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. (James 1:5, NKJV)
Christians should want to grow in wisdom. James implies that we are considering ourselves and our personal need for wisdom by saying, “if any of you lacks wisdom.” The first step to obtaining wisdom is knowing we need it and then, asking God for it. But, we should not expect God to stick a funnel in our ear and pour wisdom into our brain! God is ready to answer the prayer of the person who is seeking wisdom: “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 comes understanding and knowledge” (Prov. 2:4-6). Wisdom is the prudent, appropriate use of knowledge that honors God’s will. So, let us seek wisdom from the true source of all wisdom. Go to His word, and also pray to God for it. God gives wisdom sincerely and freely to those who fear Him.
10 Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life will be many. 11 I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths. 12 When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble. 13 Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; keep her, for she is your life. (Proverbs 4:10–13, NKJV)
Parental instruction, given in harmony with God’s word, will bless your child. The parenting model that says, “I let my child decide for themselves” will ultimate result in juvenile, even foolish and harmful decisions. (What if the child decides to play in the street?) Children need guidance, they are not “free range” animals, to come and go at will. Teach your child “in the way of wisdom” and lead him or her “in right paths” by your own example of righteousness. Do not hinder your child by given them unclear teaching and ungodly influences. Teach them in the way they should go (Prov. 22:6).
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7, NKJV)
The proverbs of Solomon generate knowledge grounded in wisdom, instruction, perception and understanding (Prov. 1:1-2). They provide wisdom’s instruction concerning justice, judgment and equity (Prov. 1:3). They give discretion and enlightenment to the innocent and inexperienced (Prov. 1:4). Furthermore, wise ones will gain learning and acquire good counsel through pondering these proverbs (Prov. 1:5-6). Yet, without the “fear of the Lord,” no such knowledge, wisdom, instruction and counsel will be attained. The fear of the Lord, then, is the starting line, the “beginning” place from which one proceeds to benefit from the proverbs. The “fools” of verse 7 are set in contrast to those who “fear the Lord.” They do not dread displeasing God. They do not stand in awe of Him. They do not revere His name. Thus, they despise the wisdom and knowledge that proceeds from Him. We recall that Jesus said we need “ears to hear” God’s word. The fear of the Lord is an excellent place to start.
1 Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding; 2 For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law. 3 When I was my father’s son, tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, 4 He also taught me, and said to me: “Let your heart retain my words; Keep my commands, and live. (Proverbs 4:1–4, NKJV)
Isn’t it amazing how much wiser our parents became by the time we were twenty-five years old than when we were fifteen?! Of course, it was not that they had a spurt of wisdom, but that we matured and began to appreciate the understanding and wisdom they had all along. The seasoned counsel and experience of parents will be listened to and followed by the wise child. God has so arranged that each generation is helped grow to maturity by the wisdom of godly, parental instruction. Do not resist the “good doctrine” of your parents. Your will have a blessing in your life as you accept and follow your parents’ wise guidance.
Fools mock at sin, but among the upright there is favor. (Proverbs 14:9, NKJV)
Often the righteous are ridiculed, made a laughing stock and spoken evil against because they will not join sinners in committing sin or in accepting sin as good (1 Pet. 4:4). Sin is little more than a sport to those who reject God’s truth: “To do evil is like sport to a fool, but a man of understanding has wisdom” (Prov. 10:23). Do you mock at your own sin by carelessly refusing to repent of it? Be wise and gain understanding. There is no favor or grace for one who scoffs at sin. Instead of mocking at sin, choose the righteous path of truth and obtain favor with God, now and forevermore.
Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:17)
You can understand God’s will for your life. This verse equates understanding with wisdom, for it is “unwise” not to understand the Lord’s will. You will not find and understand the Lord’s will by examining your feelings, your experiences or your desires. You will find it in the Bible. But you must have the wisdom to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (Col. 3:16). It is foolish to hear God’s word but not do it (Jas. 1:23-24). “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (Jas. 1:25). Be wise. Understand the will of the Lord. Put His word in your heart, obey it, and be blessed.
7 The works of His hands are verity and justice; All His precepts are sure. 8 They stand fast forever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. 9 He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever: Holy and awesome is His name. 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever. (Psalm 111:7-10)
Every work of God is true, just and sure. What God does is always according to truth and altogether upright. You can develop wisdom in your life by trusting God’s precepts, revering His name and doing His will. Do not argue against the work of God or His sure and certain precepts; they are for your good. Instead, fear the Lord and “do His commandments” that you may obtain “good understanding”. God redeems His people who fear Him, keep His commandments and praise His great works.
A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart. (Proverbs 18:2)
In yesterday’s “Tips” from Proverbs 18:1 we observed how the pride of selfish desire isolates a person from the wise judgment of God. To this Solomon adds the simple observation that a person who has no interest in gaining understanding is a fool. This is the person who always knows what is best and has little time and interest to hear alternative possibilities. This person is not equipped to increase in knowledge and wisdom; he is all about “telling” what he thinks (“expressing his own heart”). This person is the receptacle of all wisdom (and if you don’t think so, just ask and he will tell you!) This is but another example of how pride prevents a person from humbly accepting the understanding that is found in God’s word. “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Prov. 2:6). Delight in the wisdom of God’s word and not the sound of your own voice.