Tag Archives: getting wisdom

Gaining Wisdom

I was discussing the importance of mentorship with a group. While I was debriefing, a gentleman raised his hand. He said, “So I need to find someone who has been here in my position for a long time so I can get knowledge from them?” I told him that was almost it. I explained that it wasn’t really knowledge he should be seeking from the mentor. What he needs to be seeking is wisdom. You can get knowledge from just about anywhere, and knowledge is good to have. However, knowledge doesn’t really help you if you don’t know what to do with it. Wisdom gives you insight on how to make the best decisions with the knowledge you gain.

In 1 Kings 10, Solomon was visited by the Queen of Sheba. She had heard how wise he was and wanted to see for herself. She observed how his servants and palace were organized and run. She also came prepared with lots of questions hoping Solomon would mentor her a bit. After he answered her questions, she said he was even more wise than what she had heard. Then, in verse 8 she said, “How happy your people must be! What a privilege for your officials to stand here day after day, listening to your wisdom!” (NLT). A Queen was a bit jealous of the commoners who had the opportunity to listen and learn from his wisdom each day.

In Proverbs 5:11 Solomon wrote, “For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it.” Our world has given this kind of value to knowledge instead of wisdom. More and more people are seeking knowledge over wisdom, but you and I can’t do that. We must place a high value on godly wisdom rooted in His Word. We must seek out people who are more wise than we are and learn from them. Solomon also said that if you want to be wise, you must walk with the wise (Proverbs 13:10). Look around at the people God had placed in your life. Who can you ask to mentor you and give you wisdom? Be prepared with situations and questions when you meet with them. God desires that we gain wisdom. It’s time we were proactive in getting it.

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Listening To The Wise

Have you ever heard anyone speak that just blew your mind? For me, it was John Maxwell. I remember the first time I heard him speak. I was at a conference where he was one of the keynote speakers. When he started speaking, it was one wisdom bomb after another. I was furiously taking notes trying to capture it all. My friend and I kept looking at each other’s iPads to see what we missed. For an hour and a half, I did my best to try to keep up knowing that there was no way I could absorb everything he was saying. My only hope was to capture what he was saying in my notes and read it all again and again to try to understand it all. I later heard someone describe that hour and a half as trying to drink wisdom from a firehose. I thought it was the perfect analogy.

In 1 Kings 3, Solomon was visited by God in a dream and asked him what he would like to be given. Solomon recognized his youth and inexperience, as well as the gravity of trying to be the ruler of God’s chosen people. He asked for wisdom to rule well. God was pleased with that answer and gave him more wisdom and understanding than anyone else. It was quickly shown off by his decision to split the baby in half to determine who its real mother was. When word got out about that, people took notice. He began to compose proverbs, songs, and openly discussed many topics. Then, in 1 Kings 4:34, it says, “Kings all over the world heard of his wisdom and sent people to listen to him” (GNT). It got me to thinking, “Who am I listening to? Who are the wise people in my life that have been blessed by God to speak wisdom? Am I taking time to seek them out in order to listen and learn from them?” What about you? Have you answered these thought about these questions yet?

Proverbs 13:20 says, “If you want to grow in wisdom, spend time with the wise. Walk with the wicked and you’ll eventually become like them” (TPT). Your parents were right. You will become like those you are around. I would hear, “If you want to fly with eagles, you can’t spend your time on the ground walking around with turkeys.” It’s time for you to identify the eagles that God has placed in your life, take the initiative and fly up to where they are. One thing I’ve learned about the wise, they don’t hoard the gift they’ve been given. They freely give it out to those who seek to be around them. What they won’t do is seek you out to give it to you. It’s up to each one of us to make time to have godly wisdom poured into our life. If you can’t identify anyone, or you’re too shy to seek them out and ask for it, then read books by wise people. People of uncommon wisdom are a fountain of information and understanding. Are you thirsty enough to take a drink, even if it feels like it coming from a firehose?

