INTELLIGENCE VS WISDOM 7-16-17
WISDOM VS. INTELLIGENCE
July 16, 2017
How many of you know the difference between wisdom and intelligence?
Let’s start with intelligence. We have many ways today to measure what we call intelligence. There are aptitude tests, achievement tests, and even brain imaging, but perhaps the most well-known is the intelligence quotient or IQ test. Now, how many of you have ever heard of MENSA? The word mensa is a Latin word that means "table" as is symbolized in the organization's logo, and was chosen to demonstrate the round-table nature of the organization; the coming together of equals. The ‘equals’ who belong to this organization are those whose IQ is in the top 2% of the population. This means you must have an IQ of 132 or higher to belong. You get one chance, and one chance only, to pass their IQ test, taken under their supervision. How do I know this? I am a member of MENSA. But how has my intelligence affected my life? When I was in first grade they gave us all achievement tests. My lowest score was at the third grade level, but some were as high as the eighth grade level. My teacher spoke to my parents and asked to move me into the third grade – at six years old. They compromised and allowed them to move me up to the second grade. But this was not without its drawbacks. I was younger than all my peers, which put me in awkward situation from that time forward, throughout all of my school years. In fact, about the only time I had ‘friends’ was at test time. Then everyone wanted to sit by me. Who watches “The Big Bang Theory”? Throughout grade school, I was “Amy”. Socially awkward and not exactly the prettiest girl in the room either. When I got to high school, I was tired of being Amy, so I tried to fake being “Penny”. All that did was get me in trouble. Years later I decided to go to JJC (Joliet Junior College). I took every “ology” that was available to try and figure out what makes people tick. I took psychology (my major), philosophy, sociology, and biology – as well as genetics and comparative religion. Of course I passed every course with an “A”, and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. But the truth about what makes people do what they do, say what they say, and think what they think isn’t in those classes. It’s in the Bible. Jeremiah 17:9-10 says, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind”.
The problem with humanity isn’t a lack of intelligence. Look at all we have done in the past century. We have turned science fiction into science, invented things our ancestors would have never dreamed possible. Things like airplanes, rocket ships, cell phones – and atomic bombs. Albert Einstein said, “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” But has it really? What does the Bible say about human nature? King Solomon, the wisest man who has ever lived, said “the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil and insanity is in their hearts throughout their lives.” (Ecclesiastes 9:3). There is no technology that can exceed the evilness of a human heart that does not know Christ. Many people think that men by nature are basically good, that we will save ourselves from ourselves, and that we do not need God or the Bible to do good. But that is not true. Human intelligence alone will not save us.
What about wisdom? I looked online to see what people thought the difference between intelligence and wisdom is, and my favorite response is this, “Intelligence is knowing that Frankenstein was the doctor. Wisdom is knowing that Frankenstein was the monster.” When we face up to the fact that only God has infinite wisdom, and that He is the One who has all the real answers, that is the beginning of wisdom. Solomon also said in the Bible, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10). King David (Solomon’s father) said, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.” (Psalm 14:1). So how do we become wise – and good? The apostle James said, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5) Solomon asked for wisdom, and God did indeed give it to him in abundance. Wisdom is far more important than intelligence. True wisdom, the kind that only comes from God through Christ, will guide you down the correct path, will enable you to make right choices, and will keep you from letting your human nature ruin your life. Only Jesus Christ can change your heart, and only He can make you truly wise. And the purest wisdom is also the simplest. In fact it is so simple, that people who rely on their own human intelligence think it is foolishness! The apostle Paul told the church at Corinth, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know Him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks search for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”
Pure and simple faith in Jesus Christ, a faith even a small child can possess – that is true wisdom! My membership in MENSA won’t get me into heaven. It won’t help me lead this church. It won’t make me a better Christian or keep me from doing wrong. It won’t give me true peace or joy or hope. My faith in Jesus as my Savior and Lord will. I pray you are wise, and have that faith as well. Amen.