In your estimation, what makes a person smart?
Maybe you think smart means you know a lot of trivia. Or maybe you think reading a lot of books makes you smart? Quite possibly a smart person, according to you, is somebody who has a photographic memory, or somebody who can solve complex mathematical problems. Smart people know stuff, right?
In some ways, each of these kinds of people would qualify as smart. But how about spiritually? What makes a person spiritually smart?
I’ve enjoyed praying through the 111th Psalm this week. The last verse says these words:
Psalm 111:10 (ESV)
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!
To be sure, it takes a lot of studying “the works of the Lord” (v.2) to be smart. Learning how God’s covenant faithfulness to his people is displayed in every moment of life takes a lot of thinking. You have to think against the grain of what you’d naturally think if you are going to see God at work in your life.
You must study diligently.
You must look carefully.
You must see accurately.
You must remember purposefully.
You must think painfully.
But you can study and look and see and remember and think about life and even come to some right conclusions about God and his ways and still not be spiritually smart. This text says that those who “practice” are those who know. “All those who practice it have a good understanding” is what the the Psalmist wrote.
You can fill your head with good thoughts and your heart with good emotions, but you must teach your hands to implement what you know before you meet the qualification for being spiritually smart. God's grace is always sufficient for us to take the next right step.
So, you can know a lot of stuff and still not be spiritually smart. According to God, a spiritually smart person doesn’t just know stuff, he does stuff!