Yesterday a friend called me “wise.” I had to laugh. Partly because when I was a kid, my dad would tease me, calling me a little “wisenheimer”, which means something like “smartypants”. Since my dad was a Marine, he would have defined wisenheimer using the more graphic version of “smartypants”, as in “smart- – -.” Yep. That was my dad. Whether he was teaching Sunday school, or being a “jarhead”, or later when he was a parole officer, my dad was always the same guy everywhere he went. Ahem. Still is…
Growing up in Staten Island, New York, my dad was a baby, when his own father died. His mom didn’t take it well. His life was tough. My father’s father, this is the Ellis side of the family, he had been Jewish. So Daddy still had some contact with his Jewish side of the family. He has a great ear for accents too, so with his family history and a great memory for detail, my daddy (who has a bit of a southern drawl nowadays) can put on a very credible Yiddish accent. And he combines this talent with a litany of Yiddish expressions that he got from “the Ellis side” of the family, which all makes for some very good entertainment.
When Dad calls me a “wisenheimer” it is with the German pronunciation of the “v” for the “w”. It sounds like this: “vy-zen-hi-mah.” That is probably what he would call me, if I told him someone had called me “wise”. That, or that I am a “chip off the old blockhead” as you can well imagine, he’s got a million of them, all said with a twinkle in his eye. At almost 70, that man is still full of mischief. Full. Of. It.
I also had to laugh at myself, being called “wise” yesterday, because I realized about a month or two ago that:
Our amazing Pastor, Josh Hahne, explained that Wisdom is “God’s Word, at work in His World” (I’ll never forget that). So wisdom must come then, from a combination of experience in AND observation of, the World PLUS the understanding AND application of God’s Word. The understanding of the Word is given by the Holy Spirit. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you (John 14:26).
Every year, April begins with April Fool’s Day. I thought it would be appropriate to spend a little time on Wisdom this month. This year I am looking intently into Integrity. One aspect of Integrity is right living or righteousness. God has determined what is right and what is wrong; He has written it in His Word and He has written it on the hearts of everyone, both Christian and non-Christian:
- For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse the (Romans 2:14-15).
- For by a single offering [Jesus] has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” then he adds,“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin (Hebrews 10:14-18).
So here I sit, forgiven, with God’s Word written all over my heart. Why should I live in foolishness? God showed me that all this time I have been so hard headed that I had to learn about how to live rightly, by doing it wrong first. Tomorrow I will tell you what that has meant in my life and what I am doing about it now.