Can you see beneath the surface of issues? Do you have insight into questions? Most matters are rarely black and white; they are usually a shade of gray. What is needed is wisdom, true wisdom.
Sometimes wisdom goes by its nickname, sound judgment. It’s the ability to make the right calls. Someone has said that knowledge is the ability to take things apart, while wisdom is the ability to put things together. Other words that fit under the umbrella of the biblical concept of wisdom are discerning, judicious, prudent, and sensible. Not very glamorous words, perhaps, but words you can build a life on.
So how do we get it? How can you be a wise person?
Understand that wisdom comes from God.
If we want wisdom, we must seek it from its proper source, God himself. A relationship with God is the beginning of wisdom. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10 NIV). Wisdom is uncommon sense. It originates with God, resides in God, emanates from God, and is given as a gift from God.
The Bible says the opposite of wisdom is foolishness and the opposite of a wise person is a fool. Today the word fool often means someone with low intelligence, but in biblical usage, fools may have a high I.Q. and a reputation for success. What makes them a fool is that they ignore God, preferring to follow the dictates of the crowd or their own fallible opinions.
Pray for wisdom.
God has commanded us to ask for wisdom. James, for example, wrote, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5 NIV). God generously gives when we ask for wisdom.
Meditate on God’s Word.
Meditation brings wisdom—the ability to see the best course of action in the midst of a problem. Meditation brings insight. Teachers show us how things work. Insight is the ability to see inside, to know what makes people and things operate. Meditation brings understanding—to see life in perspective, put it all together, and make sense of it.
When I became a Christian, I heard Billy Graham say that he read a portion of the Psalms and one chapter from the book of Proverbs each day. If it were good enough for him, then I would do it. Daily reading from God’s Word has provided me with the insight and understanding to steer me clear of folly and toward wisdom.
Hear and heed the counsel of those you respect.
Why do we listen to others and seek guidance from others? Because they have been through experiences and endured trials, we have not yet encountered. They can look at our situations more objectively and with varied perspectives. Solomon said over and over again in his Proverbs, “A wise man listens to advice” (Prov. 12:15 NIV).
God gave us two ears and only one mouth, which might suggest the proper ratio of listening to speaking if we wish to become wise. When we talk, we hear just what we already know. When we listen, we have an opportunity to learn and grow wise.
Seek wisdom with all your heart.
Sometimes God gives wisdom only to those who press after it like a thirsty deer searching for water or like a greedy man wanting to make more money. You have to go for it, want it more than nearly anything else. Then you shall have it. God has promised the wisdom to those who seek it with their whole hearts.