Similar to other dictionaries, Wikipedia tells us that “wisdom, sapience, or sagacity is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight. Wisdom is associated with attributes such as unbiased judgment, compassion, experiential self-knowledge, self-transcendence and non-attachment, and virtues such as ethics and benevolence.”

Are you ready for some great news:? Wisdom is so much better than the description we’ve just read. And it is marvelously available to anyone!

The above definition is problematically silent as to the source of wisdom, implying that it comes from within (as opposed to being from God, the giver of anyone’s ability to think and act). Nowhere does it acknowledge that attributes, virtues, ethics, and benevolence are God-given capacities.

Definitions missing these elements are left with nowhere to go but into a downward spiral which promotes focus on self through human philosophies of “self-knowledge” and “self-transcendence”.

Which is precisely what Romans 1:21b-22 addresses:

“But they became futile in their thinking and their foolish heart was darkened, claiming to be wise, they became fools.”

In other words, when our thinking and reasoning deviates from the light and truth of God’s wisdom, our hearts lure us into the shark-infested waters of foolishness.

And we think we’re doing enviably well!

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Sadly, society’s commonly accepted views on wisdom are increasingly bereft of truth. The Bible calls this “human wisdom” or “folly” and we see throughout its pages the contrast between human wisdom and God-given wisdom—which is the only true wisdom to be found. To that end, Wikipedia missed this one by a country mile.

The contrast between human wisdom and God’s wisdom is illustrated in part through a holy battery of questions God gave to one of His followers who started thinking God should run the world in the way he, Job, thought it should be run:

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? (Job 38:4-5)

Have you ever in your life commanded the morning, and caused the dawn to know its place… ? (Job 38:12)

Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty? Let him who reproves God answer it. (Job 40:2)

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I love the way you and I can learn from Job’s experiences! He possessed much greater wisdom at the end of his humbling inquisition from God than before. The “reoriented with truth” Job answered the LORD saying, “Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You? I lay my hand on my mouth…”

Job had an increase of exposure and sensitivity to truth, which increased his wisdom. But it didn’t stop there. Job found deeper joy and intimacy with God as his wisdom increased.

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Had Job been around when Proverbs 9:10 was written, he would have undoubtedly agreed, and likely with gusto: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom!”

This is why we must go to God and His Word for wisdom. It belongs to Him. It is His to give and, remarkably, He makes wisdom available to us. 

Even when we’re discouraged.

Or wondering how to handle a sensitive relational issue.

When we’re struggling to determine priorities or when our options create a conundrum.

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Wisdom is beautifully personified in Proverbs chapter 8. She speaks to us, and just look at the way in which she does!

Wisdom is available:

Does not wisdom call, and understanding lift up her voice? (verse 1)

Wisdom is public, not hidden:

On top of the heights beside the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand. (verse 2)

Wisdom is not silent:

Beside the gates, at the opening to the city, at the entrance of the doors, she cries out. (verse 3)

In a similar way, Jesus lavishly gave (and continues to make) public invitation: “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25)

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Clearly, having wisdom is a gracious choice God gives us. To receive it, however, we must walk with Wisdom and answer her personal invitation as shown in Proverbs 8; this includes knowing and acting on the words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 7 and elsewhere. We have the option of choosing to show up wholeheartedly and in faith for each day’s appointment!

 Wonderfully, this means:

If you’ve lived foolishly or believed it’s only others who can be wise—and long to embrace wisdom—you can see from Proverbs 8 and the teachings of Christ a marvelous reality: Wisdom is available to you!

We don’t have to succumb to the “human wisdom” surrounding us, which is personified as a woman of folly in Proverbs 9:13-18. She seductively calls out to the passers-by and lures them into a death trap. Consistent with Old Testament warnings, Jesus also describes the ruin which comes to those who choose to ignore wisdom—His words—as seen in Matthew 7:26-27:

“Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like the foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against the house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

How loving of God to warn us of the difference between the life-saving wisdom to be found in Him and the foolishness which falsely masquerades as wisdom!

The path forward to anyone possessing wisdom is, as we see in Proverbs 8 and the first portion of Proverbs 9, very straight-forward: Fear the Lord! In other words, honor and revere Him. Allow His Spirit and His Word to direct and clarify your thinking and decision-making.

So while we can benefit from the study of psychology and philosophy, please be careful when doing so.  These areas often serve as conduits for promoting various forms of self or “me-ism”. Consistently absorb the Word of God so you will have the wisdom to retain what is valuable and filter out input which doesn’t correspond with biblical truth.

We have perfect communications in the book of Proverbs and other Old and New Testament scriptures to help us pursue and gain wisdom.

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What meaningful steps are you taking, or are willing to take, in order to hear and act on Wisdom’s call?

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Thank you for joining us today, please don’t go swimming with the sharks, and—yes—you are loved!

June

June

People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.

2 Comments

  • Brad says:

    It’s a lifelong endeavor!

  • Beryl says:

    Brought to my mind Solomon asking for a wise, discerning, understanding heart to rule the people…my desire is for the same heart in every task the Lord sets before me. Thank you for this timely reminder!

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