The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)
To fear God means to have reverential respect for Him. If you fear God you dread displeasing Him. He is high and holy, and you tremble before Him (Psalm 111:9; Jer. 5:22). Until one fears God he cannot possess true wisdom. He may be “street smart”, but failure to fear God leaves him foolishly in sin. (Read the striking contrast between worldly wisdom and heavenly wisdom in James 3:13-18). Do you want to be wise and understanding? Start by respecting God and holding Him in honor. Listen to His word and follow His will. You will not gain wisdom by choosing to sin; you will only increase sorrow and death. Instead, choose to be wise: “fear God and keep His commandments” (Eccl. 12:13).