In The Serenity Prayercolumn each month we are studying this well-known prayer phrase by phrase and applying it to our life today. These columns will be published the first Friday of each month in 2019.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
wisdom:knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgement as to action, discernment or insight; knowing what is right and doing it.
Feelings are our worst enemy.
When we come to the decision point described in The Serenity Prayer asking to know the difference between things we can change and the things we can’t change; often our emotions blur the process. Our feelings often keep us attached to people, things and behaviors long after we should’ve let them go.
Where can we get the wisdom that we need?
Scripture tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. (Proverbs 9:10) So if we start by having a holy reverence for God we’ve made a good first step. James tells us that if we need wisdom to ask for it. (James 1:5) It seems pretty basic and simple. Our biggest challenge is to put aside our pride and ask!
How do we know we have wisdom?
There are several characteristics of wisdom we can look for in our life.
…the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. ~ James 3:17
Let peace be the ruler of your heart.
When we’re at a decision crossroad, we can filter our process through the character qualities James teaches us. We can be gentle, showing no favoritism, yielding to others when necessary. Walking in mercy, compassion and sincerity we can prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us with the peace ruling our hearts.
When in doubt do without.
For many years this has been my life motto. When shopping for groceries, buying a car, or taking next steps with important decisions… I stop and check the peace in my gut. If I don’t have a peace I won’t go forward. If there is any doubt at all, I will wait. It’s better to wait than to rush and make what could be a costly mistake.
The Spirit of Wisdom.
As Christians we have within us the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit that created all things is available to guide and direct us in our daily lives as we follow the peace.
As you listen to this beautiful worship song, take a few moments and prayerfully meditate on God’s wisdom and grace that is available to you for the asking.
In the Living Life Lessons columneach month I’m sharing various lessons God has taught me over these last eight years. Today I want to talk about living effective lives.
Whether we recognize it or not our lives effect others. If we want to have a healthy effect on our circle of influence we need to take care how we live.
Our strategy for effective living begins with SEEKING WISDOM. Some of us were fortunate to have parents that taught us right from wrong, others maybe not. So where can we find wisdom? The Bible says that wisdom comes from fearing God. This isn’t the trembling-in-your-boots kind of fear, but rather a reverential fear–appreciating God for who He is. The second requirement in our strategy for effective living is MORAL APPLICATION. Once we have reverential fear we begin trusting in God. By allowing His Word to speak to us personally we come to place of obedience. Our heart lines up with what Scripture says, our spirit is convicted by the Holy Spirit and that makes us ready for changed actions. The third requirement for effective living is PRACTICAL APPLICATION. Our hearts have been softened by God’s Word, we’ve sought His wisdom and have begun to obey in our actions. These are often challenges to our daily lives. For me the only answer is to keep God’s Word close to my heart and mind throughout the day. That may mean carrying a 3×5 Scripture card with me everywhere I go. Results of practicing the above three steps is a healthy, positive and EFFECTIVE LIFE. How do we know? We will begin to actually experience what God does as He honors our obedience. It may not happen right away but we must trust, have faith and expect to see God’s blessing pour out. Just like earthly parents, God loves when His children are obedient and He promises to give us a reward! Over the last few years I’ve been able to put these steps into practice. There have been times when it was easy and other times, like now, were more difficult. Today God has me under His refining fire again, taking me to a higher level, which always means change and a deeper surrender to His will for my life. But as I’m working this process again, I’m going back to what I know works… pulling out my 3×5 cards and relearning some lessons.
My child, listen to me and do as I say and you will have a long, good life. I will teach you wisdom’s ways and lead you in straight paths. If you live a life guided by wisdom, you won’t limp or stumble as you run. Carry out my instructions; don’t forsake them. Guard them, for they will lead you to a fulfilled life. ~ Proverbs 4: 10-12
Do you have a system in place that helps you make needed changes in your life?
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RESOURCES: Life Application Study Bible Life Recovery Bible