It seems that the whole world in incensed and offended these days. We see all that is insulting and rude, all that is vile and insensitive, and everywhere you turn you hear about how this thing or that is wrong. But the truth is this: It’s not what others say or do that really sets us off, but how we perceive what they say and do, what we think about it.
One thing I know about humans is that we are seekers. We are continually searching, for a good deal, a new idea, a better way, or for something more. We can’t help it, it’s in our nature, it’s how God created us. And something else I know, whether we realize it or not, we ALWAYS find what we looking for. So my question is this: What do you seek, and more importantly, what do you find?
We are told in Matthew 7:7 to “seek and you will find,” but I don’t think we really take the time to understand what is meant by this. We think it means that if we seek God, we will find Him, and this is certainly true, but it’s more complex than this, more intricate. When we are told to “seek and you will find,” we are being tutored in a school of thought, which encompasses an entire universe of possibilities and what we make of them. It is both an instruction and an admonition, and the surest way to know just what it is we are seeking is to examine what we find. It’s an instruction, because it tells us that to be happy, we must seek, and it’s a warning, because it tells us that we must be mindful of what we look for in others and the world around us, how we perceive the events of our life. You see, what we seek is evidenced by what we find, and what we tell others we have found, also tells them what we have sought. If we find discord and strife, hatred and racism, disrespect and inconsideration, we have been seeking it, and likewise, if we find joy and delight, honor and integrity, love and compassion, these are the things we have also sought.
It’s all about a mind-set, a way of looking at the world, a pattern of behavior, and how that mind-set affects our relationships. To get along in this world, to live a long and fruitful life, we must first understand what it means to be wise. Wisdom is not an innate part of our being; it is something that must be sought after. We are not born with it, we must acquire it. It is not something we find on the beach, at the mall, or hidden in our grandmother’s closet. It’s the result of quiet contemplation, of seeking the inner voice of God in our hearts and applying his spiritual guidance to the every-day situations in our lives. It is only through our passionate attention to the voice of wisdom that we can understand what is true and right, that we can recognize wickedness and therefore avoid it, setting our feet in the opposite direction from it.
Jealousy, anger, greed, envy, pride, all consuming lust for anything, these are the precursors to wickedness and evil. When we are ruled by this way of thinking, it is so easy to get sucked into doing the wrong thing, especially if we cannot recognize what is happening to us. We hang out with nefarious characters, who care little or nothing about much else than themselves, we go along with popular trends, we participate in troublesome activities, and we willfully reject what we know to be honest. Evil is like a contagious disease, it infects all that it comes in contact with, and spreads easily. The only way we have to guard ourselves from its effects is to live according to God’s wisdom.
To be wise, we must search for the light; we must carry it in our hearts and hold it high for the sake of others. We must keep it as we would keep a precious and valuable jewel, lest we lose it and be adrift in the dark, getting tossed on every wave that crashes toward us, pushing us closer and closer toward the desolate shores of misery. Wisdom is the light that shines in the darkness, illuminating our way, showing us where to step, guiding us out of the shadows, and into the clear, calm land of spiritual fulfillment.