Tag Archives: Wisdom

This Is Wisdom (Use Discretion)

My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.
Proverbs 3:21‭-‬23

Stumbling and Falling

The late second decade of this millennium has been tumultuous. Businesses are shuttering doors every week. Politicians are stepping down in disgrace. Actors are having careers crumble over night. Even pastors and ministry leaders are losing positions and status in shame.

Movements are continuously rising to combat [real or percieved] injustices. Tensions run high between governments, businesses, institutions, the press, and societies to the point that no one is safe from saying anything without trouble brewing.

Why?

As a whole, we have not kept wisdom, and discretion has long since been discarded.

Sure, some people think they are being discreet, but without sound wisdom. Now, “Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” (Luke 12:3)

And this is what we see today.

A society that lacks wisdom and discretion – that lacks common sense but says and does whatever seems right (or right to them) – is a society of increasing chaos and depravity.

What then shall we do?

Especially as Christians, we should turn to God, live wisely, and use discretion. We do not need to voice our opinion about everything. At least not right away. A friend of mine has a 72-hour rule for major events: wait 72 hours before commenting to make sure more facts are available.

We would be wise to use a similar tactic in relationships – especially on social media!

We would be wise to do this with the news – that too often is merely sensationalism gossip, anymore.

We would be wise to set parameters for ourselves and our relationships.

Perhaps we can at least try to “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5, NIV)

This is necessarily hard, because it is hard getting over ourselves. We do not like confronting our sinful nature.

But that is wisdom.

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“With ALL Thine Heart”

Proverbs 3:5 is probably the most famous verse in all of chapter three. As a matter of fact, one post this week has already addressed it. 

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

However, one part is worth another look, if for no other reason than to remind us once again of something we should already know. 

“All” means all.  

How often do we say we trust God, but then fall back on our own knowledge, experience, and conscience when His leading seems to conflict with our understanding? We read His commands, sense the Spirit’s leading, but then doubt Him. 

There are parts of our hearts that don’t want to yield. They will fight, kick, and scream in order to have their way. The Lord will ask us to do something, only to have a part of us reply, “But my heart disagrees.”

Verse 6 tells us that when we let the Lord have control, He will “direct” our paths. That means He will make the paths of life straight, passable, smoother, and more direct. In other words, it may be the “straight and narrow,” but it will get you where you need to go without the damage to your suspension a rutted, pothole-filled highway may bring. Yet, how often we say, “My heart is telling me to go another way,” only to find ourselves beaten, scarred, busted, and way off track by the time we reach our destination. 

Point: Your heart is like an outdated GPS that will leave with flat tires, busted shocks, and more than a few stains on the upholstery. Why not give your heart to Jesus and let Him take the wheel? 

After all, He’s already been smoothing out the road. 


“My son…”

“My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments…” – Proverbs 3:1

In order to fully appreciate the first two words of Proverbs 3:1, you need to either be a loving parent or the child of one. I don’t know how else to put it.

But if you are not a parent, or if you have never experienced the love of a caring father, let me see if I can explain the emotion I sense in these opening two words.

I hear begging. I hear pleading. I hear crying.

I can feel the tenseness in the temples. I can feel the tightness in the chest. I can feel the weight on the shoulders that push one down to the floor.

I can feel the pressure put on knees as prayer is being offered up. I can feel the grip on the pen as it’s squeezed mid-sentence, the fingertips turning white as one searches for the right word to pen next.

My son…” It’s an address used 27 times in Proverbs; three times in this very chapter. They are the words of a parent who has been down the road of life, found the potholes, suffered the pain, and longs for nothing less than his children to avoid unnecessary suffering.

Can you put yourself in that position? Imagine knowing the worst that life has to offer: all of the people out there who want nothing more than to destroy your kids, the most precious people in your life, those gifts from God…and you’ve now got one shot to give them the best advice you know.

“My son!” “My daughter!” Do you have children? Do you ever wish you could know just for once that they were really, truly listening to what you are saying? You pray that they will enjoy long life and peace (v. 2), but the odds are they will forget what you tell them, so you say “tie this around your neck” (v. 3).

And yet, we have the Word of God…

…a letter from our Father…

How often we must break His heart!


