True Wisdom is found in Christ
“….that their hearts may be encouraged as they are knit together in love, to have all the riches of assured understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, of Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2: 2
There is a difference between someone who is intelligent and someone who is wise, and wisdom and intelligence don’t necessarily go hand in hand. A person is considered intelligent when they have accumulated knowledge about various subjects or topics and are able to present and communicate this knowledge and information well. Wisdom requires having knowledge, but it also requires being able to understand and discern circumstances and situations, making proper decisions, and taking appropriate actions.
People can accumulate knowledge by reading, watching and listening. An increase in knowledge comes from information that is aggregated and associated appropriately. Knowledge can be linked and networked, and then built upon. For example, we learn the decimal number system, and then we learn simple arithmetic and mathematics, then building on that we learn algebra. Once we master these fields of knowledge we can then move on to learn a more in-depth field such as calculus. We see then that knowledge is accumulative and has dependencies.
Most of us are somewhat limited by our ability to remember large amounts of information. Some people, though, are blessed with the ability to retain a large amount of knowledge in their memory (e.g. a photographic memory) and therefore are more adept at academic studies.
In some cases, for one’s knowledge to increase on a certain topic it requires one to think in the abstract, beyond the physical, concrete things that we are used to encountering. We must use our imagination, picturing things that are not physical. This is a special talent that comes easy for some and difficult for others.
We put this knowledge to use to solve problems and to create new things to help us in various ways, like making life easier for us, or saving us time, or even helping to protect us or heal our bodies. Engineers, for example, use their combined knowledge of physics, math, materials, etc., to solve problems and help create things.
Wisdom is different than knowledge in that it is not attained by simply taking in information, but one must also have understanding, discernment, and the ability to act appropriately. To have these qualities requires effort. Wisdom must be sought after, and often can only be gained through experience. Additionally, we must be humble and open to learning and gaining understanding from those who have gone before us.
Here is the definition of wisdom from dictionary.com: “Wisdom – the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.” Sagacity is defined as “foresight, discernment, or keen perception; ability to make good judgments.” (Interestingly, the root of the word sagacity is “sag” which means to seek or track down.)
Wisdom usually involves making decisions in a way that the outcome produces the best possible result and is aligned with what is proper and fair for all involved. Notice from the definition above that in order to be wise we must first understand what is true and what is right, and then we must determine what is just and fair in our situations, making the correct decisions.
Wisdom requires action. A person can either act wisely or act foolishly. Wise actions are beneficial to us whereas foolish actions are detrimental. All of our actions have consequences, but if we can act wisely than we can cause these consequences to work for our good.
And now we get to the core of the matter: How does one acquire wisdom? How do we gain this ability to act wisely rather than foolishly? How do we even know the difference?
Acquiring knowledge is rather simple and straight forward since we can choose a topic and then gather information about it by buying books, or going to the library, or maybe taking a course at a local school or college. There is now tons of information available online, even in video form, about almost any topic you can imagine.
Here is some advice and direction on how to obtain wisdom for your life:
Establish the Lordship of Jesus Christ in your Life
We must make God our God and recognize that we are His servants who aim to please Him. All of our decisions should be influenced by this truth. We need to live daily in the light of this reality. We need to know our place, not as an autonomous person doing as we please, but rather as a bond servant of the Lord Jesus, doing only what pleases Him. Knowing our place in this life and walking in this knowledge is the beginning of wisdom.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10 (see also Psalm 111:10)
Seek God for Wisdom
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1: 3
“For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright.” Proverbs 2: 6-7
God controls the circumstances and events in our lives and He can order them in such a way that we can observe and experience what is needed to gain wisdom for our lives. We must be open to His leading and continue to humbly seek after wisdom. As the Lord leads us into various situations, we must then recognize the wisdom that He is showing us.
Very often the difficulties that we encounter in our lives are God’s way of trying to open our eyes to things we need to learn and understand. If we fail to learn these things than our difficulties will continue. God, as a loving father, desires what is best for us and wants us to grow and mature. He knows that the difficulties, trials, and troubles of our lives are great times for growth and learning in many areas, including increasing our wisdom.
