Leon Fontaine - Wisdom Is the Principle Thing
We live in a world where few people think for themselves, and everyone knows it. Edward T. Hall who's a professor of anthropology said, "Man has put himself in his own zoo. He has so simplified his life and stereotyped his responses that he may as well be in a cage". The natural act of like thinking is greatly modified by the culture that we live in. And western man only uses a fraction of his ability to think. Cultural anthropology which is sometimes called social anthropology is the study of human behavior as it is influenced by other people around you and by the culture. And they know just by studying people, that there is this inculturation that takes place right from the womb up.
And popular culture is the most powerful force. It's the most seductive force that is pushing against us. And we've got to understand it if we really want to be people of wisdom. If we really want to be able to be, I'm a freethinker. You know, I listen to people all the time. You know, and you kind of think, "Okay, like you're not a freethinker". Just everything you've just said is so popular culture. It's so been ingrained into you. You don't question it. You don't try to go in any way. You can't be a freethinker. You can't think deeper and do amazing things until you understand the things and popular culture that has pushed against you all your life. We tend to not think. And so people don't like to think. People would prefer to go with the flow because to think and to come to your own conclusions where popular culture is wrong, not only means you have to have the effort of thinking.
But you also are now going to go against the norm. And when you go against the norm, you're like that game at the fair where the moles pop their heads up and you've got to keep it and the mole down and you go, "Bop, bop, bop". And your kids will put in a couple loonies and you grab this big bat and you don't know which hole the mole's going to pop up. Bam, bam, bam, bam. And everybody knows that in popular culture if you are going to be different, if you're going to stick your head up and have a new opinion, or a different opinion. You are immediately attacked. And so cowards continually just go with popular culture. And whether you are Christian or not, you're not going to go anywhere new. You might rise up to some level of leadership. You might rise up to some level of being popular. You might rise up with some level of success where you feel good about yourself but you are not a thinker.
Thomas Merton says, "We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill our deepest capacities of our real selves". That doesn't mean just rise up and go against everything you've been taught. There's probably some brilliant principles depending upon where you were taught. That you need to learn to hang on to but think yourself clear in those principles so you're not just saying, "Well, this is what I am. What are you"? Well, for example, I'm a Christian because I go to church. Yeah, I believe the Bible, not sure what it says but, you know, that's.. No, you just, you should for yourself even as a believer dive into God's Word and check it out so that you can think. Proverbs 16:16, Solomon said, "How much better to get wisdom than gold, and to choose understanding than silver". Solomon continually warns us in the wisdom books of listening to fools, listening to sinners.
A sinner is, the definition of a sinner, just so you know. Sinners go to hell. Okay, you better clarify what you mean by that because in the new covenant, okay? You can sin which means to miss the mark for God's best. So to know to do good and not do it. That's sin. So you're going straight to hell. No. If you are born again, then you are a follower of Christ, then you are continually renewing your mind with the Word because a wicked heart of unbelief. A wicked heart. What's a wicked heart? An axe murderer, a child killer. Well, of course. But it's actually just saying a heart of unbelief . Now, there's a whole bunch of teaching in there because unbelief it's not something you can't stop. These are choices that you're making on this road of life. These are decisions that you are making. The choices you make every day about two thousand of them. Those are determining your future.
Now, Christians who have magical thinking. Just feel like do whatever you want, and just pray for a miracle. I believe in miracles. And if you've been here long enough you know how much I believe in miracles. But I also know that needing a miracle is the lowest level of serving God. And there are three more higher up that are far better once you dive into God's Word. I don't mind needing miracles but I believe that wisdom will help you to need far fewer and the Bible says that. And so everybody here is making decisions all the time. A decision whether to run the amber light when it's too late. A decision on what to read, who to hang out with, where to go for lunch. You're making decisions that seem, you know, just neutral, etcetera. But you're continually making decisions.