It’s Not Natural

What Is Natural

Some things are not natural. Let’s start with a few things that are.

When humans are born, they have a tendency to be selfish and self-centered (have you been around babies?). As they age, the tendency remains, and with some, it becomes a regular habit. But of course, this is nothing but natural.

It is also natural for humans to do stupid stuff and get suckered by other humans – it happens all the time. The humans who do stupid and evil things love doing what they do so much they recruit others with less experience in life to do the stupid stuff for them, then laugh as they enjoy the evil of it all.

And it should go without saying, humans are lustful creatures. If they weren’t, 95% of all advertisers would go bankrupt.

Is it any wonder the prophet Jeremiah described the heart of man as “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9)?

What Is NOT Natural

The second chapter of Proverbs confirms all of the above, but it also shows that the antidote is something that is painful and runs completely contrary to humanity’s sense of self-preservation.

“When wisdom entereth into thine heart…” – Proverbs 2:10a

There is nothing – NOTHING – natural about heart surgery. There is absolutely nothing natural or pleasant about something piercing one’s chest cavity and entering that life-sustaining muscle, the beating of which we become very accustomed.

It is also unnatural for an evil, deceitful, and desperately wicked heart to yield to wisdom. Wisdom is unnatural; it must enter in.

But the surgery is elective, and the wise will choose – and live! But fools avoid it, choosing instead indiscretion, a lack of knowledge, and a perfumed deathbed in the house of the flatterer (Proverbs 2:11-18).

When Christ (the wisdom of God – 1 Cor. 1:24) enters your heart, life is supernatural (Romans 8:10)!


The Preciousness of Wisdom

Hello, Dear Reader. I am a rarity to this blog, but I have come to share with you some truths of Wisdom which I have gleaned.

Last Summer, I found myself in a particularly tough place in regards to dating relationships. The person I was with for a period of three months was someone of immoral character and rebellion. He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, so to speak, and I, being the naïve woman looking for a nice and caring fellow, fell into the trap of enticement.

During the last couple of weeks of my relationship, I was interested in reading Scripture, but it was rooted in how I wanted to prove to my parents that this person I spent time with was worth the time I had invested. I began to read through Proverbs for a short time, but once my relationship ended I began to have a bitterness fester within my heart due to some underlying problems with self-image and self-value.

I have always hated the possibility that one day I would live up to my middle name which means “bitterness,” yet that is exactly what I had become: a bitter young woman, full of rebellion against my upbringing. I spent a majority of my time during the last half of last year and the first part of this year in hate and corruption of the mind and heart, and the worst part was that I knew exactly how to remedy that pain I put myself through.

In a paper I wrote at the beginning of this semester, I stated:

“I know that God is real and loving and forgiving; I know with all certainty that He wants me to come to Him. Even so, I do not want the help that He has to offer my wounded and rotting spirit. I do not want to muster up the courage it takes to allow Him to scrape the putrid rot from my soul, just as a doctor must scrape and clean a burn victim. I do not want the comfort that He sends me through the gracious acts of others as they hold me and speak life into my heart. I do not want what I need. I want my own efforts to win over. Never have I understood so clearly how a dying man fights for his last breath – until now. I know that God is real, but I would rather trust my fingernails for security.” – The Strength of My Own Fingernails

Now, as I am recovering from this season of life, I can look at Scripture again with a refreshed mind and soul. Here is what I have learned from Proverbs 2:

Wisdom is:

  • A protector via discernment (v. 3)
  • A saving grace from wicked people (v. 12-19)
  • Something which only comes from the Lord (v. 6)
  • Something which must be sought out (v. 1-5)
  • Something which has value (v. 4)

Sterling Silver

In verse 4, Solomon refers to the value of Wisdom as being like that of the value of silver. This precious metal has been used in jewelry for thousands of years, including a piece which is now on my left ring finger. I wear a sterling silver band for several reasons, one of which to serve as a reminder that God’s Wisdom is something to be cherished. If only I had listened to the teachings of this Word and my parent’s concerns before taking my course of actions last year! I would have saved myself so much heartache and regret!

