One of the greatest disparities between people today and every other generation in history is the amount of knowledge that is so readily available. In the past, knowledge was handed down from books and elders. Today, the internet has everything you need to know. I’ve used YouTube to learn how to do mechanical work on my car, cook dinner, learn about history and so much more. Living in the age of the internet has definitely increased people’s knowledge.
What it hasn’t done is increase wisdom. I believe because we have forgotten the difference between the two. Knowledge puffs up, but wisdom builds up. Since time began, wisdom has been passed down from elders. With all the knowledge available, we have forgotten to walk with the wise to gain wisdom. God’s desire is that you and I grow in wisdom. Remember, it was the Tree of Knowledge that brought sin into the world. God isn’t against us being knowledgeable, but He understands that knowledge without wisdom is dangerous.
Here are some Bible verses on wisdom.
1. Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe.
Proverbs 28:26 NLT
2. Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.
James 1:5 HCSB
3. Getting wisdom is the most important thing you can do. Whatever else you get, get insight.
Proverbs 4:7 GNT
4. Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old.
Job 12:12 NLT
5. He who walks [as a companion] with wise men will be wise, But the companions of [conceited, dull-witted] fools [are fools themselves and] will experience harm.
PROVERBS 13:20 AMP
My son is very inquisitive. He is always asking why or how. In most cases, the answer is above his ability to understand. I try to tell him to let it go, but sometimes he just keeps at it. So I tell him. His nose scrunched up, his eyes squint and he looks confused in those moments. Then he starts asking more questions trying to understand. I’ll just keep going down the rabbit hole with him until he gives up or I can think of an easy explanation that he can understand so we can move on.
I’m not so sure that we are so different when it comes to God. When things happen in our lives, we ask God why or how. What I’ve found is so many times the answer is beyond our ability to understand. It’s tough for us to let it go too. I’m a person that needs to know the why behind things before I do them. If I don’t know the why, I don’t understand the importance or urgency that needs to be behind what I’ve been asked to do.
When God asks me to go somewhere or do something, that’s usually my first question. For me, it doesn’t come from a lack of faith or disobedience. I just like to know why before I do something. With that in mind, Proverbs 20:24 speaks to me in regards to when God asks me to do something or go somewhere. It says, “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” (NLT)
If we believe God truly directs our steps, then we need to trust His reasons that are beyond our ability to understand. How much time and energy do we waste while we question God? I know He’s patient, it I bet sometimes He just wishes we’d simply obey and trust that He sees the bigger picture and is working out things for our good even though we can’t see it or understand it at the moment. We need to let go of trying to understand everything and just obey.
When I’m going through a certification at work, part of what I’m graded on is my ability to accept, receive and implement feedback. After I finish my part, I have to stand in front of a room of my peers and get feedback publicly. One of the hardest things to do is to not respond with, “But I did that,” or “My intent was…” Even if I disagree with the corrections, I have to come back the next day and implement them into my presentation. When I’m done with that one, the process starts over.
I can tell you that this process of receiving corrections and having to implement them has made me better at my job. It’s not easy to hear someone offer corrections to what you do. It’s even more difficult to change what you do based on their feedback. However, I’ve learned that advice given from another perspective is often what I need to get to my next level. If I keep doing things the way I’ve always done them, I’ll never improve.
King Solomon, the wisest person to ever live, understood this. Even though he had more understanding than anyone on the planet, he still valued advice and correction. In Proverbs 19:20 he penned, “Take good counsel and accept correction— that’s the way to live wisely and well” (MSG). You are never too smart, too wise or too good that you won’t need counsel or correction. Those who hear it, accept it and implement it will live wisely and well.
How well do you receive advice or correction? I can tell you it doesn’t come natural to us, but it is something we each need to adopt into our lives. Some of the greatest leaders I’ve worked for routinely stopped their process to invite advice or correction. They didn’t pretend to have it all figured out, nor did they continue down a path because that was what was successful last time. Inviting other people to give us advice, without explaining our reasoning back, accepting their advice and implementing will be difficult, but it’s the path to living well.