Our experiences should be coupled with our study of His word, giving us examples of other people’s experiences to learn from. The books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon in the Bible contains the wisdom from King Solomon and there are many examples throughout the Bible where wisdom can be found if we seek after it and apply it to our lives and circumstances.
Wisdom is found in the least likely places
Remember that God’s ways are different than the ways of the world, and His wisdom is different than the wisdom of the world. As such, the places where God’s wisdom is found, and therefore the circumstances and experiences that we find ourselves in when seeking wisdom, will be different than what we would expect based on our secular influences. Consider this portion of Scripture from Ecclesiastes:
“Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting. For that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sad countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth (gaiety with laughter).” Ecclesiastes 7: 2-4
In other words we would be most likely to obtain wisdom at a funeral, and not likely to find it at a birthday or holiday celebration. Times of laughter can be good and actually healthy for us, but many of us tend to fill our life with laughter and joking, possibly using it as an escape from the painful reality that we face, or maybe as a way of passing time quickly. We must realize that it is in the times of pain and sorrow that we are most likely open to seeing the truth and opening our hearts to the deeper spiritual truths that surround us. If all is going well and life is pleasant we simply continue on in our bubble of false reality, blocking out the important truths that we need to face up to, and the important lessons that we need to learn to bring about internal changes.
“For like the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool.” Ecclesiastes 7:6
One important truth that we must face is the fact that we will all die, which is why the funeral gathering can be beneficial to our pursuit of wisdom, as it will help to make this truth of death a reality rather than just a disconnected thought. Our decisions and judgments will be greatly impacted if we allow the reality of our future death to sink deep into our minds and hearts. Wisdom would call for us to recognize that none of the worlds good can be taken with us when we depart from this life.
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” Mark 8: 36
Recognize Christ as the Key to our Future
The most important truths that we need to understand and live in alignment with are the truths regarding the darkened condition of mankind and this world, the solution to this condition that has been offered by God by sending His Son Jesus Christ as the Messiah. This world has been cursed due to the disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve. Darkness and evil have a controlling position on this planet, but the light has come to us in the form of the Lord Jesus Christ. We can be delivered from the darkness if we embrace and live in the light.
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ “ John 14: 6
Paul said in the letter to the Colossians that there are treasures of wisdom hidden in Christ. Paul stated this immediately after declaring some amazing facts about what Jesus did and who He was. It is very important that we establish these truths about Jesus in our lives, and that we seek these hidden treasures of wisdom.
Here’s is Paul’s declaration about the Lord Jesus Colossians:
“He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption , the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning , the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Colossians 2: 13 – 20
Wisdom and Knowledge are different. Whereas knowledge is a collection of information and facts about a subject, wisdom requires decision making and actions based on truth, righteousness, justice and fairness, resulting in consequential results that should be beneficial to the wise person who exercises this wisdom. Wisdom will protect us from evil and from being deceived. Wisdom must be sought after and is often only truly gained by experience, which is why wisdom is usually associated with old age.
True wisdom comes from God. We must seek Him for it and also look to His word as a source and guide. The focus of God’s wisdom is in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah and savior of the world. Our understanding of Him and our ability to walk in the light of this understanding will lead to true wisdom. The most important wisdom for us to exercise is the wisdom that is not only beneficial in this life but also gains us eternal life. This important, true wisdom is only found in God’s Messiah, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
”My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path. When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you, to deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things, from those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness; who rejoice in doing evil, and delight in the perversity of the wicked; whose ways are crooked, and who are devious in their paths; to deliver you from the immoral woman, from the seductress who flatters with her words, who forsakes the companion of her youth, and forgets the covenant of her God. For her house leads down to death, and her paths to the dead; none who go to her return, nor do they regain the paths of life— so you may walk in the way of goodness, and keep to the paths of righteousness. For the upright will dwell in the land, and the blameless will remain in it; but the wicked will be cut off from the earth, and the unfaithful will be uprooted from it.” Proverbs 2