Good Sense and Self-Actualization

April 6th, 2009

Focus Text: Proverbs 13: 15-16 (NLT)

15 A person with good sense is respected;
      a treacherous person is headed for destruction.

 16 Wise people think before they act;
      fools don’t—and even brag about their foolishness.

 

Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

Good sense is a mysterious concept . . . one that is hard to define in concrete terms.  We could call it “everyday wisdom” or “common sense.”  We could define it as the capability to apply wisdom’s concepts to life’s situations.  The thing about application, though, is that often the realization of what we should do comes minutes, hours, days, or even years after the moment of decision has passed.  It’s like the old adage that says, “Hindsight is 20/20.” Indeed.

Those with “good sense” seem to somehow live with an understanding of what this present moment’s decision will produce tomorrow.  They live with restraint or with boldness, depending upon the circumstances of the situation at hand.  To walk with good sense means that you have that indelible ability to see yourself outside of yourself.

Psychologists refer to this concept at “self-actualization.”  They define it as the ability to realize one’s full potential.  In other words, a self-actualized person has seen what they can become if they make the correct decisions in the present.  Instead of simply living life in reaction to whatever stimuli surface moment to moment, they are living life according to a plan.  They know not only who they are, but who they can be.

These are the dreamers who work toward a monstrous vision as if they have seen the future.  While others live lamenting or enjoying whatever today may bring, the self-actualized person has a larger perspective.  It’s like they’ve boarded a helicopter has taken them high above themselves for a more objective view of life and how it’s winding tributaries intersect their path.

Sometimes, good sense means taking a look at life through eyes other than your own.  It’s not fortune-telling the future and predicting every bump and turn in the road, rather it’s realizing the potential through the lens of a higher vision and facing each day’s issues in the context of the bigger picture.  This kind of person is “respected” because they know which way they are going.

Those who live either with no vision greater than themselves or with a vision that is “treacherous” and evil, face a life that will wind its way to destruction.  If you haven’t seen the big picture about the dangers of crossing the street, you’re asking to become intimately acquainted with a UPS truck.  Looking both ways is just good sense . . . it’s possessing the vision to see the highway in the context of our relative position to it.

That plays into the next verse quite nicely: “Wise people think before they act; fools don’t—and even brag about their foolishness.”  Wisdom is all about the moment of pondering.  The internal deliberation before the plunge is taken.  The “looking both ways” approach to life.  The bigger picture perspective.

I’m all about adventure and spontaneity, but launching out into danger with no forethought of what may happen will almost always end in pain.  That’s like blindfolding your surgeon just before your open-heart surgery.  Hey, who needs a plan?  Just see what happens . . . it will probably work out.

The good thing about God is that He’s not lacking wisdom.  He does see the big picture of our lives and He’s even willing to let us in on it if we will ask.  Not necessarily the whole map, but enough to see where to walk today.  Tomorrow will require more seeking.  A string of tomorrows will produce a path of righteousness and lifetime of deliberate living.

It’s about knowing the Artist of the big picture.  Stepping outside of ourselves long enough to realize that He is the center of the universe . . . not us.  Now that’s some good sense.



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~ by johndriver on April 6, 2009.

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