There is a dichotomy that has arisen within the body of Christ during the COVID-19 pandemic which has seemingly manifested two opposing camps. The first camp we shall call “Wisdom”, and the second, “Faith”.
As churches were initially told to limit gatherings and then subsequently to close their doors altogether because of COVID-19, this divide was surely revealed. The Church was considered to be non-essential by our governing officials (defined as having little or no importance; not absolutely necessary), and the majority of the churches in America closed quickly to comply with their decision.
In this two-part article, it is my intent to address this matter from a biblical perspective. I submit to you that wisdom and faith are not diametrically opposed to one another as some within the body of Christ have reasoned within themselves, but they operate in tandem as you yield your body, soul, and spirit to the will of God.
Wisdom defined in the dictionary: knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.
The Bible has much to say about wisdom and describes several types and or levels of it. There is the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding (Is. 11:12; Eph. 1:17; Eze. 31:1-5), and The gift of the Word of Wisdom (1 Cor. 1:18). These particular gifts/anointings of wisdom are for the purpose of building the body of Christ. James 1:5, speaks of the wisdom that any believer can access for the purpose of daily living.
James 3:17 declares, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and sincere”. Proverbs 4:7 states, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom; and with all thy getting, get understanding”. Wisdom comes from God and has been made available to the born-again believer. However, in order to receive such wisdom, obedience and FAITH are the necessary prerequisites.
There is another type of wisdom described within the Bible that is the antithesis of “godly” wisdom. James 3:14-16 (ERV) says, “But if you have bitter jealousy and faction in your heart, glory not and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above but is earthly, sensual, demoniacal. For where jealousy and faction (infighting) are, there is confusion and every vile deed.” In 1 Cor. 1:19-20, the Lord Himself says, “ I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent. So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish.” The Holman Christian Standard says in the same verse, “I will set aside the understanding of the EXPERTS!” Lastly, 1 Cor. 3:19-20 tells us, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness. And again, “the Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, He knows they are worthless.”
As I stated at the beginning of this article, when churches were told to close their doors, many within the body of Christ were in full agreement with this measure. The reason given was that social distancing and sanitary measures needed to be observed in order to stop the spread of this virus; to “flatten the curve”, thereby sparing lives. Isn’t it ironic that those pastors who were willing to abide by these standards, so that their doors could remain open were answered with an adamant and resounding, NO!!!
Our Governors decreed that all businesses that “they” deemed non-essential were expected to shut down, but yet, recreational cannabis shops and liquor stores were given the green light to remain open. Apparently, in their “wisdom”, smoking weed and drinking liquor are more essential to everyday living than believers needing to gather together in unity to cry out to God in repentance and worship, that He may Intervene on our behalf in the midst of this crisis. It is not as if the whole world shut down...right, so why the pushback, the outright adamance, when it comes to anything concerning places of worship? Did you know that the governor of California is attempting even now, to ban all forms of singing and chanting in houses of worship? What’s really going on here?
The only scripture that I’ve heard from those in the “wisdom camp”, is found in Romans 13:1-2, which states, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” Yes, God is the one who places people in leadership, but we have been given the privilege of voting for individuals, hopefully positioning ones in office who do believe in God’s ultimate authority. Unfortunately, most people vote from a self-serving mindset; that a particular individual will somehow make their lives better; that their personal religious viewpoint is irrelevant. It is our responsibility as believers to pray diligently for those in authority, especially the more when we don’t agree with their actions and decisions, and we can help by holding them accountable. As Christians, however, we are not bound to obey laws that violate God’s moral and righteous standards. When commanded by authority, Daniel and his three Jewish friends refused to worship idols. The Apostle Peter and the other apostles were commanded to stop teaching about Jesus, but they replied, “We MUST obey God, rather than man”. Where would we be if it were not for a Martin Luther King and so many others over the ages that have stood up against injustice?
Now as concerning the matter of “separation of church and state “; the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States declares that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof....” There is a saying that, “government never wastes a crisis to expand its power!" Is this not taking place before our very eyes!?
Isn’t it amazing that those who were so enraged by the “lack of wisdom” being displayed by those who believed that houses of worship should remain open, were the very same ones applauding and condoning the demonstrations that were taking place across this nation for the sake of justice! By their estimation, would this not be considered unwise, since there was absolutely no social distancing taking place and many were not wearing masks!!? And isn’t it amazing that those same mayors and governors who deemed places of worship as non-essential were the same ones asking for the leaders of “faith” to come together and pray for the nation when the rioting and looting were happening? Hypocrisy at its finest!!! I submit to you that much of the “wisdom” that I have witnessed since the pandemic came to our borders is not the wisdom of God, but the “wisdom” of man!
Proverbs 2:6-8 - “For the Lord gives wisdom; out of His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He lays up sound wisdom for the righteous; He is a SHIELD to those who walk uprightly. He keeps the paths of justice, and preserves the way of the holy ones.”
I have been a born-again believer for 28 years now. Early in my walk with the Lord, I asked Him to not allow me to be deceived by “self”, or Satan. I always seek His wisdom, His counsel concerning every aspect of my life. Why would I choose to rely and depend on the “wisdom” of flawed, sinful men when I can access and possess the wisdom of the One who created me, The All Omniscient God! It was one of the “wisest” requests I could have ever made. The following is a prayer found in Colossians 1:9-12, that I have prayed over the years. May It bless those who will claim it for themselves.
Father God, I ask You to fill me with the knowledge of Your will through all the wisdom and understanding the Spirit gives, so that I may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to Your glorious might so that I may have great endurance and patience, giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified me to share in the inheritance of Your holy people in the kingdom of Light. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
In part two of this article, "A House Divided?" the subject of “Faith” will be addressed. It will be approached from a biblical perspective as well, but I will share my thoughts on this entire subject matter in its conclusion.