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I remember when my son was younger and tried to build the tallest towers with his blocks. He would get to a certain height every time and the tower would fall. He would get upset, but try again over and over. I kept waiting to see if he would learn from his mistakes. I then told him to use the larger blocks at the base. He tried it, but it still fell before it achieved the height he wanted it to. After several attempts and high frustration, I then told him to make the base bigger. He didn’t understand, so I showed him. He didn’t like that because we didn’t have enough blocks to make the tower high enough then. I told him he could do this and have a shorter tower that would stand or do it the other way and it would keep falling. Either way, the only way to make it work was to build the foundation right.

Have you ever tried to build something that failed or didn’t last? I’m talking about a life, a family, a marriage or business. No matter what you did, it would fall apart. Did you learn from it or did you just get frustrated and blame everyone else? When my tower fell, I did those things, but I also looked inwardly. I knew there were things about myself that needed to change when I got the opportunity to try again. I also prayed for wisdom in how to be a better husband, and later a better father. I asked God to help me be the husband my wife needed instead of asking Him to make her the wife I needed. I asked for wisdom in how to be the spiritual head of the house and to help me lay the foundation for a marriage and family to last.

Proverbs 24:3 says, “Through [skillful and godly] wisdom a house [a life, a home, a family] is built, And by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation]” (AMP). We acquire skill and wisdom from learning through our mistakes. We have to seek help and instruction from others who have the wisdom or skill we need. Neither of these things come without a lot of work. It also takes humility to admit we don’t know everything. Our desire to succeed in these areas we want to grow must be greater than our pride. It’s not weakness to admit you need help. It’s not weakness to admit you can’t do it on your own. It’s wisdom that seeks out more knowledge and skills in being able to build a life, a marriage, a family or business that lasts. If everything has fallen apart, seek wisdom in how to rebuild. God often uses destruction in His creative and growth purposes. He can use your failures as stepping stones to success.

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Seeking Godly Guidance

When you’re in over your head, who do you seek guidance from? I’ve made a few of these calls, and I get a few of these calls from time to time. Each time I’m talking with someone who is asking for guidance, I immediately start praying, “God, give me wisdom. Give me the right words that will help them make the right choices. Give them the courage to make the hard choices necessary. Amen.” I know that my wisdom is flawed, but God’s wisdom is perfect. He sees the whole picture and knows what they need to do. Too often we seek His guidance, or other godly guidance late in our journey rather than at the beginning.

In the books of Chronicles and Kings, you can read about many of the early kings of Israel and Judah. In almost every case, the writer quickly tells you whether they were a godly King or whether they did things that were evil in God’s sight. There were a couple Kings who took the throne when they were kids. In at least two of the cases, they were heavily influenced by godly people. They were taught and encouraged to lead with godly principles. They also continued to seek God’s will and direction for their nation as they ruled. Because they followed God’s plan, they prospered during their reign.

2 Chronicles 26:5 says, “And as long as the king sought guidance from the Lord, God gave him success” (NLT). That’s an important lesson for us to learn. If you and I will seek God’s guidance and wisdom, He will give us success in the things we do. God loves to give us wisdom, but it’s our choice whether to follow it or not. The path God gives is rarely the easy path and requires us to make tough decisions. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to us, but remember, He’s not looking at what you see now. He’s looking ahead to the parts of the road you can’t see. The guidance He gives is based on His plan for you, and we know He has good plans for each of us. No matter where you are in your journey, there’s still time to start seeking God’s guidance.

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Seeking Godly Wisdom

We live in an interesting time. For the first time in the history of the world, people value knowledge over wisdom. They are two very different things though. Knowledge is all about what you know. Wisdom is how you use knowledge. I like to tell my son, “Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, not a vegetable. Wisdom is not putting in a fruit salad.” Knowledge is gained through learning (or in today’s world, Googling), but wisdom is learned through making mistakes or learning from other’s mistakes. To value knowledge over wisdom is very dangerous, and I believe it will have serious repercussions on the future.

The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon, who is considered the wisest person to ever live. He recognized early on after becoming king that knowledge would on,y take him so far as a ruler. He asked God for wisdom in how to lead his people and God opened the flood gates. His example is one you and I should follow. Knowledge is good, but we need godly wisdom in how we steward everything God has given us. God imparts wisdom to those who ask because He values wisdom and He has plenty to give us.

