Wisdom, Wise

<<perception, intelligence>> 

This is the attribute of knowledge, understanding and good judgement outworked by applying the insight with the power of judging rightly and following the best course.

Wisdom is shown in its actions

Wisdom is not just knowing what to do, it is revealed in how we live, by considering the long-term results and making decisions that will bring about the desired results (Mt 7:24-27).

The need for wisdom:   

As God is the source of real wisdom (the right way to live), a respect and reverence for Him leads to a greater dependence and trust in Him through living according to His values. Wisdom is personal and practical, not theoretical and abstract and leads to serving Him and others (Job 12:13, 28:28; Ps 111:10; Prov 2:6, 9:10; Col 2:3). Living by His wisdom and obeying His laws, which can make the simple wise, is more beneficial than strength and military might, while those who fail to find guidance and live wisely injure themselves irreparably (Ps 19:7; Prov 1:7, 8:36, 24:5; Eccl 7:12, 9:16-18).

Gaining wisdom is not a single occurrence but an ongoing, lifetime pursuit and commitment to obtain more, while applying the lessons learnt. Sometimes this learning occurs through mistakes, both those of others and our own. As character can be shattered by a single stupid action try not to do what you will later regret but consider

   Endeavour to gain and then                                         apply wisdom

the long-term benefits or consequences, not just the short-term satisfying of emotions and desires. If you realise you have made a wrong or unwise decision, humbly seek to correct it (Prov 6:1-5). Saul didn’t genuinely acknowledge his mistake but instead tried to justify his actions, while David owned up and repented although the consequences still had to be faced (1 Sam 15:1-30; 2 Sam 11:2-12:23). Divine wisdom that comes through humility contrasts with the stupid brainwaves of Satan who through pride became corrupt, so “Don’t be wise in your own eyes, but fear the Lord and shun evil” (Prov 3:7, 14:16; Isa 14:12-15; Ezek 28:12-19; 1 Cor 1:25, 2:8). Naturally, humans are not able to ‘direct their steps’ wisely so getting godly wisdom and applying it is the most important thing we can do, supported by developing commonsense, good judgement and integrity (Prov 4:7, 16:16, 23:23; Jer 10:23). Through worldly wisdom and human reasoning humanity can make seemingly good decisions, discoveries and inventions in this life yet all this will amount to nothing if they die without Christ (Mt 16:26).

Paul said he wanted people’s faith to be based not on human wisdom but on the power of God, and through the Spirit of wisdom for them to know Him better and understand His will (1 Cor 2:4-7; Eph 1:17; Col 1:9).  Thus wisdom should mark us out as Christians, for it is through the church (individual and corporate) that God desires His abundant wisdom should be displayed (Act 6:3,10; Eph 3:10,11).

Isaiah declared that Jesus would have the Spirit of wisdom and understanding residing in Him as the visible divine representative on earth; Paul expressed it as “Christ has become for us wisdom from God” (Isa 11:2; 1 Cor 1:30). Christ becomes the wisdom of God to those who are in relationship with the divine source and His invitation is to ask God, who gives generously, for wisdom if we feel its lack. “To the man who pleases Him God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness...” (Prov 2:2-6; Eccl 2:26; Dan 2:20,21; 1 Cor 1:19-30; Jas 1:5). Solomon asked God to “Give me wisdom and knowledge that I may lead this people...” rather than personal fame or fortune (2 Chr 1:10-12).

Our words hold tremendous power to produce both good and evil, with the Bible stating "The tongue has the power of life and death...There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise promotes health" (Prov 12:18, 18:21). As believers we should strive to speak life and healing rather than death and cursing. Ask God to help you speak life-giving, edifying, compassionate, beneficial and appropriate words.

