One of the things I hear most often from readers is that they are unsure what they should do and don’t know how to find out. Even if they think they know, they have no assurance it is the right thing, or at least something God would approve of.
It’s often asked in the question “how do I know God’s will?” Or “I wish I could be wise”. As you will see, every Believer has the opportunity to gain wisdom and exercise discernment. EVERY Believer. More on that in a moment, but first…
I’m not a proponent of thinking that there is ONLY ONE PERFECT CHOICE* for the questions we face and if you miss that “perfect will”, you’ve missed God’s blessing and His “best” for you. I believe that the more common reality is we are presented with a variety of choices and possibilities that range from bad to okay to great but rarely is there ONE perfect answer because that’s just not how life rolls at us. God does not abandon us because we make a “less than perfect” choice. He remains with us and to the degree are hearts are open, He uses our choices to teach us. We LEARN from whatever choice we make. You know, the “all thing work together for good” thing (Rom 8:28). Sometimes those lessons are more painful, sometimes more sweet.
*I’m not talking about where the Bible is perfectly clear about ONE way. Where God has made it abundantly clear there is only one choice, one standard or one correct way, there can be no compromise or equivocation.
Back to this idea of being wise. YOU, my fellow Believer, have God’s promises, resources and instructions on how to become wise… abundantly wise. Do you think we have a Father who is Perfect Wisdom yet leaves His children to stumble in uncertainty and confusion? May it never be.
Pretend you have an earthly father who you think is the WISEST, most loving and most discerning person you’ve ever known. Would he not be willing and anxious to pass on that wisdom to you? How would he know when you needed his advice? How would he communicate it to you? Would he give you a grudging taste of it, just enough to get you by? Or would he rain on you all the time and energy needed to convey to you as much wisdom as you could soak up?
If an earthly father would give you
lavish amounts of his wisdom,
how much more would a
Heavenly Father want to give the same?
If a sinful, flawed earthly father would have such a desire, how much more does our Heavenly Father wait with enthusiastic anticipation to DELUGE us with His wisdom if we will just ask, and then receive?
And that is the key. Ask. With that foundation, let’s break it down practically:
What Is Wisdom?
Most people have a vague idea what wisdom is but cannot specifically define it. Anything we cannot specifically define will not be as valuable or desirable as something we clearly understand. Let’s list a few bullet points that define wisdom:
- First and foremost, it is knowledge that proceeds from and is in agreement with God’s revealed mind (the Bible)
- Practical knowledge applied to our daily life
- Lessons learned and experience that helps us to live a more Godly life
- Godly discernment… having a foundation of Godly knowledge that allows us to know with conviction what is right, what is wrong… what is good, what is bad… what is worldly, what is Godly
Okay, those are my own definitions based on how I would explain it to anyone asking. Here are some of the more official definitions that I prefer:
- … the practical skill of coping with life (Prov. 1; 5; 11; 14), and the pursuit of a lifestyle of proper ethical conduct (Prov. 2:9-11 and throughout). Wisdom is also seen as belonging properly to God (Job 28), associated with creation (Prov. 8:22-31), and even identified with the Torah or Law (Ref. Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row, P., & Society of Biblical Literature. (1985). Harper’s Bible dictionary. Includes index. (1st ed.) (1135). San Francisco: Harper & Row.)
- ability to discern inner qualities and relationships : insight
- good sense : judgment
Wisdom originates with, emanates from and solely found in God. Look at the claims God makes about wisdom and consider that either these claims are true and our search for wisdom starts and ends with God, or God is a liar and we should dismiss Him altogether.
About wisdom and God:
- It is one of his attributes. 1Sa 2:3; Job 9:4.
- God’s wisdom is:
- Perfect. Job 36:4; 37:16.
- Mighty. Job 36:5.
- Universal. Job 28:24; Da 2:22; Ac 15:18.
- Infinite. Ps 147:5; Ro 11:33.
- Unsearchable. Isa 40:28; Ro 11:33.
- Wonderful. Ps 139:6.
- Beyond human comprehension. Ps 139:6.
- Incomparable. Isa 44:7; Jer 10:7.
- Underived. Job 21:22; Isa 40:14.
- The gospel contains treasures of. 1Co 2:7.
- Wisdom of saints is derived from. Ezr 7:25.
- All human wisdom derived from. Da 2:1.
- Wisdom is seen by GOD knowing:
- The heart. Ps 44:21; Pr 15:11; Lu 16:15.
- The actions. Job 34:21; Ps 139:2,3.
- The words. Ps 139:4.
- His saints. 2Sa 7:20; 2Ti 2:19.
- The way of saints. Job 23:10; Ps 1:6.
