Last week we talked about The Priority of Wisdom. The Bible has a LOT to say about its importance and the benefits of becoming wise. It also has a LOT to say about those who shun wisdom, and none of it is good. In fact, the word that the Bible uses most often for those who shun wisdom is “Fool.” Yikes!
So how do I go about becoming a wise person? Well, it’s important to understand that there is a big difference between wisdom and knowledge. Knowledge could be defined as knowing a set of facts. But wisdom is knowing what to do with those facts. Knowledge is knowing what to say. Wisdom is knowing if now is the time to say it. Knowledge can be gained from reading, taking classes, study, but the pathway to wisdom is very different.
If I want to become a wise person, here are five habits that I need to cultivate.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 9:10) The Passion Translation reads this way – “The starting point for acquiring wisdom is to be consumed with awe as you worship Jehovah-God. To receive the revelation of the Holy One, you must come to the one who has living-understanding.” Wisdom is not achieved; it is received. It is a product fearing God. Please understand, the fear does not mean that I am frightened of God, but that I have a profound respect for Him. It is to recognize that He is the source of all real wisdom. This is where it starts – cultivating a respectful, awe-inspiring attitude towards God. Without this, you will miss wisdom altogether.
Listen to Paul’s words from Romans 8:15-17, again from The Passion Translation: “…our spirits join him in saying the words of tender affection, ‘Beloved Father!’ For the Holy Spirit makes God’s fatherhood real to us as he whispers into our innermost being, ‘You are God’s beloved child!’ And since we are his true children, we qualify to share all his treasures…” Look at that last phrase again – “We qualify to share all his treasures..” That includes God’s wisdom! But notice, God’s wisdom flows to us out of our relationship with him. It is the picture of a father sharing life lessons with his child. Please understand, God is not Google. You can’t just type in your question and have him immediately send you a concise answer. If you want to become wise, then make cultivating intimacy with God your priority!
You will never become wise until you learn to receive rebuke and instruction.
“Come back to your senses and be restored to reality. Don’t even think about refusing my rebuke! Don’t you know that I’m ready to pour out my spirit of wisdom upon you and bring to you the revelation of my words that will make your heart wise?” (Pro. 1:23 TPT)
“If you readily receive correction, you are walking on the path to life. But if you reject rebuke, you’re guaranteed to go astray.” (Pro. 10:17 TPT)
“Experiencing many corrections and rebukes with make you wise.” (Pro. 29:15)
How are you at accepting correction? “…before honor comes humility.” (Pro. 15:33 NASB)
Andy Stanley, pastor at Northpoint Community Church, says, “Experience doesn’t make you wiser. Evaluated experience makes you wiser.” He’s right! I’ve made a lot of mistakes that I learned nothing from. Why? Because I never took the time to think about what I did, why I did it, what I should have done differently, etc. So when the situation appeared again, I made the same mistake again! Sound familiar?
Take some time to evaluate your experiences. If something goes really well, ask yourself “Why?” And if something blows up in your face, take a step back and examine what happened, and how you will handle the same situation next time. Stop repeating the same mistakes – learn from them!
In II Chronicles 20, three nations have banded together to attack Judah. Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, recognizes that he is badly outnumbered. Rather than panic, or act rashly, He calls the nation to fasting and prayer. Listen to his prayer:
“O Lord, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You…For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”
My tendency is to DO SOMETHING. Wisdom tells me to wait on God. Trust Him. Rest in His love and promises. Cultivate a disciplined refusal to act ahead of God. “Those who wait on/rest in the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not become weary.” (Isaiah 40:31)