Wisdom is something that most people want more of in their lives. We understand the importance of making wise decisions today in order to have a better future. But where does wisdom come from? And how do we get it?
First, understand that God grants us the spirit of wisdom & revelation. In fact, Proverbs 9:10 says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. So if we want to grow in the characteristic of wisdom, we need to start by honoring and respecting God.
Many people think that wisdom and understanding are the same things, but they’re not. They are related, but they’re different. Think of it this way:
Wisdom = how to do something; applying knowledge
Understanding = deeper knowledge about something
So what does wisdom really look like? Well, the opposite of wisdom is folly or foolishness. The book of Proverbs (which was written by King Solomon, the wisest man on the planet) has a lot to say about fools and how to not be foolish. Alternatively, the wisdom of God is how God perceives something and to know His mind about a subject; this is achieved through intimacy with Him.
Then in 1 Corinthians 12, we learn about the supernatural gifts of Holy Spirit which include words of knowledge and words of wisdom. How do these differ? Think of it this way:
Word of Knowledge = supernatural info that I shouldn’t know
Word of Wisdom = to know how to accomplish something (like a word of knowledge)
Remember, having knowledge, information, or education is not same as wisdom; wisdom does not mean intelligence. It’s about applying the knowledge that we have.
Walking Out Wisdom
To be wise is to know what God knows and to walk the way God wants us to walk. We should be able to be people of wisdom in moments when we need His direction or guidance. In fact, it’s wisdom to ask God and not to make a decision in our own understanding because His ways are higher than ours, and His thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9).
This requires us to lay down our pride and declare our dependency on the Lord, acknowledging our need for His mind and His wisdom. It’s about knowing how God operates and how He sees things – obtaining His point of view in a situation.
James 3:13-18 gives a beautiful definition of how we can know the difference between wisdom from above and earthly wisdom. Verse 17 explains, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.”
Lessons from King Solomon
God is a jealous God – He wants you wholly and intimately.
Solomon was excited to build a temple for God. It had been his father David’s desire to build it, but God planned for Solomon to accomplish it. God stressed the importance of remaining devoted to Him and not worshiping other gods (1 Kings 9:1-9), and at first, Solomon heeded His instructions.
God required Solomon’s wholehearted devotion and loyalty, and He still requires that of His people today. He’s a jealous God, and He won’t compete with other things in our lives. Solomon, despite his enormous wisdom, missed this.
In 1 Kings 11:9, we learn that God values when He has visited us. God spoke to Solomon directly, but Solomon didn’t value the intimacy God showed. God was hurt and angry because Solomon turned his heart away from Him. God treasures when He has interaction with us, and we should treasure the intimate times we have with Him too.
We can bring God glory through wisdom.
In 1 Kings 10:1-9, the Queen of Sheba was thoroughly impressed by Solomon’s kingdom. She attributed his success to God’s blessings; she was amazed by the buildings, the food, and even the way that the people were dressed.
This shows us that the glory of the Lord can be revealed by how we do things, the way we organize our home, how we take care of people, and even how we clothe ourselves. These are all different aspects of wisdom.
Guard against temptation.
Even though Solomon was extremely wise, he was still susceptible to the enemy’s temptation (1 Kings 11:1-4), and he gave in to this weakness instead of resisting it and remembering what God required of him. Solomon started out wholeheartedly devoted to God, but he didn’t persevere. We must be determined to persevere and not succumb to temptation. Our relationship with God must be more important than anything that would try to overtake us.
Solomon’s heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord as his father David was. Remember, David made a LOT of mistakes, but his heart was wholly God’s. We must decide to be wholly surrendered, wholeheartedly God’s, never turning to the right or left.
Do we remember the Lord and what He said? Solomon didn’t.
One key to wisdom is that we remember the Lord and our relationship with Him because He treasures it. Solomon forgot the good things God did for Him along with the warnings God gave him. We all have the tendency to forget God, but we are commanded to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33).
We need to remember our encounters with God and treasure them. Keep a journal of some kind so that you can look back and remember what God said to you and did for you. At some point, Solomon dismissed what God said because he married hundreds of women. And these foreign women began to influence Solomon’s heart and turn it away from God and toward idols. But we must remember the Lord and all He’s said and done. We have to be in the word, eating, breathing and living it with all our hearts.
Jesus is Wisdom
Finally, we learn in Luke 2:52 that Jesus grew and increased in wisdom, and so should we! Colossians 2:2-3 tells us that “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” are hidden in Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:18-31 explains how the gospel is the wisdom of God even though it seems foolish to the world. In fact, verse 25 states that “the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” So if you want to grow in wisdom, work on your relationship with the One who is wisdom Himself.
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