The nature of wisdom:

“The wisdom of God is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (Jas 3:13-17). Live by Godly principles, and guard your heart more than any treasure for the direction of your whole life comes from here, with wisdom outworked in sound character (Prov 2:10, 4:23, 31:10-31). Let Christ take over more of your heart, the control centre of your life, by studying and applying God’s word (Ps 119:9,11,97-104). Don’t expect God to do the job for you, rather ask for guidance, courage and the ability to do what is best. Wisdom says ‘Yes’ to God, and does things His way by keeping His commands, realising there are no shortcuts or exceptions to His divine principles. Do not force issues but in humble submission say, “Not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42). Look at things from God’s perspective and live His way – the way of true wisdom – not man’s way which in comparison is foolishness and ends in death and destruction (Prov 16:2,25; 1 Cor 3:19). If we want His blessing we must endeavour to live by His rules.

The Word of God (the Bible) affects our lives profoundly as we absorb it (Col 1:10, 3:16, 4:5). Spend time to hear His voice then faithfully follow His direction, walking in dependence on God, not your own ability, for Satan will cause those who think they can make it without divine help to stumble (Jn 10:3-5,8,14,27, 15:14; 1 Pet 5:8). We can also

Real wisdom is hearing from and                                          obeying God

teach and challenge one another with its wisdom, while always acting wisely especially towards those still not Christians (Col 1:10, 3:16, 4:5).  David spoke these words to his son Solomon, “May the Lord give you wisdom and understanding when He puts you in command over Israel...” (1 Chr 22:12).

Practical wisdom:

1/. The wise analyse and plan, make provision for the future and consider whether a proposed course of action will bring them closer to achieving their goal. The person who keeps one goal in mind makes all things serve that end (Prov 20:4). They are not side tracked onto things of no lasting significance, nor overwhelmed by the bigger picture, but see even the longest journey is comprised of lots of small steps. We can’t fight all the ‘battles’ that come our way in life so choose wisely. Select the essential ones – in the areas where you won’t compromise – and decline other requests and opportunities.

2/. Wisdom lives within its income, in fact, it stores up for the times of adversity and “Wisdom is proved right by her actions”, including storing up riches in eternity (Prov 21:20; Mt 6:19,20,33, 11:19; Lk 6:45, 7:35; 1 Tim 6:18,19).

3/. Wisdom is knowing what to do and when to do it, by establishing priorities. Wisdom is not limited or inhibited by the past but accepts the challenges of today as growth opportunities to build character and a better tomorrow, so is prepared to push through the barriers of fear and apprehension to take new territory. Rather than working harder, it thinks smarter.

4/. Wisdom gives up what is of lesser, short-term value for the greater, long-term gain but don’t discard what is rightfully yours or is of value and has taken a long time to acquire (Gen 25:34; Heb 10:35,38,39 12:16).

5/. Those who wins souls are wise (Prov 11:30). Jesus gave us the great commission, "Go and make disciples" (Mt 28:19). Do I make winsome efforts to identify, attract, and persuade others to turn to Christ?

6/. Wisdom enables a person to act responsibly by being aware of their vulnerable areas and protecting them rather than foolishly seeing how close they can get to the fire without being burnt.

7/. The quality of wisdom is a hallmark of the mature person. Overlooking offences, recognizing that life isn’t always fair and that few things will go our way are important capabilities.

8/. Wisdom is not superficial. It deals with the root problem rather than just the symptoms – it kills the spider instead of just wiping away the web. Wise people also realise that the person that most needs to be changed is themselves, so they focus on that rather than trying to bring about change in another person (Lk 6:41,42).

9/. “Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still…He who walks with the wise grows wise” so associate with and learn from those who are wise, and then in turn mentor others (Prov 9:9, 13:20).

  Do I mix with those who will stretch and stimulate                            my intellect and enrich my life?

10/. Wisdom acknowledges it doesn’t know all the answers and so takes advice from those who know, considering the various viewpoints and options, using all the information available, to make a considered choice (Prov 8:33, 12:15, 20:18, 24:6; Lk 14:31). Live so you won’t regret the decisions made, actions performed, words spoken or thoughts allowed to lodge in our minds, knowing we are responsible and answerable for them all (Prov 4:26, 15:2,7, 16:23, 29:11; Mt 5:28; Rom 14:12).

See also: application, common sense, fool/foolish, humility, knowledge, perspective, pride, understand/understanding, wise men.

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