Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Love Wisdom-Hate Sin

Love Wisdom-Hate Sin
Thoughts on Proverbs 8

Loving God means loving wisdom. In the language of Proverbs 8, it appears that loving God is loving wisdom. Wisdom is there personified and is spoken of as pre-existing creation itself. Wisdom is either the Spirit hovering over the waters or the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God, speaking creation into existence. Of course, we know that all three persons of the Trinity conspired together to create.

Prov 8:25-31 25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: 26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. We see the crowning achievement of God’s creation in the creation of man. Wisdom delights in man. 8:31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.

We must learn to love wisdom so that we can love God. God delights in us. Let us delight in Him. Many of us learn to love some aspects of God’s good gifts. We like to sing Psalms. Prayer gives us peace. Gathering on the Lord’s Day brings us into fellowship with people that we enjoy being around. These are all grand and we should continue in them. This is wisdom. But we must also learn to hate what God hates. Loving wisdom mean hating evil (v.13).

For many, the pull of sin is very strong. Temptations are strong because the sins that are their end are not seen as hated and despised enemies, but rather as dear, but banished friends. The longing for forbidden fruit is something that we must learn to hate. This takes discipline, concentration, meditation, saturation in the Word of God, and prayer. This is clearly a spiritual battle and we need God’s Holy Spirit in order to wage this war successfully.

Given this truth, I want to also encourage you in a simple way of thinking about these temptations. We must just use our heads, get out of the moment and be a little bit objective. I know, temptations are not very objective but stay with me for a minute. When you are tempted, you think before you sin. I know it sometimes feels as if you don’t but you do. At that point of decision is when you need to get objective. Stand back. Imagine yourself contemplating the situation. You may also want to imagine yourself thinking through this temptation with Jesus standing by your side helping you, because, in reality, He is.

You need to understand that the only thing that is going to make you truly unhappy in this world is sin. When you sin, you do damage to your conscience. This produces guilt and shame. This guilt and shame causes you to shrink from God’s presence. Confession and repentance are needed to close this gap of distance between you and God but the fact of the guilt and shame makes this difficult to do.

In addition to this shame before God are all the other consequences of your sin. The sin may only be for a moment but the consequences have a long shelf life. What will this sin do to your relationship with God? With your spouse? With your children? With your friend? With your employer? If it is a secret sin, you must expect it will go public sooner or later, because it most certainly will. At least, I am praying that it does. If it goes public, will I lose my position in the church? Will I get fired? Will my spouse divorce me? Will my children be ashamed of me? Will the church discipline me? Will I be viewed as a hypocrite? Will my Christian growth be stunted? How can I think it is a secret sin and still be a faithful Christian? Is it secret from God?

Okay, you are in the moment of temptation. Now, let these thoughts all run through your mind, all in about one second. You can think quickly. Do it. Be wise. Choose to walk in the Spirit. Hate such sins that would do such damage to you. Hate these sins and every evil way for they separate you from God and men, which is contrary to your calling as a Christian. Hate sin. Love wisdom. Love the Spirit. Love the Son. Love the Father. As we love God, our hatred of sin should increase. And as our hatred of sin increases, our delight in God will grow. We will then be strengthened to obey God and resist the temptations that so easily entangle us.