Proverbs 2:6-7 says, “For the LORD gives [skillful and godly] wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores away sound wisdom for the righteous [those who are in right standing with Him]” (AMP). Just like parents on earth want to give their children the wisdom to make the best decisions in life, God wants to give wisdom to us as His children. All we have to do is go to Him in prayer and ask Him to help us make the best decisions in our relationships, our finances and in our choices. He has a storehouse full of it to give out once we seek it.

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An Understanding Heart

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

Ever since I was a child, I’ve been taught that Solomon asked God for wisdom. I tried looking up the scripture where he asked God for “wisdom”, but the Bible doesn’t put it that way. In I Kings 3:9, Solomon asked God for an understanding heart so he could judge the people well. In essence he was asking for wisdom, but as I dug deeper, he wanted more than just wisdom. He wanted to do well in God’s sight and to care for His people.

When I looked up the word “understanding” as it was used in this context, it had three meanings. The first was to hear. Solomon wanted a heart that could hear not only God, but what others were saying too. He didn’t want to just rely on what his ears heard, he wanted to really hear what people meant. Wisdom comes in not just hearing what is spoken. It comes when we can discern the true intent of the words spoken.

The next meaning of “understanding” was to listen. Almost everyone is born with the ability to hear, but only a few ever learn to listen. I believe that God is always speaking to us. We hear Him, but we don’t really listen to what it is that He’s telling us or showing us. Solomon was concerned about the ability of his heart to listen to God. He wanted God to know that he understood the only way to truly govern the people well would be if He could listen to His voice.

The third meaning of “understanding” in this context is to obey. It’s not enough to hear or listen to God. We have to obey what He tells us. I’m sure that Solomon had been told of Saul’s disobedience and of God’s response in I Samuel 15:22. Obedience is better than sacrifice. God is more concerned with our obedience to His word than in our obedience to religious rituals. Anyone can walk through the motions of a ritual, but only the wisest among us obey a God at all costs.

Wisdom was a by product of what he truly wanted. Hearing the voice of God, listening to what He really said and acting on it from his heart is what made Solomon truly wise. You and I can experience that wisdom. Solomon’s request for an understanding heart is one that you and I can ask for today. James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you.” God would love to give each of us the wisdom that comes from an understanding heart.

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Seeking Wisdom

My son recently asked me, “Dada, do I have a lot of knowledge?” I replied, “Yes, for someone your age. What you really want though is wisdom.” He then wanted to know what wisdom was and how to get it. I explained that knowledge was easy to come by, but wisdom only comes in one of two ways. You can gain it from learning from your mistakes or God can give it to you. Since we all make mistakes, we all have the opportunity to gain wisdom. The problem is that most of us would rather beat ourselves up over failure rather than to see it as a place to grow.

Most of us are familiar with the story of Solomon. When he became king of Israel, God let him ask for one thing. Solomon asked for wisdom to rule the people, and God blessed him for that request. I believe you and I can ask for that too. This world is getting more complicated by the minute, and Christians are in need of wisdom now more than ever. Pray that God would give you wisdom over your finances, your relationships and how you share the Gospel. I believe God will honor that prayer.

Here are some Bible verses on wisdom.

1. Be devoted to one another with [authentic] brotherly affection [as members of one family], give preference to one another in honor; never lagging behind in diligence; aglow in the Spirit, enthusiastically serving the Lord; constantly rejoicing in hope [because of our confidence in Christ], steadfast and patient in distress, devoted to prayer [continually seeking wisdom, guidance, and strength], contributing to the needs of God’s people, pursuing [the practice of] hospitality.

ROMANS 12:10-13 AMP

2. For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Proverbs 2:6 NLT

3. Get wisdom—it’s worth more than money; choose insight over income every time.

Proverbs 16:16 MSG

4. Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people].


