Prior to my conversion, I had never given wisdom a second thought. But once I started reading the Bible, I became very intrigued and interested in wisdom. This is because it is mentioned often in the Bible.
In fact, the five books right in the middle of the Bible comprising Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs are known collectively as Wisdom Literature. The Book of Proverbs especially has a lot to say about this attribute, and in reading Proverbs, one cannot help but to covert wisdom.
After all, the blessings of wisdom are bountiful — everything in fact that one would need and want in life! Among the rewards of wisdom are “riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity” (Proverbs 8:18), and life and favour from God (Proverbs 8:35-36, 9:11).
But what exactly is wisdom? A common definition for it is the ability to use knowledge and experience properly to make sound judgments and good decisions. But wisdom is actually much richer than just the proper application of knowledge and experience.
According to the Bible, wisdom gives us proper insights into life (Proverbs 9:6). It is associated with attributes such as prudence, discernment, unbiased judgment, self-knowledge, diligence, self-control, humility and benevolence.
Instead of being anxious over many things in life, a better occupation of our mind is to pursue wisdom. If we were to seek to live our lives with wisdom instead of worrying about what tomorrow holds or what could go wrong, we will not only be rewarded with a happier and more successful life but we will also be a greater blessing to the world.
How can we grow in wisdom? The Bible says, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of God is understanding (Proverbs 1:7, 9:10). Wisdom, then, begins with a reverent relationship with God. As we get to know God more and honour him, our wisdom increases. In fact, wisdom is an attribute of the Spirit of the Lord. Hence, to be led by his Spirit is to walk in wisdom.
Wisdom is also a gift of God. God wants to give us wisdom (James 1:5). But in order to receive it, we must desire it. Our attitude is an important key to our ability to receive wisdom. It is likely to elude us if we are double-minded for it cannot be possessed by those who do not count it precious. Unfortunately, we often undervalue this critical virtue, and hence, fail to avail ourselves to it, albeit perhaps unintentionally.
Mockers and the wicked, the Bible tells us, forfeit wisdom, while the discerning and righteous add to their wisdom. If we price wisdom highly, we will prioritise it over our many distracting pursuits and misplaced commitments.
Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.Proverbs 8:10-11, NIV
There is also a tendency for us to confuse knowledge with wisdom. One can be knowledgeable without being wise. And this has indeed become the agony of our current world. The internet has opened up a world of knowledge, and many now consider themselves knowledgeable and qualified way beyond their education, training or experience in life. Potentially, an abundance of knowledge could lead to the demise of wisdom, if we can’t differentiate between them.
The lack of wisdom is disastrous for our lives. Foolishness harms us and the hatred of wisdom results in death (Proverbs 8:35-36, 9:18). Knowledge puffs up and folly is often loud and showy, and both can tragically be mistaken for wisdom.
True wisdom is gaining God’s insights into life and diligently applying them. Therefore, studying and meditating on God’s Word is a great way to get more wisdom (Psalm 19:7). The counsel of the wise also adds wisdom to us. This, in fact, is the very thesis of the Book of Proverbs (Proverbs 1:1-6).
Valuing wisdom, praying for it, walking in the Holy Spirit and Scripture, being teachable and most of all, revering God are sure ways to multiplying wisdom in our lives. We are purposed as God’s beloved to grow in wisdom. It is a noble desire and a great pursuit to grow in this godly attribute!