The wisdom of men is popular and appeals to the flesh. The wisdom of God is hidden and must be searched out.
The wisdom of men glories in the might, power, and riches of men, but the wisdom of God glories in the Lord.
The wisdom of men often has the appearance of good and smart while the wisdom of God esteems the foolish and weak things of the world that most cannot see or discern.
Here is a description of the wisdom of God:
“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence” (1 Cor. 1:26-29).
The wisdom of men is aligned with the will of man and looks pretty, and sophisticated, and smart, but in truth, it is actually more aligned with the glory of this world.
The wisdom of God is aligned with the will of God and has the marks of the cross on it – humility, brokenness, and sacrifice.
Many times the wisdom of men will even masquerade itself as a great opportunity for more influence, power, and money, but again it has no marks of the cross.
Here are three examples of men who understood the wisdom of God and refused such good and glamorous opportunities in order to obey God.
1. Many years ago Dr. Billy Graham was offered 6 million dollars by someone to build a university. He rejected the offer because it would have interfered with his evangelistic calling. Sadly, most ministers today would not have refused it. Dr. Graham loved souls more than mammon, and obedience to God was most important.
2. Mr. J.R. and Carmen Goodwin, affectionately known as Dad and Mom Goodwin, pastors of an Assembly of God church in Pasadena, Texas in the 1950s and 60s, were offered television time to widen the influence of their prolific and supernatural ministry. They prayed about it and the Lord let them know that this was not His will for them.
Most ministers today wouldn’t even pray about such an opportunity but would automatically assume that it was a promotion from the Lord. After all, how could such an opportunity to reach many more people not be from the Lord?
The Lord’s ways are not man’s ways. The Lord’s wisdom is not man’s wisdom.
3. Then there’s the late Kenneth E. Hagin’s reluctance to build a Bible college, even though the Lord directed him to do it. He begged God to let someone younger than him do it to no avail.
He never wanted to be a prophet. He never wanted a big ministry. For a man that is widely known for teaching faith, prosperity and healing, few know of the spiritual stature and maturity of this general of faith. Unlike multitudes of ministers today he never wanted the limelight. Here is a direct quote from him that has blessed my life:
“I could care less if God used me. I wish He’d take me off the platform. I’d be perfectly happy in a prayer room never being seen or heard. If you want to be seen or heard you shouldn’t be on any platform. The people don’t need to see and hear you, but Jesus anyway.”
How refreshing are these statements in a day when so many are insatiably covetous for more power, more influence, and more money, and are always endeavoring to climb higher in ministry. We need reluctant ministers, in a sense, who are still willing and obedient to the Lord, but have been stripped of selfish ambition.
Jesus was taken up high by the devil who offered Him all the kingdoms of this world and all its glory if He would only worship him (Lk. 4:5-7). Jesus refused it and so will all those who truly love the Lord and bear the marks of the cross in their lives.
Oh people of God, resist those men who have no marks of the cross in their lives and preaching. Resist those voices that are diabolically aligned with the spirit of this world. Beware of men who constantly strive for higher positions, bigger and better possessions; the finer things of this life, more and more success and popularity. Flee from them!
If we all did this we could shut down every huckster and charlatan ministry in America overnight. The landscape of Christianity would be cleansed.
Instead find that preacher whom the devil has taken to the top of the mountain and offered him all the things of this world – and he turned it all down. Find that man and listen to him. Or better yet, be that one.
May God give us such men of no compromise in this hour who are not only known in heaven but in hell as well (Acts 19:15).
The world is waiting for them.