Is the difference between being wild and wise a fine line? Or is it a chasm where the two will never meet?
As a younger person, my thoughts often fluctuated. I knew God wisely wants us to be obedient. However, in my false observations I often envied the fun of the wilder side. Having to admit that I caved more often than was wise, I confess overdoing the “fun” at times.
What a blessing to know the sin of thoughts and deeds cannot be counted against me because of Jesus’ undying love and sacrifice! My heart is thankful.
Now that I have run the gamut between the two, it is much easier to see the benefits to following the way of wisdom. Following are seven lessons from Proverbs, written by Solomon. It is amazing how they reflect a perfect wisdom from the Lord.
Here are my personal lessons learned:
WISDOM #1: GET WISE!
Looking back is easy. Today I realize the extreme value of being in a community of Bible teachers and believers. Bible study has accelerated my growth. My change in attitude has been transformational. The Word of God is alive. Seek him with all your heart!
Proverbs 4:7-8 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her [wisdom], and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.
WISDOM #2: IDENTIFY YOUR IDOLS
My sinful heart is prone to idolatry. Emotions often lead me astray, and cause my decisions to be less than wise. What do I desire more than God? My career, my wealth, my spouse, my children, my abilities, my social media, my intellect, my… my… my…
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
WISDOM #3: SUBMIT TO GOD
In the school of life, I learned the art of questioning - everything and everybody. Sounds kind of like Satan’s taunt to Eve, right? “Did God really say…” I struggled with the idea of submission during my twenties. Through much prayer and hours of study (and putting my spiritual leaders to the test), I now know this lesson is one huge blessing I can name.
Proverbs 3:6 In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
WISDOM #4: BE TEACHABLE
Many of my life lessons have come through listening. The Lord has surrounded me with wise people of my own faith and of other faith traditions. Learning how they live the Word of God has opened my heart through discussions, songs, prayers, sermons, and personal study. Even the sting of criticism is a lesson in godliness, echoing the Bible. I am a sinner. I can own this fact wholeheartedly without shame because I know that God’s unconditional forgiveness and love for me in Christ is unstoppable.
Proverbs 3:7-8 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
WISDOM #5: BE GENEROUS
Wealth comes in many shapes and forms. I suggest that we are more than billionaires because of the riches that are ours in Christ Jesus. That makes it easier to find ways to support his kingdom, and a joy to give God’s wealth in money and possessions away. The research shows that generous people are happier. But who needs the research? “Test me in this and see,” God says in Malachi 3:8-11.
Proverbs 3:9-10 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
WISDOM #6: BE READY FOR SUFFERING
By baptism, we are buried into the death of Christ. Jesus suffered. I will also suffer in ways God has ordained for me. The pain forces me look to him, and to expect some of what Jesus endured. Remember, His story ends in victory and triumph with a glorious resurrection. This short time of pain will soon end. We are more than conquerors! We will live with him!
Proverbs 3:11-12 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
WISDOM #7: LOOK FOR WAYS TO SERVE OTHERS
I admit I have been a lifelong Keith Green fan. His song “Open Your Eyes” hits me on the head to embrace the needs of others around me. Keith entreats believers to get out of the comfort zone and truly serve the hurting, the needy, and the undeserving around us. “Whatever you did for the least… you did to Me”, Jesus says. (Matthew 25:40). Jesus suffered on the cross, giving up his last stitch of clothing to robe us in His righteousness. How well do I echo this love to those around me?
Proverbs 3:27-28 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”— when you already have it with you.
Living by God’s standards may seem less than fun at the beginning, but looking back, I am so grateful for the lessons learned through Solomon’s wise observations.
Dear Jesus, make us increasingly wise in the way of your truth. Amen.