Imagine someone who is wise. What do you see? It might be an older person with white hair. It could be someone you know who has great advice. Maybe you’re just imagining Yoda! Either way, the wisest people in our lives are usually the ones who have little to say, but when they do speak, they always share nuggets of wisdom. But what does wisdom actually look like?
“Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” -Plato
Throughout this series as we’ve looked at fools in Proverbs, our entire purpose has been to learn to apply the fear of the Lord to understand wisdom. So, this week, we’re talking about wisdom.
WEEK FOUR: WISDOM
The wisest people use words to build others up, not to tear them down. They keep promises, are faithful and trustworthy. They’re honest. They’re people who think before they speak. Being wise doesn’t necessarily mean you know everything though. While knowledge is the acquisition of information, wisdom is the application of knowledge. Wisdom is taking what we’ve learned and applying it to our lives.
Let’s head back to Proverbs 1:7, where we learned, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Based on this verse, fearing the Lord is the key to attaining wisdom, but the problem is our society doesn’t fear the Lord anymore. People are living life for themselves and they don’t really care what God thinks anymore. They’ve adopted man’s wisdom instead of God’s wisdom.
MAN’S WISDOM VS. GOD’S WISDOM
In the Bible, these types of wisdom are also known as “wisdom from below” and “wisdom from above.” Check out the chart to the right to see the differences between these types of wisdom.
Do you see a theme in this table on the “From Below” column? The same thing happened last week when we talked about our words. When we have earthly wisdom, it’s all about us. We’re our own authority, not God. Our lives are founded on us, and not on Who created us. Our motivation is to fulfill ourselves instead of pleasing the Lord. And the result is strife, bitterness, and envy, rather than the peace that God has for us.
James 3:16-17 gives an even more clear picture of these two types of wisdom: “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, fill of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”
WALKING IN GOD’S WISDOM
Proverbs 13:20 says, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” Your community says a lot about you, and your community truly impacts your life. We have got to be in community with one another so we can encourage each other and grow in Godly wisdom together.
Hebrews 10:24-25 - “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the matter of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Understand that man’s wisdom is foolishness
We have an obligation to fight against the world’s wisdom and to live in God’s wisdom. In 1 Corinthians 1:18-20 tells us that God makes the wisdom of this world look foolish. Compared to His wisdom, it is a joke.
Know what true wisdom is
Continuing in 1 Corinthians 1:24-25, we learn that Christ is the power and wisdom of God. The wisdom of God can be accessed through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
In Proverbs 8:12, 17 it says, “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge and discretion… I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me.” Seek wisdom diligently. Pray for it. Ask God to give you His wisdom and to help you turn from the wisdom this world has to offer, because it will bring nothing but destruction.