Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom"

~Proverbs 4:7

The Bible tells us that wisdom is absolutely the most important thing we can possess. The book of Proverbs is devoted to driving that point home. And it also gives us some incredible insight into what wisdom actually is. According to Proverbs 8:12, wisdom is prudence, knowledge and discretion. And a look into the dictionary* further clarifies this for us, as you will see from the following definitions:

Prudence (noun):
1: the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason
2: sagacity or shrewdness in the management of affairs
3: skill and good judgement in the use of resources
4: caution or circumspection as to danger or risk

Knowledge (noun):
2 a 1: the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association 2: acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or technique
2 b 1: the fact or condition of being aware of something 2: the range of one's information or understanding
2c 1: the circumstance or condition of apprehending truth or fact through reasoning: cognition
2d the fact or condition of having information or of being learned

Discretion (noun):
1: the quality of being discreet: circumspection; especially: cautious reserve in speech
2: ability to make responsible decisions
3 a:  individual choice or judgement b: power of free decision or latitude of choice within certain legal bounds
4: the result of separating or distinguishing

Many Christians (myself in the forefront) spend a great deal of time praying for and asking others to pray for situations in their lives that they have created simply by neglecting to employ even a modicum of wisdom. And then they wonder why their prayers seem to go unheard and why they don't find solutions to the problems they are facing. I am certainly not trying to downplay the importance of prayer or fellowship in our spiritual lives. I am simply trying to make a case for exercising wisdom in the first place, so that we don't find ourselves so often in the midst of unnecessary trials. The Lord commands us to get wisdom, even if it costs us everything we have (Proverbs 4:7). This negates the argument that wisdom is some special, mysterious commodity that the Lord doles out to only a lucky few. We are commanded to get it; we are urged to use it in every situation. And we are even given instructions on how to acquire it if it eludes us: just ask for it (James 1:5)! The Lord has given us extraordinary minds, capable of reasoning and choosing. Let us not make excuses for the unpleasant circumstances in our lives, or cheapen grace by rather arrogantly assuming that the Lord is required to get us out of a jam we got ourselves into by refusing wisdom's aid. Let us embrace wisdom and all she has to offer. 

I am praying for the Lord to give me wisdom, and more specifically, I'm praying that each element of these definitions would be true in my life. I expect that I will probably still find myself in difficult circumstances from time to time, but I suspect that I will be able to eliminate a good deal of them before they even surface.

*all definitions taken from Merriam-Webster online dictionary

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