What exactly is wisdom? I once heard that wisdom is age plus experience. That sounds good but then I look back and I’ve known some pretty wise young people and some pretty dense foolish 80 year-olds. So, that doesn’t always hold water. I’ve also heard that wisdom is the act of making the right choices. The right choices can only be made from learning from making the wrong choices. That makes more sense. Of course that goes back to age plus experience in some ways. But wisdom, I think, might be a bit more than that. Wisdom must be sought as much as it is given.
What exactly is wisdom then? There’s wisdom and then there’s Biblical wisdom. These are a bit different I think. Wisdom is the usual age plus experience making the wrong and right choices. Biblical wisdom is beginning with the fear of God. Fear being not a scared of God but in deep awe and respect of God.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7
Wisdom comes not just from experience (don’t get me wrong, experience is important) but it comes straight from God himself.
“For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6
James says it well:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives it generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5
And that begins what I like to call the art of seeking wisdom. Seeking wisdom begins by asking for it from God. It begins with a deep respect and awe of God who speaks forth wisdom. In fact, wisdom was present when God made the heavens and the earth:
“By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place” Proverbs 3:19
Wisdom is part of creation. Human beings were made to have this wisdom. At the same time, we need to seek out true biblical wisdom, the wisdom of God. And this can be hard and easy all at the same time.
It begins by asking. Simple enough. Ask for wisdom. In 2 Chronicles (a book of the Bible hardly anyone ever reads like Leviticus) God offers King Solomon anything he desires. Solomon asks for wisdom instead of riches or power. God grants Solomon great wisdom. Now here’s the kicker. Solomon used his wisdom for good and for God. For a while. And then it all went down hill because he didn’t continue to seek out wisdom from God. He sat on his laurels with the wisdom he had and didn’t continue to seek it. And in the end, he became a jerk who had a majority of the kingdom torn away from his son after Solomon died. Not cool.
That’s the part about seeking wisdom. You have to constantly seek it. You have to constantly look towards God for it. That is part of the art of seeking wisdom. Wisdom never ends. It is always continuing. There is always something more to learn. There is always growth needed. And someone who is seeking wisdom understands this. And so they continue to seek God, asking Him for His wisdom.
In seeking wisdom, we need to seek God first. We can seek God through Jesus who is the way, the truth, and the life. It is through Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit that wisdom and knowledge can come to us. And when God gives it, He gives it abundantly but we have to truly seek it with all our heart.
James says something interesting in 1:6-8 right after writing about seeking wisdom:
“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” James 1:6-8
So when you seek wisdom, truly seek it from God. Don’t allow yourself to chase after other things and be tossed in the waves of doubt. Don’t be double-minded but single-mindedly laser focused on seeking wisdom from God. And when we do, He will give it to you. But seek it. Constantly seek it from God through Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Where are you seeking wisdom right now? How can you seek it from God at this moment?