- The want of saints. De 2:7; Mt 6:8.
- The afflictions of saints. Ex 3:7; Ps 142:3.
- The infirmities of saints. Ps 103:14.
- The minutest matters. Mt 10:29,30.
- The most secret things. Mt 6:18.
- The time of judgment. Mt 24:36.
- The wicked. Ne 9:10; Job 11:11.
- The works of the wicked. Isa 66:18.
- Wisdom is found in:
Torrey, R. (1995, c1897). The new topical text book : A scriptural text book for the use of ministers, teachers, and all Christian workers. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos research Systems, Inc.
Wisdom and God are inseparable. Eternally effective wisdom cannot be found apart from Him. If you want wisdom, there is only one place, one Person where it can be found.
If you still don’t really understand wisdom, no worries… the next thing I’m going to talk about is HOW TO GET wisdom. I suppose you can ask God for the wisdom needed to understand wisdom, right?
Did You Ask?
One of the most important, practical and life changing verses in all of Scripture is:
Jas 1:5: 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. (NKJV)
Why? Because it is a direct promise from God that all we have to do is ASK, and God will give us wisdom. Not just a little morsel but an abundance of wisdom. Going back to my example above of the earthly father who longs for his children to WANT and ASK for his wisdom, how much more does God feel the same thing (to a perfect degree)?
IF YOU ASK, God will give you wisdom generously, abundantly… pressed down, shaken together and overflowing. He may do this though the counsel of others. He may give it to you through the teaching of other wisdom-filled Christians. He may impart it by providentially arranging a situation that teaches you the wisdom you’ve requested.
There are many circumstantial and experiential ways God imparts wisdom to His children (and I point out “his children” because this promise is not to unbelievers) but the primary way God gives us wisdom is through good, old fashioned….
Did You Search For It?
… searching the Word daily. Unfortunately, in this day and age of entertainment, sound bites, dynamic speakers, electronic stimulation and ear tickling, the hard work of daily Scripture searching is the least attractive option.
Oh, great… ANYTHING but having to
sit and read the Bible!
The Christian masses clamor for “the ten keys to wisdom”, a fast moving and entertaining DVD, a captivating and motivational speaker… a dynamic mentor or teacher at our beck and call (or at least inside our keyboard).
However, the timeless truth remains: wisdom is from God, and God’s Written Word is His primary revelation of that wisdom. Yes, through the Holy Spirit, God imparts wisdom to us directly to help us with specific circumstances, situations and dilemmas we face but that Holy-Spirit-given-specific-wisdom always has its foundation in the bedrock principles and instruction revealed in the penned Revelation (or the “byted” electronic Word!).
Ac 17:11: These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. (NKJV)
1 Co 2:6-7: However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, (NKJV)
Ro 11:33: Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! (NKJV)
Jud 25: To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen. (NKJV)
Remember, we find foundational principles, specific instruction and an assortment of wisdom written once and for all in Scripture. Where that wisdom does not reveal a SPECIFIC answer to our situation or question, we ask God for further Spirit-imparted wisdom to know how to apply those principles. For example:
- God reveals specific wisdom in the form of a command telling me I should not sleep* with someone until we are married (*why do they say “sleep with” when it’s talking about anything BUT sleeping?).
- God reveals specific wisdom about marrying a non-Believer.
- Beyond that, God does not specifically reveal WHO I should marry. That’s where I would ask God to for more wisdom to help me know if I’m choosing the right girl. God may direct me to other Bible passages that give me the description of Godly wife and the expectations of a Christian marriage. God may direct me to mature, married Believers who can give me an objective opinion.
I would then take the totality of all that and it would be the total sum of God’s generous, abundant and freely given wisdom for the question “who should I marry and should we wait until married to sleep together?”
All I had to do was ASK.
How Do You Know It’s From God?
We can easily deceive ourselves. How do we know the wisdom we have apparently come upon is really from God? Thought you would never ask.
He gives us a set of criteria to evaluate with. If your new “wisdom” looks like this, then it IS NOT from God:
James 3:15-16 (emphasis mine) – This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. (NKJV)
If it looks like this, it IS from God:
James 3:17 (emphasis mine) – But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. (NKJV)
When God promises to give us something, He doesn’t leave us without a sure way of knowing it comes from Him.
– – – – – – – – – – –
Wisdom. Every Christian has been promised an abundance by God. If you are not wise, it is because you have not availed yourself of God’s provision.
Wisdom. Ask God for it. Look for God to provide it through the Bible, through experiences and through other Believers.
Wisdom. Test it. Evaluate it according to James 3:15-17. If it is from God, thank Him, and get busy.
What are your questions about wisdom? You could ask me, but why not ask God?