(Un)Common Sense

The 18th century French philosopher Voltaire wrote, Common sense is not so common.I wonder if he was thinking of our age when he offered that social critique. Probably not! My guess is that every age could claim that title.  Unfortunately, common sense has rarely been all that common.

Proverbs 2:6-8

For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him.

The thing is, there are people aplenty in every age, including ours, who don’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain.  They’re not stupid, mind you. Some are even very intelligent, well educated, and in some respects, quite successful people.  IQ is not the problem; it’s EQ—they lack emotional intelligence. They don’t do very well in their relationships, they mismanage their emotions, they lack impulse control, they have not mastered delayed gratification, they habitually steer right into the ditch in decision-making—they lack common sense.

Do you know anyone like that? I’m sure you do; images are probably flooding your might right now!  So how about you? How’s your EQ?  The thing is, there’s not a whole lot you can do about how others do life, but you can work on your own emotional intelligence.  How?  Go to God.  That’s what Proverbs 2:6 says: “For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” That’s where you start.

The Bible says God is quite liberal in doling out wisdom to those who lack it and are willing to ask him for it. (James 1:5-8) But asking alone doesn’t guarantee a continual supply of Divine wisdom.  God expects something of you. The next verse in Proverbs 2 says, “Lord grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.” (Proverbs 2:7, NLT).

That means the spigot to God’s wisdom will stay fully open to you if you will walk in honesty—with other, with yourself, and with the Lord—and walk in integrity—the congruence of what you believe and how you behave. Furthermore, Proverbs 2:8 adds that God expects you to treat others fairly and to walk faithfully before him. As those considerations are met, the Lord himself has promised to not only give you wisdom, but  to wrap you protectively in that wisdom.  Among other things, and most importantly, that means his wisdom displayed in you will protect you even from yourself.

I like what George Barnard Shaw said: “Common sense is instinct. Enough of it is genius. When enough of God’s wisdom gets absorbed in your core to where common sense becomes your natural response to all of life, you will be known on earth and celebrated in heaven for the best kind of genius—your uncommon sense.

Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done.” ~C.E. Stowe

Your Assignment, Should You Choose To Accept It:

For the next seven days, discipline yourself to stop before every decision, every response to people and every emotional reaction to first ask, “what would wisdom have me to do?”  Then do it.  It might be clumsy at first, but stick with it until good sense becomes common for you.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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