The books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes are replete with timeless advice, especially about the importance of wisdom: “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get .
Did you know that people pass electricity through their brains (tDCS, “transcranial direct current stimulation”) in the hope of being more intelligent? They do this before IQ testing, hoping to gain an edge over others.
Intelligence is a valuable commodity. Higher intelligence opens the door to better university degrees at better universities. Better degrees open the door to more lucrative careers. More lucrative careers open the door to the Nirvana of homeownership, meals with top chefs, private schools for the kids, better medical and dental treatment, early retirement, travel, and all-important experiences.
Thus, intelligent people are the new rock stars. Jordan Peterson’s recent lecture tour in Australia was a sellout. The ubiquitous Stephen Fry—urbane, witty, mellifluous—hosts the British TV show QI and makes one feel that one could never fly at quite his own altitude.
In this environment it is difficult not to measure and value ourselves according to our intelligence.
God’s Word does not rate intelligence this way. A quick concordance check of the NIV Bible shows that the word intelligent appears nine times, clever appears twice, and the words smart, intellectual, bright,and brainy not at all. But the words discern and discerning appear 34 times, understanding appears 115 times, and wise and wisdom 455 times. Know and knowledge appear 1,250 times. Think, thought, consider, meditate, reason, and ponder appear 405 times. We are commanded 14 times to “Wake up!” In the KJV, the command “Behold!” appears 1,326 times. The Bible highly rates wisdom, wisely alert thought, and wisely used knowledge. Bare intelligence is irrelevance.
The reason is this: there is no necessary correlation between intelligence and morality, or intelligence and wise conduct. You can be a fool with a very high IQ. You can be an evil genius. You can be dim, and good. You can be slow on the uptake, yet wise. You can be dull, and yet very skilled at the worthwhile thing that you do.
At the end of the day, a person’s contribution to the world, their society, and their friends and family will be determined not by their intelligence per se, but by their wisdom and goodness.
According to the New Bible Dictionary the Hebrew word ḥokmā, “is intensely practical, not theoretical.... wisdom is the art of being successful, of forming the correct plan to gain the desired results.” And so the craftsmen of the Tabernacle were given ḥokmā to undertake their highly skilled workmanship (Exod. 31:6). The Bible associates wisdom with skilled metalwork, woodwork, jewelry, embroidery, weaving, trading, politics, leadership, and military and nautical ability. Wisdom is not about being smart. Wisdom is about knowing how to act correctly in any given situation, to do a given task well. This is driven home by the startling observation of Proverbs 30:24-28:
Four things on earth are small,
but they are exceedingly wise:
the ants are a people not strong,
yet they provide their food in the summer;
the rock badgers are a people not mighty,
yet they make their homes in the cliffs;
the locusts have no king,
yet all of them march in rank;
the lizard you can take in your hands,
yet it is in kings' palaces.
Ants, badgers, locusts, and lizards frequently shame the sharp, clever, and intelligent. For whereas the latter so often misuse their intelligence to harm themselves and those around them, “dumb animals” act prudently, constructively, and well. (The lizard is my favorite: he lets men sweat and toil to build a great and luxurious palace, says “thanks for that” when it is done, and simply moves in.)
The implication is that whereas IQ, like your height and eye color, may be relatively fixed, wisdom can be sought, learned, and increased. It should grow deeper and wider with age and experience (Job 32:7, Heb. 5:12). With every journey around the sun we should learn by experience how better to look after ourselves and those around us.
That is why we will now hear, from Proverbs 8, Wisdom shouting out to us from the street corners, urging us to take hold of the gifts that she longs to lavish upon us all:
“To you, O men, I call,
and my cry is to the children of man.
O simple ones, learn prudence;
O fools, learn sense.
Hear, for I will speak noble things,
and from my lips will come what is right,
for my mouth will utter truth;
wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
All the words of my mouth are righteous;
there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.” (Prov. 8:4-8)
Wisdom calls aloud, passionately and urgently, “Wisdom is here for the taking! Be determined, take hold of it, it can be yours!” Notice Wisdom doesn’t stand in the university quadrangle. Notice that Wisdom doesn’t limit her call to those with a suitably high IQ. She stands at the entrance gate, the public place, where she can catch everyone’s ear. Derek Kidner comments: “A chapter which is to soar above time and space, opens at street-level, to make it clear, first, that the wisdom of God is as relevant to the shopping center as to heaven itself.... It is available to the veriest dunce” (Kidner, Proverbs[Intervarsity Press, 1984]). Everyone can become wise: it is a matter not of grey matter but of will. And wisdom is a good thing to get, because it is true, not false, and just, not crooked.
Proverbs 8:12-21 goes on to tell us the good things that wisdom brings: wisdom is a magnet that attracts prudence, knowledge, and discretion. Wisdom repels evil, pride, arrogance, and perverse speech. Wisdom is not amoral. To be wise is to be good, to be good is to be wise. Wisdom makes kings rule fairly and well, so that their people enjoy happy prosperity. Wisdom brings riches and honor. As we put Proverbs in its Bible context, we remember that riches are not always monetary, that health is not always bodily, and that honor is not always in the eyes of community. A person can be poor, sick, and despised, and yet possess “every spiritual blessing” (Eph. 1:3), a healthy and eternally alive soul, and honor and favor with God (Luke 12:5). Wisdom “is better than fine gold” for it brings the riches of heaven, the wealth that truly matters (Matt. 6:19-20).
Wisdom works well, because wisdom is built into the very fabric of Creation:
“The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works,
before his deeds of old;
I was formed long ages ago,
at the very beginning, when the world came to be.” (Prov. 8:22-23)
A recent National Geographic lists some fifteen qualities that the earth possesses that make it suitable for life. Ever so slightly change just one of these “Goldilocks Conditions,” and life cannot exist. As Stephen Hawking wrote in A Brief History of Time: “The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron.... The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life”, 129).
Wisdom explains why. She was there before creation, older than light. God created with her. Creation works because it was wisely engineered. Creation is a ravishing symphony because it was wisely composed. Creation is lavish and beautiful because Wisdom made her so. To have wisdom is to have the very quality that made this universe the masterpiece that it is. God did nothing without wisdom. Who are we to try to do otherwise?
And we find the fourth and final exhortation in this proverb:
“And now, O sons, listen to me
blessed are those who keep my ways.
Hear instruction and be wise,
and do not neglect it.
Blessed is the one who listens to me,
watching daily at my gates,
waiting beside my doors.
For whoever finds me finds life
and obtains favor from the Lord,
but he who fails to find me injures himself;
all who hate me love death.” (Prov. 8:32-36)
Those who take hold of Wisdom will be blessed. Blessed translates asher, “fortunate,” “happy.” In the Septuagint it is translated makarios, the word used by Jesus in the Beatitudes: Blessed are the poor in spirit... Blessed are those who mourn... Blessed are the meek... These are the truly happy ones. These are the ones to be congratulated and envied. Before creation, wisdom was “rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind.” Wisdom says: “You will find this happiness when you carefully guard your walk according to my ways. You will be blessed when you disregard the godless cacophony of the world, and keenly listen ‘at the doorposts of my gates.’”
Thus “the one who finds Wisdom finds life.” The one who fails to find wisdom harms their nephesh: their very soul. “If you hate me, you love death.”
We think of wisdom as an optional extra. You can buy a car without velour seats, Bose speakers, a heated steering wheel, and an inbuilt Gaggia espresso machine. It will get you from W to X, but unluxuriously. You may think the same about a life without wisdom: “It won’t be a Lamborghini, but it will work.”
This is not true. Wisdom is life and death, make or break, do or die. It is not desirable that we attain wisdom, but essential.
The thing is, wisdom does not come naturally. Our heart bias away from “the Only Wise God” is a bias away from wisdom. Gold has to be mined at great cost, skill, and effort. Mastery of a skill comes only after at least 10,000 hours of practice. The well-formed adult is the product of highly skilled and diligent parenting. And wisdom for the natively godless comes only by searching long and hard for it.
It is essential nonetheless. We must get it, or die in the attempt.
When we think about Wisdom’s true identity, we can see why. Wisdom is the Logos, the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ the Son of God. He created the universe (John 1:3, Col. 1:16, Heb. 1:2). Creation in its astounding design, complexity, and beauty mirrors his wisdom.
And so we end the way Proverbs begins: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (1:7). Wisdom can be sought, learned, and increased. But the seeking begins with Jesus Christ and Him alone. Without Christ, without submitting to Him, we are forever condemned to the foolish harm of our souls, and the souls of those around us.
Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold make seeking wisdom from the Word of God “first in importance.
Success still evades many. The amount of books written on the subject of success and how it is attained are many. Still, so many people are living in frustration, family troubles, depression, poverty, failure, hurt and mediocrity.
The reasons for such a dilemma are varied. But one of the main causes for this is a lack of wisdom, which is, a lack of understanding how to take information gained and apply it to one's situations, circumstances and relationships.
Amidst the fact that knowledge and education have their place, it is wisdom that makes people successful. Knowledge is the accumulation of information, understanding is the grasping, comprehension and interpretation of that information, but wisdom is the application of the information which one understands.
Wisdom is what makes winners in life in every arena. This is why the writer of The Book of Proverbs, the late King Solomon, regarded as the wisest man to live, before the Lord Jesus Christ, said that his father King David taught him the following words; "Get wisdom, get understanding, forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get wisdom, and with all your getting, get understanding." (Proverbs 4: 4-7)
What is wisdom? Wisdom is divine insight concerning how we should live and what brings success. Wisdom is God's answers and solutions to our problems. Wisdom is God's advice concerning how we should live and conduct our affairs.
Wisdom is learning how to take the knowledge given and apply it to our lives in a workable manner, so that it benefits us, and benefits the lives of others.
Many people do not experience success in life because they lack this key ingredient. Wisdom is not a key to success, it is the main key. This is why King Solomon advices us to get wisdom. This is also why he said that wisdom is the principal thing, the chief thing, the main thing.
Here are three powerful tips to success in any area of life, which can dramatically produce lasting change for the better in your life:
1. Know what you want.
Know what you want in regard to your purpose.
Each of us are here on this earth for a reason. Your job is to discover what that reason is. And only the One Who made you really knows that purpose. So, go to Almighty God and ask Him to reveal His plan for your life to you. There are some practical ways you can discover this purpose as well, such as:
a. What do you enjoy doing, which is not contrary to the laws of God or man?
b. What do you enjoy doing which enhances the lives of other people in positive and impactful ways?
c. What are your talents and gifting? Keep in mind that whatever your true purpose is, you are gifted and suited to handle. Granted that your talents and gifts will need development and training, the fact of the matter is that they are already in you in seed form, and show themselves naturally.
Know what you want in regard to any area of your life. What kind of family life do you want? What are your dreams? What do you want to, at the end of your life, look back at and say, I am satisfied that I have lived for and fulfilled the reason I was born? What kind of financial position in life do you desire? You must know what you want before you can set proper goals for their achievement.
2. Learn all you can about the situations, circumstances and relationships with which you are engaged. Whatever area of life you are dealing with or desire success in, get books and information which gives you understanding of that particular area. Read the Book of Proverbs, which is excellent when describing what it takes to be a winner in life. Read other good books about the area with which you are dealing. Knowledge is important. So read and keep on reading to learn, know and grow.
Yes that is right. I said pray. Pray and ask God for the wisdom to apply the knowledge you learn to the various areas of your life. Again, it is the application of knowledge consistently and persistently, which brings success. Wisdom comes from Almighty God. So ask Him for His help and insight. He will help you, if you will, but call upon Him.
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There are some things which are indispensable to living a fulfilled and successful life. One of such things is wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to answer the question how which in turn will empower a man to have know-how.
“Wisdom is less about academic intelligence, cognitive abilities or analytical skills, although these can help significantly. Instead, wisdom refers to the ability to see the “big picture” and translate one’s experience and knowledge into good judgment and decisions.” David Chan
Wisdom is an acquisition we cannot do without if we are to have our lives count.
