January 11

Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.” (Proverbs 4:13) “Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.” (Proverbs 8:10-11)

 The Enlightenment Period of history exalted scientific and intellectual knowledge to the extent that it was and is worshipped. Great awards are given in the name of scientific achievements such as the Nobel Prize, the Copley Medal, and the Kyoto Prize, to name a few. These achievements are based on new information and understanding that have led to great discoveries. New podcasts keep popping up that focus on information you never had before; if you do an internet search you may find “13 podcasts that will expand your brain.” Having listened to a few, I have found that the producers strive to make the material understandable to the listener, because knowledge without understanding, for the sake of knowledge alone, is not very useful (unless you are trying to win a trivia contest). Knowledge and understanding are only the stepping stones to wisdom, which is practical knowledge and understanding applied to life and the issues of life.

What is the world’s definition of wisdom? An article in a popular Christian magazine defined wisdom as that which “involves an integration of knowledge, experience, and deep understanding that incorporates tolerance for the uncertainties of life as well as its ups and downs. There’s an awareness of how things play out over time, and it confers a sense of balance. It can be acquired only through experience, but by itself, experience does not automatically confer wisdom.” The last sentence helps us to see the limitations of human wisdom, at least in this definition, since experience is necessary, but will not guarantee wisdom.  Biblical wisdom is not based on experience, but is founded on the truth that God gives us, available in Scripture. Proverbs 2:6 declares, “for the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding…”

When you instruct your teens, or offer godly counsel to others, which do you find yourself saying, “In my experience…” or “In the Bible…”? Do you base your decisions and choices on yours or others’ experience, or on wisdom that comes from prayer and walking with God?

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