One of the cool things I got to do this year was to be a part of YWAM’s Houston Street Church. After we set up all the chairs, the homeless and street walkers started showing up. They were fed a meal and then given a church service. There was a booth set up called Kuts for Christ. They offered free hair cuts in exchange for the ability to pray for them. After the service, those still in attendance were able to stop by some tables and pick out some clothes. Every bit of it was free and designed to help this team build relationships to win them to Christ.
As I drove away that night, I couldn’t help but reflect on what I had just witnessed and been a part of. I saw society’s outcasts waiting to hug the couple that leads this church. I saw them lining up almost two hours before the event to get help physically and spiritually. I watched a team of volunteers and full time mission workers org together to do something special for people the rest of us look away from. I witnessed ministry taking place in an unexpected place.
It reminded me of Proverbs 19:17 that says, “If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord- and He will repay you!” (NLT) I know that these ministers aren’t doing this to get paid back by the Lord. They’re doing it as an expression of love. When I saw their faces light up as much as the people on the street, I knew this was more than a feeding and clothing program. Real relationships had been built. Real help was being given. Real ministry was being done.
One thing I’ve learned in life is that there’s always someone who has it worse than me. No matter what financial, emotional or physical state I’m in, I have the ability to help others less fortunate. In Matthew 25, Jesus said that when we do things for the poor and outcasts, we’ve done it to Him. The least of these are all around us every day. Take some time to look for them instead of away from them, and do something to help them. It doesn’t matter what they do with your help as long as you’re doing it unto the Lord.
Every one of us fall down in life at some point. Some of us need some help getting back up. There are times when we say, “If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.” None of us are promised an easy life. While some people may appear to have an easy life, the truth is that we all get hit hard enough in life that it knocks the wind out if us. None of us are exempt from that. The question is, who is around to help you back up?
Proverbs 24:16 says, “No matter how many times you trip them up, God-loyal people don’t stay down long” (MSG). There’s something God put in us that compels us to get back up. However, I can attest that you can be knocked down so many times that you begin to question whether or not you should get back up. If I’m going to be knocked down again, what’s the point of getting back up? It’s easier to stay down.
There are times in life where we feel like Rocky Balboa. We’re bloodied up from taking so many hits. We’ve been knocked down over and over again, but there’s something in us that drives us to get back up. Our friends may think it’s time to throw in the towel, but God doesn’t want that. He knows that if we will endure, we will grow stronger and that strength will develop character in our lives. When we go through struggles, especially the most difficult ones, God us there with us cheering us on to get back up.
Psalm 145:14 says, “God gives a hand to those down on their luck, gives a fresh start to those ready to quit.” We’ve got to remember we’ve got God in our corner. He’s there to make sure we don’t give up or stay down. He’s cheering us on to get back up and try again. We are promised victory if we will just get back up and keep going. I’ve had God have to give me a hand more times than I can count. He’s been faithful to give me a fresh start, and I’ll know He’ll do it for you. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. Get back up and keep fighting.
Not long ago, I was sitting at home stressing over everything on my plate. I was trying to figure out how and when I could get everything accomplished. Then the muscles around my eye started to spasm and I remembered that an eye doctor once told me once that that was usually due to stress. When I remembered it was due to stress, I began to think again about all I had to do. My eye began to spasm worse. I remembered I was stressed and started the process again.
I was in a perpetual, downward spiral. Ever been there? They’re hard to get out of. My wife came home and immediately noticed something was wrong. She asked and I began to frantically tell her all that was on my plate. I explained that my eye was driving me nuts too. She stopped me and said, “Why don’t you go outside and get your mind right? Go out there and stop thinking about all this and think about things that make you happy.”
After being out there a few minutes, the spiral started again. I had to push back and enjoy my surroundings. I began to thank God for each of the blessing in my life. I thought of all the things I have that bring me joy and happiness and thanked Him for them. After a while, I had t noticed, but my eye stopped twitching. I began to feel better about things. It reminded me of Proverbs 17:22 that says, “A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing” (AMP).
If you Google “happiness and joy as a medicine”, you will find study and after study that shows the correlation between a positive mood and humor with better health. If you’re like me and end up in these perpetual, downward spirals from time to time, find a way to get your mind on something that brings you joy. It doesn’t take away the problem, but it clears it up, brings healthy thoughts and helps you break the cycle. With a healthy, joyful mind you can solve any problem.
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.