Monday, June 30, 2014

The Missing Ingredient

What is understanding? Here’s what they think at Harvard:
“In a phrase, understanding is the ability to think and act flexibly with what one knows.”
In other words, understanding is putting information into action, applying what we have learned in a practical way to our lives.

So did something go wrong with the 2008 presidential election? Because everybody agrees President Obama is a pretty smart guy. Surely he had lots of “information” to put into action.

Fidel Castro assured Americans he was more intelligent than John McCain. 

Valerie Jarrett said he’s “so exceptionally gifted that he’s been bored most of his life”.

Jonathan Raban of The Guardian comments that “He tried his best to veil it, but Obama is an intellectual”.

And despite the fact that we’re six years down the hard-worn road of experience, some writers still laud the President’s intelligence.

Okay, not everybody.

Daniel Greenfield of Frontpage suggests that Obama is not actually that smart, and that his ability to rise to his present position is due to the fact that he makes others feel smart. That he has “successfully democratized intelligence”.

In fact, some writers wonder if he’s TOO smart.

But smart or not, something has gone desperately wrong with American leadership. Because as of this January, Americans are more pessimistic about the future than ever before. 

Something is clearly missing.

Perhaps the Psalmist can help us, as psalmists usually do:
“I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts.”
(Psalm 119:100)
What does obedience have to do with understanding? You would think nothing at all. Understanding is a function of IQ, experience and common sense, more or less.

Except in the spiritual realm, it really isn’t.

The Lord begs to differ with conventional wisdom. He tells us “to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away”. 

I must say that seems a tad unfair, Lord. Do you mean the intellectual elite do not rule in the kingdom of heaven? Is obedience THAT important?

Obedience, and apparently a change of attitude:
“… unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)
And again:
“If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.” (John 7:17)
You can be as intelligent as you like but you will not ever solve the world’s problems. The missing ingredient is not increased IQ, EQ or even experience.

It’s obedience.

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