So the Word of God begins to teach you and I a development. I'm going to go through some of it. A development that changes you so powerfully that you begin to make correct decisions in almost every case. And this correct making of decisions in how to answer that person, how to speak to that person, how to work on your marriage, how to work on your sex life, how to work on kids, how to work on business. All these decisions. What am I my putting in my head? What am I putting in my heart? What am I listening? It's just stunning. And so the Bible says wisdom is the principle thing. The principle thing. People don't like being wrong. It is hard to be wrong. And so if you are insecure in your identity, in the beliefs of your heart of who you are, then to be wrong is like a slap in the face. Bam! And so people will do anything to be right. They'll make even when they're obviously wrong.
It's so hard to be wrong. They'll begin to make excuses as to why they were pushed into that decision. Who it was that influence them to make that decision. But to just be wrong, outright wrong takes a very mature person. The Bible teaches us in the book of Proverbs that it's a person filled with wisdom who looks and likes it when he's wrong and someone corrects him. Isn't that interesting? But a fool will get upset if you disagree with his opinion. A wise man will listen to you disagree with him and his eyeballs, there's a smile on his face. He wants to know what you think. Isn't that love? Isn't that valuing somebody? When you can listen to them and they're totally disagreeing with how you think and how you look at things. But you're just listening. Why? Because you care more about them than being right. You're so secure in who you are in Christ. That you might be right, right, right, right, right and continually prove that I'm right. I'm smart.
Some people work so hard to try to prove they're smart. It's like the Shakespearean saying, "Thou protesteth too much". And so today my prayer is that I can help you in this area. Just begin to change and begin to accept people who disagree. People who have a different opinion. And you won't feel like you have to fix everybody. Jesus taught us. He said, "Do not try to remove the sliver in your brother's eye". His opinion. What he thinks feels and does, his behavior. When you got a log in your own. He's, all through the Bible, when you begin to look at wisdom and the ability to produce and walk in wisdom. You are going to find how much of the teaching of Jesus in the Old Testament Proverbs and the Pauline epistles as how to get a new kind of wisdom. How much it's dealing with you, so you have the capacity to have a new kind of wisdom. But you can't, as long as you arrogantly hang on to what you believe. People think that manhood is being right and sticking to what you believe.
What if what you believe is so wrong? What if what is stopping you from being and walking in the giftedness in the, in the path God's made for you? It is so beautiful but you need help. You need encouragement. Did you know that almost every answer to prayer is a person that walks into your life. The Egyptians had God's people in bondage and they prayed for deliverance and He sent them Moses. Look at every period of history when they had no country and they were living out in the wilds and living in caves and it was just awful. And armies would come in and just destroy them every time they even got ahead a little bit. And they cried out to God and He sent them Gideon. Look at every Bible story and you're going to find that person is an answer to prayer. Jesus is an answer to prayer all down through history. And even Simeon and Anna who interceded at the temple every day for years, so that the Messiah would come.
I have grown in such awe of the Bible. The Bible is one of the greatest books at giving you mental health. Filled with teachings on mental health, emotional health. Filled with teachings on how to walk out relationships, businesses, arguing, fighting. How to establish countries, how to be a leader that can lead a country with such excellence. All of that is in the Bible. Which is why Judeo-Christian countries who formed themselves on Judeo-Christian laws as their law. That why they have doing so well. None of them are perfect. And why the world from all other countries formed on different legal established beginnings, why they're always trying to get to a country whose legal basis is Judeo-Christian principles because they're so brilliant.
In James 3:14, it says, "And if, and by all means don't brag about being wise and good if you are bitter and jealous and selfish. That is the worst sort of lie. For jealousy and selfishness are not in God's kind of wisdom". It's talking about two kinds of wisdom now. "Such things are earthly, unspiritual, inspired by the devil". We have a dark kingdom, and we have a kingdom of heaven. Kingdom of darkness, kingdom of light. Those are the two spiritual kingdoms on a planet filled with over two hundred natural kingdoms. Now, these spiritual kingdoms are a different dimension, if I could put it that way. And there's an ability for this wisdom to come out of both kingdoms.
