A conversation between Boromir and Frodo in The Fellowship of the Ring in which Boromir tries desperately to persuade Frodo to go to Minas Tirith instead of the way that Frodo has chosen reflects well the battle we all have between choosing God’s wisdom over the world’s wisdom.
Boromir: “I know why you seek solitude. You suffer. I see it day by day. You sure you do not suffer needlessly? There are other ways, Frodo, other paths that we might take.”
Frodo: “I know what you would say. And it would seem like wisdom but for the warning in my heart.”
Boromir: “Warning? Against what? We’re all afraid, Frodo. But to let that fear drive us to destroy what hope we have… don’t you see, that is madness?”
Frodo: “There is no other way!”
Frodo’s way presents more obvious struggle, difficulty, and even impossibility. Boromir’s way seems easier in the short term. Key in on the reason Frodo gives Boromir for his decision, though. Frodo tells him that a warning in his heart indicates that Boromir’s way is the wrong choice.
Earthly Vs. Godly Wisdom
Earthly wisdom doesn’t ask for an invitation, and it requires little effort to understand. It pursues, much like Boromir pursued Frodo to persuade him. Worldly wisdom is relative, unique and different depending on an individual’s tastes, preferences, and moods. Applying worldly wisdom lacks any complexity, too. Just follow feelings, and the world’s wisdom easily takes over. In other words, do nothing to stop the world’s wisdom from impacting you, and impact you it will.
Godly wisdom, while infinitely more abundant, comes by asking God for it and gaining an understanding of His Word. Deliberately choosing Godly wisdom protects your heart against the world’s selfish and increasingly evil ways. When we learn to Develop Wisdom that comes from God and then apply it, we find that His wisdom creates a “pathway through the wilderness” and “rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:18-19).
So why does the world’s wisdom sometimes seem so much easier to obtain and apply than God’s wisdom?
Easier Vs. Satisfied
In our instant-gratification culture, easier often seems better and even feels better at least for a little while. Experience tells me, however, that easier often leads to more complications in the long run. God’s ways get at the root of our beliefs, attitudes, actions, and words, something many people want to avoid for fear of what they’ll find.
The world’s wisdom provides a short-sighted solution to meeting a craving we all have inside of us. More stuff to have and do seems to be the solution for satisfying this craving. Yet, scripture tells of a very different way to fulfill that craving, which seems insatiable when filled with the wrong things.
“As the deer pants for the water, so my soul pants for thee, O God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:1-2)
“My soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1)
“Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture said, streams of living water will flow from him.’” (John 7:37)
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty, I will give drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.” (Revelation 21:6)
Worldly wisdom never satisfies because, as Romans 2:15 says, God’s wisdom (His law) is written on our hearts. The world’s wisdom can never erase or write over that which God imprinted on our hearts – the warning in our hearts to live according to His will and His ways.
Only when we realize that and then pursue the only wisdom that can truly satisfy us to the core will we discover a burden that truly is easier and lighter than anything the world has to offer (Matthew 11:30).