The Christian must give time to studying the topic of wisdom as it has been revealed in the Scriptures. The Bible tells of how wisdom calls out in public places and seeks to make itself known. God has shouted from the rooftops in His Word. He has made His ways known to anyone who would stop and listen. But those who are too caught up in the pursuits of life will never learn the wisdom of God.
To learn the wisdom of God, there must be a shift in a man’s heart, for wisdom is not for everyone but only for those who prize it above all other riches.
What is wisdom?
The Word of Promise Audio Bible – New King James Version, NKJV: Complete Bible
The Bible has much to say about wisdom, but the Christian must know what it is if he would seek its benefit. One of the most helpful passages in defining wisdom is found in the Sermon on the Mount. At the end of Jesus’ sermon, the reader encounters two men. One of the men is foolish, and the other is wise.
The story is perfectly placed, not coincidental. Jesus had just given many practical truths for His listeners to ponder. Jesus showed them the way of love, how to pray, what it means to be salt and light, and more. Then He ends His sermon with the story of the two men.
He says, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock” (KJV, Matt. 7:24). Thus, the wise man is the one who hears the Words of God and applies them in his daily life.
On the other hand, there is the foolish builder of whom Jesus said, “And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand” (Matt. 7:26). Here we can see that the foolish man is the one who only hears the Word of God but does not do it.
Joseph’s Studio by Roman – Jesus with Lion and Lamb Figure, Renaissance Collection, 12″ H, Resin an
Therefore, the Christian must know that knowledge is not enough. Simply knowing what the Bible says does not make someone wise. It is the doer of the Word, James says, who will be blessed in his doing. James says elsewhere, “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom” (James 3:13). Simply put, while wisdom takes place in the heart first, it will also be evidenced in life.
The beginning of wisdom
Now that the Christian knows how to define wisdom, he can move on to the question, “How does one acquire wisdom?” The Bible makes it clear that wisdom and a fear of the Lord are inseparably linked. Scripture says, “The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom…” (Prov. 15:33). In the book of Job, one reads, “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding” (Job 28:28). While these verses are helpful, the reader must learn what God seeks to communicate, or they will have little value in his life.
Solomon wrote the Proverbs as wisdom literature. At the outset of His writing, he said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: and fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov. 1:7). Two things must be noted.
First, Solomon tells us that the fool despises wisdom and instruction. This is precisely what Jesus alluded to in the Sermon on the Mount when He spoke about the foolish builder who did not do what Jesus said but despised His instruction and therefore forsook wisdom. Second, Solomon tells us that a fear of the Lord is also the beginning of knowledge. Thus, a fear of the Lord gets someone in the door of God’s house.
The word translated “beginning” is the Hebrew word resit which speaks of the start. Thus, the Christian must start with a fear of the Lord if he desires to gain knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. The word resit also conveys the meaning of capstone; thus, the fear of the Lord is the essence of wisdom and knowledge.
But what does it mean to fear the Lord? When the Bible speaks of fearing the Lord, it speaks of recognizing God for Who He is and responding accordingly. It involves a reverence for God and thus consists of respect and awe. Out of reverence and awe, the Christian is bowed low in his heart and humble submission before God.
A fear of the Lord always results in humility before God and man, which is why God so often states His unique relationship toward the humble in clear terms. He gives grace to the humble but opposes the proud.
The believer should not settle for his current state but should constantly seek wisdom. While the Bible declares that wisdom calls out from the gates, Christians should equally call out for wisdom. Like two people seeking to find each other, they continue to cry out until, finally, a voice is heard.
After Solomon was proclaimed king, he noted the vastness of his kingdom and realized he needed help. So he prayed to the Lord and said, “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” (1 Kings 3:9).
Shortly after, God replied and said, “…Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself and long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and understanding heart…” (1 Kings 3:11-12). God was pleased with Solomon’s prayer and granted Solomon’s petition.
But was Solomon altogether unique? Should the Christian seek the Lord in prayer for wisdom to live a pleasing life in God’s sight? James says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed” (James 1:5-6). Knowing what the Bible says is only half the battle.
The Christian must have wisdom to apply the Bible to his life. There are too many variables in life for the Christian not to pray for wisdom. Instead, the Christian must make wisdom his constant cry.
James says that if the Christian believes God will give him wisdom, then wisdom will be his. Therefore, believe in God based on the truth of His Word that He will give wisdom in answer to prayer.
The fruit of wisdom
But what does wisdom look like? In closing, James can help the Christian yet again. He says, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17). Herein the Christian gains a glimpse of the wisdom of God.
He is also given a glimpse of Jesus, of Whom it is said, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). If one would desire to know if he were walking in the ways of wisdom, he need only to look to Jesus and ask himself, “Does my life look like His?”
Father, I thank You for the wisdom that You offer me. When I learn to walk according to Your Word, I am learning to walk in the ways of wisdom. Teach me to fear Your name and to look upon You with reverence. You are an amazing God, and You have given me the gift of prayer. Teach me to pray for wisdom regularly and make sure I live like Jesus. In Jesus’ name, Amen.