Many Bible experts when studying the Old Testament and begin to see how in the world that people know to be this evil. Why did they, you know, and there's children present, but I could go through the Old Testament and show you such sick, disgusting things they did. Their families, their children, themselves, trying to appease a God. And there's no way that God would ever ask that. So it's evil and it's coming in. And then, so it's talking about a wisdom that is earthly, sensual, and spiritual and inspired by the dark side. People often ask me, "Why is this happening? I don't understand why it's happening". And they're looking for a logical reason. But the wisdom that comes out of the dark kingdom is always around pride. Now, pride in its downline and its tributaries is also about selfishness, self-centeredness, self-absorbed, self-promoting, self-grandizing. Pride and self are so wrap together, that whenever you see any kind of selfishness, self-centeredness, etcetera. You are going to have pride.
And pride, Proverb says goes before destruction. Why? Because God looks at you and shoots you for doing it. No, because pride is where you cannot be wrong. You are so insecure and everything's about you. And so what happens is all of your heart beliefs and all of your decisions are all about you. And so you cannot build a life. It's going to collapse. And so pride goes before destruction. If you do not move out of self-centeredness. You do not move out of pride. It says you're going to destroy. What? Marriage, home, health. Everything you get around will be destroyed. Now, it goes on the say in verse 17 of James 3, "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness. Then it is peaceful, loving, courteous. It allows discussion". Isn't that interesting? "And it is willing to yield to others".
You see, your willingness to lead to somebody who has a deeper look at something you believe, or a new look at something you believe is a willingness to submit your mind, your heart. It doesn't mean that the things you know for sure like Jesus is your Lord. That you're just going to, you know, just be opened and say, "Ah, maybe He's not. Let's think about this". No, I'm not saying that. But I'm just saying that there is, the things that you hold as true and even that you are sure of. There are so many levels deeper of learning and growing in it that will affect so many areas of your life. And so there is a wisdom verse 17 says that comes from heaven. It's full of mercy. It's full of good deeds. It is whole-hearted, straightforward, and sincere. If you want to know how to judge any person on leadership, you can use these two verses.
Well, the Bible says don't judge. No, it says don't judge their heart. This will help you judge their actions and what follows leaders. If you're hiring staff for a higher level position, these are the things you would want. Whereas old business style will be dressed for success, tough women get the corner office. Man, and all these teachings on that, you better make a way for yourself because nobody else will. And so they teach you force, but the Bible teaches power, two different things. Force is you manipulating. It is you causing and making a way for yourself. Whereas if you will use the principles of God's Word in your career, etcetera. The Bible teaches you that God promotes. Meaning, the things are going on in your heart. That He'll promote you. It says, promotion does not come from the east or the west. Promotion comes from the Lord.
I'm not talking about blessing. The blessing Jesus has all of you. I'm talking about the ability to be promoted through secular businesses, your own businesses, to be promoted up into an influential place in career areas, etcetera. This is crucial. And God understands that if we're going to influence countries, cities, healthcare. If we're going to influence church. If we're going to influence government. If we're going to influence arts and entertainment. If we're going to influence education. Then we don't sit around praying for a miracle. Lord, save our universities. Well, I think you should pray. There's a better way to pray for universities. But we need to raise up leaders. We need to recognize that we are the salt and the light. Wisdom is the principle thing.
My challenge to you today is to recognize that if you've given your life to Christ, then everything He did on the cross is within your human spirit because the Holy Spirit is within your human spirit. And He is filled with the wisdom of God. He's filled with the healing power of God. Every decision that you ever need to make, there's a knowing that you have as you develop the Word of God. That's why renewing your mind with the Word is so crucial. Because the way you're designed right now, your mind has to agree with your spirit because it determines what's flowing through your body. The mind is this, this onboard computer. That if it does not agree with what your spirit is saying, it's going to do what it thinks is smart.
