The start of 2020 brought a lot of reflection to people’s lives. It was the end of one decade and the start of a whole new one. All across social media, posts cropped up comparing 2010 to 2020 – showing the “glow up” as people aged mainly from their awkward teen years to into adulthood.
In my own reflection, one thing become utterly clear: the biggest difference between 2010 Renee and 2020 Renee is she realizes now she’s not as wise as she thought when she was 16-17. Somehow teenagers always seem to think they have it figured out, and I was no different; I thought I was really wise and savvy back then, especially compared to my peers. 26-year-old me laughs at that naivety, while bearing in mind full well that 36-year-old me is going to have a laugh of her own when she rereads this blog someday (if she can bring herself to!).
But here’s the thing; 16-year-old me was certainly wiser than 6-year-old me. And 26-year-old me has come quite a ways. Because wisdom is not something we attain at some point in life and find ourselves with a full cup and nothing more to learn and nowhere else to grow. We grow in wisdom as we make wise choices and pursue knowledge, activities and investments that increase our prudence.
The Hebrew word for “wisdom” occurs nearly 40 times within the 31 chapters of the Book of Proverbs alone…a fairly clear indication that this is not a concept God takes lightly. Over and over He admonishes people to make good, wise choices; to not just sit around on their hands waiting to become wise, but to get up and actively pursue wisdom like they’d search for buried treasure and valuable jewels.
Why this reiteration, and why so much effort and emphasis on the subject? Because not only does wisdom enable us to walk rightly before our God, but it’s with wisdom that we are able to live the best version of our lives. Wisdom keeps us out of a lot of bad situations, prolongs our lives, enables us to speak into peoples’ troubles and help steer the course of not only our circumstances, but even the world we effect, in a better, more godly direction.
Living with a lack of wisdom is like leaving a door open for suffering; sooner or later, lucky poor choices will run out, and all we’re left with is misery. Instead of living life on the edge, hoping for the best, make time and effort to pursue wisdom; seek it in the pages of Scripture and from those who are themselves wise and learned. Never stop seeking it, no matter how much you have or how much you know.
Seek it above all else. You will never be disappointed!
What is Wisdom?
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines wisdom as “ability to discern inner qualities and relationships; good sense, judgement.”
Wisdom is vital to every person at every stage of life. It is also something we can choose to seek and heed, or forsake at our own risk.
Wisdom is imperative to our safety from a young age; it also factors heavily into how we approach life choices such as relationships, careers, monetary or asset investments, and more. The more we exercise wisdom, the more likely we are to have positive outcomes. But wisdom isn’t something that simply appears to us one day; it is gained through life experiences and by actively seeking it—in Scripture, in relationship with God, and from others.
What Does the Bible Say About Wisdom?
James 1:5 – But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God for it, who gives to everyone generously and without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
Proverbs 8:35 – Because the one finding [wisdom] finds life, and he will obtain favor from Yahweh.
Proverbs 4:5-7 – Get Wisdom! Get understanding! […] Wisdom is the principal thing, so get Wisdom; and with all your purchases, purchase understanding.
How Can I Become Wiser?
Scripture itself is a tremendous, unmatched source of wisdom. There is much we can learn about the principles of life and how to navigate this world by reading the Bible, particularly Proverbs and the Gospels.
But really, the entire Bible is for our learning, both the Old and New Testament, and through the experiences of our forefathers we can glean many insights into what behavior is profitable and what is detrimental or outright dangerous.
Another way which we attain wisdom is directly from God. This happens through one of the manifestations of the gift of holy spirit, often called a “word” or “message” of Wisdom (1 Cor. 12:8). A message of wisdom involves God or Jesus providing direction or guidance on how to apply our present knowledge about a matter. This message differs from our personal “knowledge bank” in that it comes at God’s discretion.
We must be careful not to mistake all kinds of wisdom mentioned in the Bible as a “message of wisdom” that will appear whenever we need to act wisely. God instructs us throughout the Bible, and particularly in the Book of Proverbs, to actively pursue wisdom throughout our lives and learn to apply it ourselves!
A third way to gain wisdom is through the right people. One of the beauties of a mentorship is that we can learn from someone who’s walked the road before us; through their learning, their attempts, triumphs, and failures, we may save ourselves a lot of heartache and foolishness along the way. If there’s an area where you lack wisdom, don’t be afraid to seek out a mentor who can impart their wisdom to you!
What is an area of your life where you could exercise more wisdom? What is one step you can take this week toward exercising godly principles in that situation?