Where do you go for help when you’re uncertain or confused? For many of us, the quickest source of information on any topic is the Internet. But sometimes it’s difficult to wade through the thousands of answers and opinions we find there. How do we know which one’s right? Worse yet, which will lead us astray?
What we really need is wisdom, not just more information. Specifically, we need a sure source of it that will lead us the right way every single time.
Proverbs 2:6-7 says, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright.” Isn’t that amazing? God has all the answers we’ll ever need to live a righteous life. However, acquiring them requires participation on our part. He says we are to seek them as if we were looking for hidden treasure (Prov. 2:3-4). Although God is eager to provide wisdom for us, He will not simply drop it into our heads. We have a responsibility to diligently search for it.
True wisdom is the capacity to see life from God’s viewpoint and respond according to biblical principles. Therefore, the gold mine of His wisdom is found in Scripture. That’s where we discover who God is, what He thinks, how He operates, and what He’s working to accomplish. Within its pages are examples to follow, commandments to obey, and principles to guide us in every situation. Six steps will help us discover everything the Lord has to teach us.
What we really need is wisdom, not just more information.
First, meditate on God’s Word. With so much of the world’s viewpoint bombarding us through media and culture, we need to fill our minds with biblical truth (Ps. 19:7). Then when we’re confronted with difficult situations or choices, we’ll know how the Lord would have us respond. The more we read and ponder what God says in His Word, the more we’ll understand His mind regarding the various circumstances we face each day.
The second step is to obey God’s Word; just reading it isn’t enough. Remember, simply accumulating information, even about the Bible, will not necessarily make us wise. Proverbs 8:33 says we must also “heed instruction.” Wisdom comes as a result of adopting God’s point of view to the best of our ability and responding in obedience to His commands and principles. It always works itself out in action and leads to both deeper insights into the Lord’s perspective and increased motivation to obey in the future.
Third, we should pray for wisdom. James 1:5 says, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” Knowing that the Lord is the source of all wisdom, we are to humbly approach Him for it. However, the next verse says we “must ask in faith.” Doubting God’s faithfulness is often the result of living in some form of disobedience. James advises us to put aside our sinful practices and become doers of God’s Word (James 1:21-25). When we look intently into the Scriptures and heed His instructions by walking uprightly, then we are in a position to receive the wisdom He’s promised.
The fourth step is to become observant. The goal is to compare what we see around us with what the Lord says in the Bible. When we have this mindset, even little, inconsequential creations can teach us something valuable. For instance, ants give us an example of a wise work ethic (Prov. 6:6-11), and the birds illustrate that God is faithful to provide for our needs just as He does for those small creatures (Matt. 6:26).
We can also learn wisdom by observing other people. For instance, when we see someone who is being disobedient and suffering the consequences for his poor choices, we will be careful not to follow in that person’s footsteps (Prov. 14:16). Likewise, by observing how those with material wealth are often far from the Lord, we understand that riches can blind people to what is truly valuable. Then we’re less likely to place a high value on gaining or clinging to material wealth. But not all of the examples we see are negative. Those who live godly lifestyles can inspire us to emulate them as well.
Fifth, wisdom is learned by associating with those who are wise (Prov. 13:20). We must find the people who cause us to want to know the Lord more deeply. They stimulate us to serve and obey God more readily and increase our hunger for the Word. After seeing the result of their lives, we want the Lord to do in us what He has done in them.
The last step is to heed godly counsel. We all need advice now and then. In circumstances when we can’t see exactly what God would have us do, we should listen to someone with godly wisdom—a person whose life is governed by Scripture. Perhaps all we need is guidance for a particular situation. Or there may be times when we must humble ourselves to accept reproof or correction. But receiving God’s wisdom is so valuable that it’s worth the death of our pride and independence.
The Internet doesn’t have all the answers—especially for the questions that matter most. God’s Word is the only true source of wisdom, and He wants it to permeate our minds and hearts. In that way, we will become people who see life from His perspective and can offer wise counsel to others.
It’s never too late to begin cultivating these six practices that lead to wisdom. Remember the words of Galatians 6:7: “Whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” Although we usually associate this principle with a negative harvest, the opposite is also true. When we sow seeds of wisdom, in time we will reap more of the same.
Adapted from the sermon “Encouragement for Every Season of Life” by Charles F. Stanley
Illustration by Andy Roberts