You’ve heard it before. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. I’m not convinced that qualifies as insanity, but it runs backward from wisdom. Did you know knowledge and wisdom have distinctive differences? I read, I study, I memorize, I even practice, but I can still lack wisdom. I can use more wisdom. Maybe you’ve already got it mastered. Personally I’ve taken God at his word in James 1:5 “If you lack wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” I think I better take the advice here – and get on track.
Have you ever thought about the differences between knowledge and wisdom? They go together but are not a matched set. Knowledge is gained through study, experience, investigation of facts, and knowing about a subject enough to share precepts or an educated opinion. Wisdom can be coupled with knowledge but its qualities extend beyond what is known to encompass what is right. Wisdom is joined to discernment and is the navigation system we use to make decisions and find our true north. So many decisions, so many possibilities, so many paths to get there. My quiet time today took me to Proverbs 4. But somehow these two verses in Proverbs got me started. Proverbs 18:9 “One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.” And Proverbs 16:9 “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” One thing I never want to be is one who is slack in my work; it destroys! And I know that I can plan all I want, but it is God who gives me wisdom to sort out the steps to take.
Reading through Proverbs 4, I made a little checklist. Go ahead and read the full 27 verses after this, but I thought it might be fun to dash through Proverbs 4 and pick up some tips to share. I’m not going to identify the verses …. But just remember Proverbs 4. Here we go.
- Listen to your father’s instruction
- Pay attention and gain understanding
- Do not forsake my [father] teaching
- Take hold of my words with all your heart
- Keep my commands
- Get wisdom – The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom
- Get understanding – Though it cost all you have: Get understanding
- Do not forsake wisdom
- Listen and accept what your father says
- Hold on to instruction, do not let it go
- Do not set foot on the path of the wicked
- Avoid the path of evil; do not travel on it
- Choose the path of the righteous which shines like the morning sun
- Do not walk with evil; the wicked is like deep darkness
- Pay attention to the words of your father
- Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
- Keep your mouth free of perversity
- Keep corrupt talk far from your lips
- Keep eyes your straight ahead – do not turn to evil
- Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
- Be steadfast in all your ways
So there we are. Twenty one tips for becoming wise and gaining understanding. Something to think about; something to strive for. Look back at the list once more. Ready?
Let’s get out there. And remember: Treat yourself to joy everyday!