The following is an excerpt from Steps: Gospel-Centered Recovery, a 12-session discipleship program formulated at The Village Church’s campuses in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex as part of their on of the church’s ongoing recovery ministry. Learn more about this curriculum and order a copy at lifeway.com/steps.
The Wisdom of God vs. The Wisdom of the World
Rightly understood, all wisdom can be categorized in one of two ways. The Bible defines these sources of wisdom as the wisdom of God and the wisdom of the world (see 1 Cor. 1:20-21). These two sources of wisdom are actually two different worldviews. One worldview exalts God and His glory as utmost; the other elevates man and his concerns. These two viewpoints regard the other as foolish and stand in opposition to each other. Even some Christians have tried to find a middle ground between these two worldviews. Biblical counseling begins from a perspective rooted in the wisdom of God and is oriented around His glory.
The wisdom of God is displayed most clearly in Jesus Christ. All creation exists to bring Him glory. The wisdom of the world reinterprets our experiences and desires in a way that leads us away from God as we orient our lives primarily around ourselves.
The wisdom of the world is limited because it is based in speculation. The wisdom of God is based in revelation. As such, all counsel that group leaders provide should be rooted in the wisdom God has revealed in His Word.
Thus says the LORD: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.'” —Jeremiah 17:5-8
As can be seen in the previous passage, the two responses Jeremiah described lead to radically different lives. One is fruitful, and the other is fruitless. The fruit of a person’s life will reveal their foundation. Those who put their trust in God and His Word are nourished by the living waters of Jesus Christ. Their lives will be characterized by peace and good fruit amid difficult circumstances. Those who trust in man and the world will experience chaos and desolation. Those who seek to counsel biblically will encourage trust and faith in God with the understanding that faithful obedience to the Lord flows from a heart reconciled to Him by faith in Jesus.
Consider your own life. If you’re a group leader, think about interactions with people in your small group or bible study. Is the counsel you seek (and give) the wisdom of God or the wisdom of the world?
The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it?” —Jeremiah 17:9
Excerpted from The Village Church, Steps Bible Study. © 2015 Lifeway Press. Used by permission.