In this so-called ‘progressive’ post-modern world where the concept of truth and moral absolutes have been rejected in favour of humanistic, self-serving and inherently ambiguous ‘woke’ platitudes, there is a desperate need for direction and guidance.
Of course, each of these terms needs to be broken down as well.
- Knowledge is the accumulation of information, consisting of facts and ideas.
- Insight (i.e. understanding) is the ability to determine the relevance of specific knowledge in any given situation. Insight is typically obtained or learned through experience. In other words, insight is foresight grounded in hindsight.
- Wisdom (i.e. discernment) is the ability to judiciously harness both knowledge and insight in order to perceive the best path forward in the midst of multiple ambiguous options. In other words, being able to see clearly in a world of grey. In this sense, wisdom includes practical application. The ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘when’, as well as the ‘why’.
King Solomon was blessed with supernatural wisdom (2 Chronicles 1:8-13). Kings and Queens from around the world made pilgrimages to Jerusalem just to witness for themselves the wisdom of Solomon (2 Chronicles 9). Yet, even Solomon knew that apart from God, human wisdom is futile and woefully inadequate for life in this fallen world. That was the entire point of Ecclesiastes, and summed up beautifully by Solomon in Proverbs:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” (Prov. 3:5-8)
Doesn’t that sound wonderful? “Healing for your flesh and refreshment for your bones”. That’s what the world needs!
If God is the only reliable source of wisdom, we need to spend time getting to know Him. Jesus came to earth for that very purpose. The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us (John 1:14). It is through Him, and His inspired word, that God chose to reveal to us His wisdom and truth (John 14:6).
“... that (your) hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col. 2:2-3)
God’s Word – learned through careful study, illuminated by the Holy Spirit through prayer and applied in daily life – is the only reliable source of wisdom in a universe created by God.
David knew this better than anyone. He wrote the longest chapter in the Bible (176 verses!) focused entirely on this topic:
“Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.” (Psa. 119:73)
“Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.
Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation.
I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts.
I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word.
I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me.
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.” (Psa. 119:97-104)
Paul had one of the most brilliant minds ever, and yet he knew that looking for wisdom in any other place than Jesus is foolish.
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Col. 2:6-8)
God set the world stage (cf. Gen. 1:1) and made the rules to live by (cf. Matt. 22:36-40), so we’d be wise to look to Him in order to learn how to ‘play the game’ of life. Playing by our own self-centred, made-up rules will only end in disappointment and despair.
“'My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,' says the LORD. 'And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.'” (Isa. 55:8-9)
So, with humble and teachable hearts, let’s join with the Apostle Paul and King David in prayer to our Almighty God, the only source of true wisdom.
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God... ” (Col. 1:9-10)
“Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long... Who is the man who fears the Lord? Him will He instruct in the way that he should choose.” (Psa. 25:4-5,12)
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” (Psa. 139:23-24)
For further reflection, listen to ‘Teach Me Your Ways’, by August Rain: