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Acquiring Wisdom

 

Wisdom

 

Key Scripture: Proverbs 2:1-7

I. Introduction: There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. We have access to more information than we know what to do with. But something is still missing—great wisdom. There are many people who boast about their knowledge, education, and degrees, but they make disasters of their lives because they lack spiritual discernment and understanding.

Although few Scriptures advise us to acquire more information, many admonish us to seek wisdom. If we follow Biblical principles, He will give us understanding and guidance for every decision and situation we encounter.

 

II. What is wisdom? The Bible makes a distinction between two very different kinds of wisdom:

A. Worldly wisdom is the use of knowledge and information. It’s based on human understanding and reasoning, but it is foolishness to the Lord (1 Cor. 3:19).

B. Godly wisdom is the capacity to see things from the Father’s viewpoint and respond according to Scriptural principles.

III. How do we acquire godly wisdom? It takes time and effort to become truly wise because it comes as a result of learning from the decisions we make. In order to gain the godly wisdom we need, there are seven things we can do. We acquire it by:

A. Seeking it. Since no one is born with wisdom, we have two options—seek it or face the consequences of living without it. The world offers many other pursuits that cater to our desires—security, wealth, friends, health, popularity, prominence, prestige, or beauty. But Proverbs 8:11 says all desirable things can’t compare with wisdom. It’s a gift God gives to those who diligently search for it like hidden treasure (Prov. 2:4-7).

B. Meditating on God’s Word. The Bible is God’s mind recorded for us on paper. It reveals His ways, plans, and purposes, and when we read and understand it, His thoughts become a part of us and affect how we live. That’s why we should begin every day with the Lord, asking Him to give us direction from His Word.

C. Obeying Scriptural principles. Merely having Biblical knowledge and understanding does not make us wise. God’s wisdom is reserved for those who heed His instructions by actively obeying and applying His truths to their lives (Prov. 8:33-34).

D. Praying for it. Proverbs doesn’t specifically emphasize praying for wisdom, but James tells us to ask God for it if it’s something we lack (James 1:5-6). However, simply requesting wisdom is not enough. We must ask in faith, obey what the Lord says, and watch the results of our actions. Obedience always brings blessings, but negative consequences occur if we ignore God and go our own ways.

E. Observing how God works in the world. The book of Proverbs tells us that wisdom comes from observing the results of various lifestyles. For example, wise men are cautious and turn away from evil, but fools are arrogant and careless (Prov. 14:16). Even ants teach us the importance of working diligently for our provisions because laziness leads to poverty (Prov. 6:6-11). The Bible helps us understand God’s perspective and leads us to make wise choices that produce positive results.

F. Heeding godly counsel. Everyone needs guidance at times, but not all advice is godly. Some people—even trained counselors—can actually lead us astray instead of helping us find God’s way. Whenever we seek out someone for direction, we should evaluate person’s lifestyle and determine the source of the advice. Is the counsel based on God’s Word or on psychology, a university education, or personal opinion?

G. Associating with the wise. Never underestimate the influence of friends. They can either help us grow in wisdom or cause us to suffer harm (Prov. 13:20). That’s why we need to examine our friends to determine if they build us up or lead us astray. We should also evaluate what kind of friend we are to others. Are we willing to tell them the truth based on what the Scriptures say, or is our goal only to tell them what they want to hear?

IV. Conclusion: Wisdom is a choice that begins with a decision to trust Christ as Savior and increases as we follow the teachings of God’s Word. If we want to be wise, we need a burning passion for the Lord’s guidance because there are many ideas, people, and situations that tempt us to ignore the Scriptural principles that lead to wisdom. The world tells us time is short and to live for today’s pleasures and pursuits. But, in reality, knowing our time on earth is limited ought to motivate us to correct sinful behaviors and attitudes and to begin living wisely according to God’s standards.

(Dr. Charles F. Stanley. Copyright 2012 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org.)