And so the renewing of the mind is not just a new information. It is a washing of water by the Word. It is living Word that comes in and it just begins to take the Word of God and it begins to just wash your mind. In other words, it pushes out beliefs that are wrong, and we all have them. That's why the Bible says that the Holy Spirit searches our hearts. The deepest part of our hearts. Our heart is our subconscious. Now, it's way more than that. But to even understanding of it where your deepest held beliefs about yourself are. And until those change, it's groundhog day for you and I. See, the only way you can have wisdom is to get the facts. That's knowledge. And it's your job to go after knowledge. And then as you meditate on the knowledge, you get understanding. And understanding is your ability to apply the facts to your situation, your storm, your relationship, your career, your situation.
Now, wisdom is the application of that. And so most people praying for wisdom are three steps away and aren't doing anything to get there. So it's much easier for the church today to say, "Well, I'm just praying. Just reading the red and praying for power. And God's going to show up. God's going to show up. He never fails me". That means for the rest of your life you will be in survival mode. You'll never take any quadrant or any area of your life into stability. Don't you want to make decisions that stabilize your marriage, stabilize your health, stabilize your emotional health, stabilize your career, stabilizer your family? And don't stop at stable. When they say, "Hey, how's your marriage"? And you go, "Stable". It's not a compliment. But now beyond stability is success. It is a Bible word. And then everything that you do begins to succeed.
But there's still another one and its significance. When we understand, oh, I am so in love with the Bible. I love studying it, reading it. I love listening to others teach on it. I love people who want to talk about it. Because what's in here is far beyond. In my lifetime, I will never touch but just a little drop of what I could be capable of with the presence of God in me. So it never ends. Wisdom is the principle thing. And there is a wisdom because of Jesus. And the fact that you can receive Him as Saviour and Lord. That gives you a constant second by second flow of access to making every decision.
And to renew your mind so that as you walk into the next level of success, it doesn't kill you. Success kills you? Yeah. Well, I want a quarter of a million dollar job. Good. Take the corner office and run four thousand staff. You're going to have a nervous breakdown. They'll all be complaining about you, blogging about you, cutting you down in coffee shop. They're all going to be trying for your job, backstabbing you. Can you handle that? Well then you don't want the success of the next career move in your job until you, I mean, I can go on and on and on with these things. So make sure that you begin to say, "God, I want You to teach me. Holy Spirit, You're my coach. You're my helper. Let's renew my mind so I can be the individual You created me to be. That I could plumb the depths of everything You've placed within me to bring into this world for my family, my generations, my country, my marriage, my home".
People don't know that they're walking around greatness. You are called to be great and significant. He, God does not have a time frame that goes He's holding you back. Some people think like a horse where the riders got the bridle and they're just holding him back. A horse has a hard time running when you pull his head back too far, or you crank his head down too far. He can't run. And that everyone thinks that's what God is doing to you. And you don't realize that God is there and He is giving you full rein and that it's in your court to decide. Now, if you take off before you have the wisdom, it's going to hurt you. So just never stop this incredible relationship with wisdom. His name is Jesus.
Father, I thank You today. I pray that what I've said today would just, not just touch their mind. But it will speak to the very heart, the very core of their being. And that Father, regardless of what goes on around them, what their family thinks, or even their spouse, children, or parents. They'll want to know You. And You said that You can make us wiser than our teachers, wiser than our enemies, and wiser than people older than us. I pray that anointing upon all that we do as a church, amen.
Every head bowed for just a moment. If you don't know this Jesus I'm talking about, it's simply you accepting Him. He's already died in your place. He's already taken your sins. He's already provided a stunning life for you and it's there, but He will not force it on you. You have to accept and receive Him. If you'd like to do that, then right now just say:
Jesus, come into my heart. I receive You as Lord and Saviour. And today, I start the journey of building a relationship with You, in Jesus' name, amen and amen.