Heavenly wisdom IS practical wisdom

It’s popular to say that someone is too heavenly minded to be any earthly good. While I understand the point, nothing could be further from the truth. It’s usually only people who are almost never heavenly-minded that would say such a thing. It’s more accurate to say you’re no earthly good until you’re heavenly minded.

Our default thinking is in earthbound wisdom—that which comes from what we’ve been taught, by our own intelligence, and by what we perceive in the physical realm. Not that this is necessarily bad. The problem is, we’re thinking way too small…like “mere humans” (1 Cor.3:3). If we want to be any good in the things that matter most, we’re going to have to learn how to think in a new way. Our minds must be placed on God’s potter’s wheel, to be re-formed and renewed, so we can prove to the world that His desire for everyone is good…even perfect.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Rom.12:2 NKJV*)

Paul tells us this over-the-top heavenly wisdom we have access to is practical.

This superabundant grace is already powerfully working in us, releasing within us all forms of wisdom and practical understanding. (Eph.1:8 TPT*)

I used the Passion Translation because it brings out the original meaning the best. The NASB renders the verse as follows: which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight.”

In case you don’t believe me, notice the three highlighted words and their meaning in the original Greek:

Lavished: περισσεύω (perisseuō): to be over and above, even superfluous, to exist in full quantity, to abound, be abundant; to increase, be augmented; to be advanced…of persons, to be abundantly gifted, richly furnished, abound…. (Mounce)

Wisdom: σοφία (sophia): general knowledge, practical wisdom, learning, science, insight, revealed wisdom…. (Mounce)

Insight: φρόνησις (phronēsis): a thoughtful frame, sense, rightmindedness, intelligence…. (Mounce)

Paul tells us this abounding, over-the-top wisdom, intelligence, insight, and rightmindedness is latent within us right now. In other words, we have access to more than we will ever need–24/7, 365 days a year. The truth is, we don’t even have a mental grid for all that He wants to give us.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us (Eph.3:20 NIV*)

So, the obvious question is, why isn’t God’s immeasurable intent being realized in our everyday experience? First, we must renew our minds in order to build a framework to contain it. But it’s also because we don’t really believe it, so we don’t even ask. We put what God can do in a “box” and, thus, limit His working in our lives. This was the same problem Israel had in the wilderness (see Psalm 78:41).

Here’s what James said about it:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. (James 1:5-8 NIV*)

But then James also tells us that we may have wrong motives for what we want:

When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:3 NIV*)

Think of it this way. God’s relationship to us is like that of a Father to a son or daughter. In fact, He’s a perfect Father. And any good father will never give his children things they may ask for that aren’t good for them. Like a young child, we may not understand His reason at the time, but we learn to trust Him, knowing He always has our highest good in mind. As we grow in the Lord, we may come to understand why we asked amiss when we were more immature.

However, I believe the biggest problem is with our mindset. Because of our dualistic thinking, we generally don’t see spiritual wisdom as being useful for practical, everyday things on earth. As I’ve said many times before, we’ve separated the spiritual (sacred) and practical (secular) when no such separation exists. It’s no more than a persistent illusion that limits our thinking.

As I shared in my post, “Light and the Darkness,” God reveals that Jesus is the source of light (unveiling, truth, reality). He came into the world to unveil the truth about God, about us, and about the world around us. And we have full access to this light because He placed us in Himself.

I wonder what would happen if we applied this immeasurable wisdom and insight, not only to our personal lives, but in our jobs, research, education, science, medicine, government…? What if God had practical insights waiting for us that totally revolutionized how we live, and advanced our culture in ways that solved some the greatest problems we face as human beings?

And just so you know, I’m not talking about being religious.

What if we decided not to stay stuck in our limited minds and sought out God’s infinite mind instead?  What if we were no longer shackled to what we can know because we’ve learned how to receive what God knows? (See John 16:12-15). What if we did this just like we do when we go about learning anything else? Just a thought….

* All emphasis added.

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 41 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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2 Responses to Heavenly wisdom IS practical wisdom

  1. Very cool, Mel! For the record, I have heard that phrase many times, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone, “too heavenly minded to do any earthy good?” Not saying they don’t exist, just that I’ve never seen it. When people are actually heavenly minded, they are going to be all about doing earthly good.

    I really liked your question, “So, the obvious question is, why isn’t God’s immeasurable intent being realized in our everyday experience?” Our faith really is simple, it is so practical, and it is so fruitful, but we do tend to try complicate everything, and than there are these deceptions and lies we have swallowed. The biggest struggle I see is that so many of us have trouble accepting, embracing the fact that God is good.

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