October 27, 2018

“Wise up” is a bigger challenge than it seems . . .

Wisdom is often defined as appropriately using the knowledge one has in life’s situations. This does not mean a person must be well-educated or even well-informed to be wise.

The Bible uses a different definition. It says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Not only that, those Old Testament books called “wisdom literature” say that it is impossible for an impure heart to know divine truth. Tozer explains that wisdom will not enter a malicious soul or dwell in a person that loves sin. He adds that the Holy Spirit of discipline flees deceit and unrighteousness.

So wisdom is not a matter of having more knowledge, or simply ‘smartening up.’ Instead, books like Proverbs and Ecclesiastes teach that true spiritual knowledge comes from heavenly wisdom as a gift from the Holy Spirit to those who fear God. “This wisdom is always associated with righteousness and humility and is never found apart from godliness and true holiness of life.”

The psalms often feature instruction about finding wisdom and the qualifications for having it:

“Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord! Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.” (Psalm 25:4–10)

From these few verses, God speaks to me. Wisdom requires knowing the ways and truth of God because He is my salvation. It is on God whom I wait, not going ahead with what I think is right. Wisdom relies on His mercy, love, and forgiveness. It is teachable and comes to those who are humble, not to know-it-alls. Wisdom knows that God is loving and faithful to those who obey Him.

I remember being in an adult Bible study class in a well-known church in California. This was about forty years ago. We were grouped with several leaders in the church plus an elderly Spanish lady who didn’t say much, but what she did say startled us with wisdom. She didn’t have any theological degrees or formal education, but she knew the Lord. Her teachable humility and the power of the Holy Spirit made her the wisest person at the table.

Jesus, You are teaching me that as important as correct doctrine is, wisdom is not about being correct but about being yielded to You, trusting You with all my heart. Thank You for the lessons and examples You have put in my life. Keep it up; I’m not there yet!

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