Wisdom. The word wisdom is an interesting one. What do you think of when you hear or read that word? Do you picture a sage old man with a white beard and a pipe wearing a robe and living somewhere in a quiet village, a kind teacher you once had when you were in grade school, or maybe an older loved one that you admire and trust? In a world filled will a plurality of beliefs and values, wisdom can easily become convoluted. It seems the common tendency is to view wisdom as an individual who simply knows a collection of facts, is highly intelligent, or has lived for a long time. However, wisdom is not cultivated directly from any of these. Although wisdom is not opposed to knowledge, intelligence, or age. On the contrary, wisdom is knowledge that is rightly applied. If an individual were to notice that a stove was on and the burners were hot, they would have knowledge. But wisdom is knowing not to touch the hot stove. Though knowledge and wisdom are closely connected, there is a distinction. As a young minister, I have had my fair share of moments where I had a lot of knowledge but lacked wisdom. Similarly, I have met many individuals that were highly intelligent in their fields of study but are oblivious to more pressing matters. So then, how can one gain wisdom and rightly apply knowledge?
Proverbs 9:10 states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
The Bible tells us that wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord. Therefore, wisdom comes through an action. But, what does it mean to fear the Lord? Does it simply mean that God wants us to be afraid of Him or that if you get anxious when God is discussed that you have somehow become wise? Certainly not. The fear of the Lord is a way of life. To fear the Lord is to have a sincere respect and awe for the God of the universe. Likewise, it is a call to submit to the will and leadership of the One who has the power to give and take life. God is Holy and it is natural to have a healthy fear of Him as a sign of love and respect to who He is. Additionally, the fear of the Lord requires humility of those who seek wisdom. To honor, submit, and be in awe of God means that one must come to the point where they are no longer boastful, self-seeking, or set in their own ways. Instead, wisdom is where we let go of our personal agenda and trust in God’s plans for our lives. Thus, wisdom is where we use the knowledge God has given us to serve Him. So how does one gain wisdom? We grow in wisdom as we grow in our submission, love, and reverence for Jesus as our Lord and Savior. As we increase in our faith, we increase in wisdom. Wisdom is a gift of God that we should covet and seek out. James 1:5 tell us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” We can rejoice in the fact that we have an awesome God that is worthy of praise and is generous in offering wisdom to all who ask!