Wisdom is worth seeking out; it is a treasure to obtain. The catch is this: you must be willing to sacrifice your personal agenda in order to journey to find this treasure. It was only after I sacrificed my lifestyle and my hurt to Christ that I was able to access the Lord’s Wisdom again. If you want this treasure, it must be the only thing you seek.


The Protection of Wisdom

For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.” – Proverbs 2:6-8

God gives wisdom.

The first thing to realize is that He gives wisdom to all, regardless of faith or belief, as evidenced by people of all backgrounds who make wise decisions in this world.

This is why, in verses 7-8, he explains more deeply that He sets aside sound wisdom for the righteous, the saints of God.

To keep it simple, non-believers (those who do not believe in God or believe in a different god than that revealed in the Bible) become futile in their thinking. They believe and teach things that are contrary to God’s truth and even sound reason, and they bring others with them. (See Romans 1-3, 1 Corinthians 1)

For the faithful, God’s wisdom does three things:

  1. Shields (the buckler): We are protected from lies and deceit, because we know the truth and can see deception more clearly. Arguments against us fall flat.
  2. Guards (keeps): Truth is protected, because lies cannot hold up. Whereas a shield deflects, a guard holds back. I am reminded of a contrast of debates I saw in which one man had to keep coming up with answers because he did not rely on the Bible, but another man shot down his opponents initial questions by simply quoting the Bible (with brief, simple explanations as needed). There was no need to continually adapt to new attacks, because his initial, biblical answers ended the questioning.
  3. Supports (Preserves): God’s truth will always sustain us. We do not need to be concerned with future attacks, debates, or seemingly contradictory evidence. Nor do we need to worry about “slipping” in faith, word, or deed. We may stumble, but His truth remains for us to eternally fall on and hold us up. (See Matthew 10:16-20, Mark 13:9-11; Luke 12:8-12; John 14:26)

The ultimate sound wisdom given to the faithful – while helpful in fighting off the “wisdom of the world” – is that we will “understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.”

In other words, we will find the truth of Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sins, and everlasting life.


The End Result of Knowledge

Week Two – Chapter Two

Here we are in the second week of our new study (or thinking) through the book of Proverbs, and I am excited to share with you what the Spirit lays on my heart. When the other authors’ schedules clear, you will be enjoying a greater variety of “thought.” But until that happens, I am determined to keep the posts coming on a daily basis, even if I have to write them all.

However, I’m not exactly protesting; I love to read God’s word and share what I find! Every time I sit down with my Bible I learn something. Every time I sit down to write I receive a blessing. Really, it’s not a chore; it’s a joy.

Determined

Speaking of determined, the first four verses of Proverbs chapter 2 are full of language that describes someone who is determined to learn. Should Solomon’s son be one that listens to his words and takes his advice to heart, he will be the type of person whose appetite for knowledge and understanding is insatiable. For example, a genuine learner will do the following:

  • listen hard to wisdom
  • apply his heart to understanding
  • cry after knowledge
  • call out for understanding
  • seek and search, like as for silver or hidden treasure

Sounds like the perfect student, doesn’t it? Do you have that kind of desire to learn? Many people do, and they are usually the doctors, scientists, and entrepreneurs that make us all jealous of their success.

All it takes is determination.

What We Find

But what Solomon says we find when we diligently seek after knowledge is not what the modern mind assumes; as the wise person increases in knowledge and understanding, he better understands the fear of the Lord and the knowledge of God.

Proverbs 2:1-5 – My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, [and] apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, [and] liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as [for] hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. (emphasis mine)

There used to be scientists who, when they studied, gained a greater appreciation for the Creator.

“When I was young, I said to God, “God, tell me the mystery of the universe.” But God answered, “That knowledge is reserved for me alone.” So I said, “God, tell me the mystery of the peanut.” Then God said, “Well George, that’s more nearly your size.” And he told me.” – George Washington Carver

These days all we hear about are scientists, etc., who seek to learn only to prove to themselves that there is no God. They miss the point of learning and have no fear of the Lord, much less a greater understanding of the Creator and the mystery of His creation.

If there seems to be a void in your education, you may have been listening to the words of the wrong Solomon. The end result of a search for knowledge and understanding should be anything but atheism.