Do you want wisdom? Do you want to be wise? I can’t imagine anyone saying, “No, not interested!” Is wisdom an option for only the intelligent? Is wisdom limited to a certain geographical location or a certain ethnic group? And what is wisdom?
This weekend we are going to address wisdom as one of the foundational concepts in the Bible and therefore, in the life of a Christian. The Bible asserts that wisdom is beautiful and wisdom is more valuable than chests pouring over with gold doubloons. Wisdom is available to all.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. (Proverbs 9:10)
One writer defined wisdom as the “capacity of the mind that allows us to understand life from God’s perspective”. If fearing God is the beginning place of wisdom, then the more we develop in our awe of God and our respect for his power and intellect and love, wisdom WILL grow. To fear God is to crack open God’s storehouse of insight on life.
Another way to approach the word wisdom is this: to be wise means that the knowledge we have, as it fits God’s understanding of life, will be applied to all our actions, words and thoughts. This means that wisdom becomes practical in how we do life. Wisdom climbs aboard God’s eternal perspective and oversight in order to speak when necessary, hold tight to what is important, strive for the things that really matter and let go of all excess that does not connect with the fear of the Lord.
There are four basic steps to acquire wisdom: Fear God, desire wisdom, pray for wisdom and study God’s Word.
This is not the fear that exists when a slave or servant cringes at the one who dominates and controls their life. That is called servile fear. True fear of God is filial fear; this is fear and awe which a young child has for their parents. They trust the parent. Do we trust God as a father or a mother? We might not, but that can be fixed and altered appropriately with study of the Word of God.
Is wisdom a desire of yours? Do you desire to speak only in ways that will increase the respect others have for you or do you simply speak your mind and “don’t care what others think?” That true grit American attitude of not caring what others think may work once in a while but it can easily ostracize is from neighbors, friends, co-workers and family. To desire wisdom means that you have examined the minefield of your past and noticed numerous mistakes, things you would love to redo, knowing what you know now.
To desire wisdom is to recognize that you have room for growth in this arena.
Pray for Wisdom
Jesus’ little brother James tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5). Once you have a desire for godly wisdom, ask God to grant you this desire. True humility is a gift from God AND so is wisdom. God is a doting Father who simply and truly loves it when his kids go to him and ask for good things. Ask!
Study God’s Word
The Word of God will enable any interested soul to fill their being with wisdom. “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;” (Psalm 19:7). Every drop of silver that pours off of the Lord’s tongue becomes a treasure of wisdom for my simple mind and yours. It transforms us. It alerts us to things that really matter (our eternity, the trajectory of our children’s lives, the folly of worldly pursuits which push God down or even out).
Psalm 19:7 is not teasing us with a “maybe”. It is fact. God’s testimony is sure and it WILL make wise the simple.
In the end, what value is there in wisdom? It will directly stimulate richer relationships with my sphere of influence, my current and future networks. It can pander to my thirst for a life worth living. And in the end, true wisdom shows up in the person of Jesus. God’s wisdom must be seen and experienced. With every action of God’s Son, we see wisdom lived out. With all his interactions with children, with vagrants and chieftains, with political powers and lost, lonely souls, Jesus personifies and displays God’s wisdom for our enjoyment and relief.
True wisdom finds its greatest achievement in outwitting evil. On the cross, Jesus Christ lived out God’s wisdom by paying my eternal debt to THE Holy God. But Jesus’ death also linked each believing heart to the love of God. Wisdom was able to live and die and thereby crack the greatest conundrum ever: How can a Holy God reconcile his love for humanity and satisfy his justice and remain holy. The Cross is a display of such wisdom. Wisdom wins the day in Jesus. Praise be to his