“The beginning of wisdom is: Get [skillful and godly] wisdom [it is preeminent]! And with all your acquiring, get understanding [actively seek spiritual discernment, mature comprehension, and logical interpretation].” Proverbs 4:7 Amplified Bible
For most people there isn’t much of a problem as to what they want to do. Many people are not bankrupt of what they want out of life but the real problem is how to translate it to reality. The problem is always a problem of wisdom. Times have changed and we must understand how to respond well to make the best out of life.
“At one time we had wisdom, but little knowledge. Now we have a great deal of knowledge, but do we have enough wisdom to deal with that knowledge?” Jonas Salk
We live in the information age where you can get virtually any information at the click of a button. The issue is no longer access to information but how to use the information we have access to.
“There was a time when knowledge was power. Knowledge was power because so few had it and because so little was known by anyone. Then knowledge was power because so few had access to education, to facts, and to information. And then it was power because it was hard to find, hard to access, hard to organize, and hard to understand. None of this is still true.
Now knowledge is something less. The Internet has made knowledge ubiquitous. Facts and information are easy to find, easy to sort and organize, and easy to understand. And it is portable. What used to serve as a differentiator and a source of power is now neither.
Knowledge isn’t worth as much as it once was. It isn’t enough to know the facts, the options, the features, and the benefits of your product or service—especially if I can Google them.
What is increasingly valuable is wisdom.” Anthony Iannarino
Wisdom is first in order of importance, other things are important but wisdom is first in order of importance. Wisdom is the main thing and everything else is secondary. Once the principal thing is faulty everything else becomes faulty – get wisdom right and everything else will be right, miss it with wisdom, miss it with every other thing.
Every problem and crisis in life can be traced to a lack of wisdom. Foolishness is the result of a lack of wisdom. A man who lacks wisdom is a stranded man. Wisdom is what produces the way out and the know-how. Wisdom makes a man to think before he talks or act.
“An ignorant man is always able to say yes or no immediately to any proposition. To a wise man, comparatively few things can be propounded which do not require a response with qualifications, with discriminations, with proportion.” Horace Mann.
To be continued
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THE IMPORTANCE OF WISDOM Part 2
Last time we began looking at the importance of wisdom. We saw that wisdom is an acquisition we cannot do without if we are to have our lives count. Times have changed and we must understand how to respond well to make the best out of life.
“At one time we had wisdom, but little knowledge. Now we have a great deal of knowledge, but do we have enough wisdom to deal with that knowledge?” Jonas Salk
We live in the information age where you can get virtually any information at the click of a button. The issue is no longer access to information but how to use the information we have access to. We must devote quality time to not just access information but take time to asses, analyze and translate information into meaningful action. Wisdom demands time and effort – it doesn’t just drop on people without a conscious pursuit.
“The words wisdom is defined as “The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.” A leader who want to gain wisdom must know that time is a factor. It requires years and decades to grow and become a wise leader. Albert Einstein said, “Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” This is why many times people who are older or seasoned leaders have wisdom. However, this does not mean a younger person or leader can’t gain or have wisdom.” Dan Black
Wisdom will make people admire us due to its workings in our life. Wisdom attracts favour and open doors. Every enduring promotion is traceable to wisdom. If you want progress and outstanding achievements then, wisdom is indispensable. Wisdom promotes – it raises people to a higher position or rank. Wisdom is a non-negotiable leadership tool. Wisdom gives the essential mindset and ability to be effective leaders.
“Leaders see the bigger picture and provide the vision for people, directing them towards the bigger cause. To put it simply, leaders are innovative, intuitive, imaginative and future-oriented. Without wisdom, it would probably be inconceivable that a leader would be able to envision where an organization is headed, much less make informed decisions for the staff and the community at large.” Jared Lim
Honor, high respect (influence) is the appendages of wisdom. A man who exhibits wisdom is a man who will be respected and consequently influential To earn respect in your career, business, ministry, academics, just go for wisdom. Make wisdom your highest and deepest desire and you are on your way to the top. Wisdom is the principal thing.
