“My advice is useful, so don’t turn away… Be wise and learn common sense.” Wisdom is personified in proverbs as a sage counselor for whom we must pay careful attention to listen and heed. Wisdom in the Old Testament is the practical application of knowledge and understanding. It is the ability to take the knowledge of God and use it in everyday life in a way that leads to human flourishing.
Thus, there are really two important aspects to wisdom. First, the individual must possess some body of knowledge. We cannot employ knowledge that we do not even possess. So, it is absolutely imperative for us to seek understanding, to strive to see life from God’s perspective, and to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. We must become readers, listeners, and devoted learners because without books, the ability to hear well, and the humble posture of discovery, we will never realize wisdom.
Second, the individual must use knowledge in order to act, to live well. Knowledge by itself, apart from relevant use, only produces puffed-up pride. The reason for accumulating understanding is to use it for the benefit of others in love. We have quite enough preening peacocks in this world with snappy opinions and answers for every earthly problem. This world needs much less of them, and more of those who seek the humility that comes from biblical wisdom. As the Apostle James once put it, we must be doers of the Word and not hearers only.
When wisdom is realized, there is learning through both head and hands. The book of Proverbs is perhaps the best place to begin constructing a life of wisdom. Reading a chapter a day for one month will get you through the entire book. Make a wise plan to carefully go through Proverbs sometime this spring or summer. You will be very glad you did.
Wise God, I love wisdom. I desire it more than money, fame, or power. Help me to use biblical common sense and learn the ways of Jesus through the enablement of the Holy Spirit. Amen.