to God, that is wisdom and the way to glory. God’s will must be done in God’ way in order to achieve God’s purpose and glorify His name. As we seek His face and God mercifully reveals His will to us, we must do it God’s way. We must not end in the flesh what we started in the spirit and so be counted foolish.
Again, there is time for everything. There is the right time set by God for the fulfilment of every right thing.
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” Eccl. 3:1
It was the will of God to give Abraham a son and God gave him the promise. But that son (Isaac) was not born until the time set by God came. “For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God and spoken to him” (Gen. 21:2). When the right time came, even though Sarah seemed too old to conceive God quickened her dead womb and body in order to cause Isaac to be born at the set time. Again, God made a promise right from the beginning concerning the ‘seed’ of the woman that will come and bruise the head of the Serpent as soon as sin came into the world. But that promise did not come to pass until the right time for it came. It was then the Lord Jesus came into the world.
When God makes a promise there is a specific time for it to be fulfilled. Every purpose of God has a time of fulfilment attached to it. It is possible for someone to do the right thing in the right way but at the wrong time, thus making the whole thing wrong.
God in His wisdom normally arranges situations to become favourable for His purpose to be accomplished when the time for it comes. Before that time, things may look hard and impossible, but at the right time, it does not cost God anything to change situations and cause His will to come to pass.
When the time for Jesus to be born drew near, the parent were still living in Nazareth even though the will of God was that He should be born in Bethlehem. But when the time came, God caused Caesar Augustus to make a decree that all the world should be registered in their own cities and villages of origin. That was what made Joseph to travel with Mary to Bethlehem his hometown, and there, Jesus was born. God disturbed the whole world of that time, just for His purpose to come to pass at the right time and in the right place. When the time has not yet come for God to do anything, it will be wise for your to be praying yet and waiting. But when the time comes, God will make all things work beautifully together for His purpose to come to pass.
Has God spoken to you about a particular thing He wants to do in or through your life? Are you waiting on God for the fruit of the womb as He has promised? Are you seeking God’s face for an outburst of God’s call on your life? Wisdom demands that you should know that there is a time appointed for it and prayerfully wait and prepare for it. God will not delay for a minute. Some people missed their times of visitation from God and up till now they are still struggling to get another opportunity. Jesus lamented with tears over Jerusalem in Lk. 19:42-44 saying.
“If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the thing which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hidden from thy eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee and compass thee round, and keep thee on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another, because thou knowest not the time of thy visitation.” Who hid the time of their visitation from their eyes? Definitely not God. It was the god of this world, the devil who delights in blinding people’s minds so that they would not see. (2 Cor. 4:4). As Israel missed it that time, many are still waiting for another time of visitation today. We must be wise enough to discern the signs of the times. We must seek the face of the Lord in order to know the time He has attached to each purpose of His in our lives.
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