Wisdom is a great management tool. Ecclesiastes 7:11 says “Wisdom is good with an inheritance and by it there is a profit to them that see the sun”. Whatever you have whether it be a business, marriage, ministry, money, resources etc will only be managed, multiplied and maximized by wisdom. Not to acquire and walk in wisdom in dealing with resources is bound to lead to depreciation, disappointment, depression and failure. A man without wisdom is a vulnerable person, he is vulnerable to attacks of various forms and is liable to defeat, disgrace, loss and shame.
Wisdom is so important that we must make it our most predominant acquisition. CONCLUDED
Wisdom happens when you take knowledge and apply it to your life in a Both are important to my well-being — I exercise a few times a week.
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If asked, how would you define wisdom?
1) The ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. 2) The ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting.
Based on those definitions, everyone, Jesus follower or not, would consider wisdom valuable for success, safety, and well-being.
But this month you and I will dig deep into wisdom as part of The Faith Project. I want to study Godly wisdom. What wisdom is for a follower of Jesus.
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What is Godly wisdom?
What does wisdom look like for a follower of Jesus.
Why do I need wisdom?
How can I get wisdom?
How can I grow in wisdom?
How should I apply Godly wisdom to my life? In my relationships? With my finances? In decision making?
So, let’s start by looking at…
What the Bible says about wisdom?
Looking for wisdom in the wrong place led to sin:
The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Genesis 3:6
Solomon asked God for it.
The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom. 1 Kings 3: 10
God gave Solomon very great wisdom and understanding, and knowledge as vast as the sands of the seashore. 1 Kings 4:29
And Solomon wrote Proverbs. (A good definition of a biblical proverb is “a short saying that expresses a general truth for practical, godly living. Google Definitions)
These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel. Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. Proverbs 1:1–2
For the Lord grants wisdom! From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6
Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe. Proverbs 2:9–11
Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with it. Proverbs 8:11
Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.Proverbs 9:10
Paul wrote the following about Jesus.
God has united you with Christ Jesus. For ourbenefit God made Him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; He made us pure and holy, and He freed us from sin. 1 Corinthians 1:30
And James wrote…
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. James 1:5
Like freedom (January) and love (February), wisdom is found in relationship. Our relationship with God through Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.
No amount of knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, or insight alone will give us Godly wisdom. Because Godly wisdom is God-given. And it grows by getting to know Him and His will. True Godly wisdom will bless every relationship.
Our marriages. Our children. Our careers. Our friendships. Our big families. Churches. Communities. Etc.
God used much of the Bible to tell us about the wise thing to do in our relationship with Him and with others. And then He summed it all up in a few sentences.
Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord.And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:29–31
Godly wisdom shows itself in love. But thankfully, God didn’t leave us there. He went on to give us lots of details of just how loving wisely should look.
So, I’m digging deep into wisdom. I’m asking God for the gift of wisdom. I’m spending additional time in the Word. I’m memorizing His promises. I’m spending more time in prayer. I’m listening for His voice. And asking for His help to follow wherever He leads.
Because God’s gift of wisdom when followed offers blessings…
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.James 3:17
I have to admit I haven’t thought about wisdom much in the past. I’m guessing you haven’t either. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life. Just following my regular routine. Just doing…
Which is why it’s my relationship to God that’s important. God wants you and me to be so connected to Him that living with His wisdom is our regular routine. Something we don’t have to think about. Something we just do.
Because He wants the best for us. And following His wisdom gives peace, gentleness, kindness, mercy . . . fruit.
Solomon said it even gives happiness.
Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly. Proverbs 3:18
How cool is that?!
You and I chase around after happiness and it’s right in front of us all along. Right there in Godly wisdom.
I can’t wait to see where this month of The Faith Project leads us. I have a lot to learn and I’m hoping you will join me.
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Wisdom, especially spiritual wisdom, is not just about knowing what's good for you, but applying that knowledge into your everyday life.