5. But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all.

James 1:5 GNT

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Fly With The Wise

I’ve had the privilege of hearing John Maxwell speak and teach several times in person. As he speaks, I’m furiously trying to capture as many notes as I can. After the first time I heard him speak, I was blown away at the wisdom and depth of his teaching. I heard someone liken that lesson to drinking wisdom from a firehouse. There was no way to capture it all. I made sure that I had the opportunity to hear him at other events because there was so much to gain when he spoke.

Each of us have heard the story how Solomon famously asked for wisdom when God asked him what he wanted. God was so pleased that he didn’t ask for fame, riches or long life that He gave all of those things to him. I Kings 4 tells of how his wisdom spread and also of the things he understood. Then in the last verse it says, “And Kings from every nation sent their ambassadors to listen to the wisdom of Solomon” (NLT). They recognized how much there was to gain from listening when he spoke. 

In Proverbs 13:20 Solomon wrote, “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” He was letting telling us to look at who we are around and listening to. The people that we associate with have a lot to do with whether or not we are increasing in wisdom or not. Do the people around you add value to you? Are you learning from them? These are questions each of us should be asking ourselves. 

I often tell people that it’s hard to soar with eagles when you’re walking around with turkeys. Are you looking for opportunities to learn to fly? Are you associate with those who are flying? Or are you grounded because the people around you are satisfied with staying on the ground? The ones we associate with determine how high we can fly. Choose to fly with the wise so that you can become wise. Your life will be better off and others will choose to be near you to hear what you have to say. 


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Walking With The Wise

Recently, I was sitting in a room with several other ministers. One by one they began to share their heart and the things they are doing. I began to feel insecure and fear came over me because my turn was coming up. I panicked and wanted to leave. It’s not often I feel this way. The next morning, a friend sent me a video from John Maxwell where he discussed how being around people who are better than you is a good thing. It put things back into perspective.

Proverbs 13:20 tells us that if we want to be wise, we must keep company with the wise. To be better at anything, including become more wise, we are going to have to be around people who are better than us. We have to put ourselves in position to admit we’re not the best at something, become vulnerable, and then take time to learn from them. Each of us have room for growth, but that only happens when we are around people who are further along than we are.

Here are some Bible verses on wisdom.

1. The value of wisdom is more Than coral or crystal or rubies.
Job 28:18 GNT

2. The [reverent] fear of the LORD [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the instruction for wisdom [its starting point and its essence]; And before honor comes humility.

3. Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.
Proverbs 4:7 NLT

4. Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.
James 3:17-18 MSG

5. But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all.
James 1:5 GNT

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Getting Wisdom

Wisdom is something each of us should desire to have in our lives. It helps us to make the best decisions regarding our life and actions. Google defines it as, “The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement.” It’s more than just knowledge; it’s how to use your knowledge in the most effective way. There are people with a lot of knowledge that have very little wisdom. It’s important that you and I get wisdom.

In my life, I’ve only found three ways to get wisdom: praying to God for it, asking those more experienced for theirs and making mistakes. Of those three, praying to God for wisdom seems to be the easiest for me to do. God knows how flawed I am and where the limits of my wisdom lie. There are no secrets between us because He sees everything. I rely on James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally” (NKJV) I’ve asked Him many times in my life for it, and I’m sure I’ll ask many more.

Asking others for their wisdom seems to be harder. As I get older, I want to prevent those coming behind me from making the same mistakes I did. I try to offer unsolicited insight and wisdom to them, but just like I wouldn’t listen when wisdom was offered to me, they won’t listen either. Pride and stubbornness stand in the way of getting wisdom from other people. We’d rather fail than to ask someone else for their help. When we fail, we get wisdom the costliest way of all. At a minimum, it costs us double the time, double the effort, and double the energy to get what we could have received freely.

As discussed earlier, getting wisdom is more important than getting knowledge. Proverbs 16:16 says, “Get wisdom—it’s worth more than money; choose insight over income every time” (MSG). Getting wisdom should be more important to us than getting money. That’s a powerful statement in today’s world. Money comes and goes, but wisdom stays with you a lifetime. If God or others are willing to freely give you wisdom that’s worth more than money, sit down and listen. It’s a lot cheaper and easier than getting it the hard way.

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