Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Essential for Wise Living

{Proverbs 2:1-8; ESV}
My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.

Today I started to read through Proverbs as part of my devotional reading in the morning. One of the key aspects of Proverbs is the idea of wisdom. Solomon describes this reality in Proverbs 1:2 when he says that the purposes of these proverbs is to teach people wisdom and discipline. I thought it was a good idea to gain a proper perspective of what wisdom means.

I did a quick word study on wisdom, and this is what The New Bible Dictionary (electronic edition) says about wisdom: Basically, wisdom is the art of being successful, of forming the correct plan to gain the desired results. Its seat is the heart, the centre of moral and intellectual decision (cf. 1 Ki. 3:9, 12).

A key part of wisdom then is understanding the destination. You can’t have a good plan for being a successful if you don’t know what it means to be successful. A good plan depends on understanding the goal.

When I played basketball for Nebraska Christian College (1992-1996) we were successful. We won the NBCAA Division 2 National Championship in 1993 and 1994 and held the number one ranking for much of 1995. One of the things Coach Lahm did at the beginning of each season is to have us understand what our goals where and what it took to reach those goals. So our goals were to win so many games, to win the conference, and to go to the National Tournament. In order to achieve those goals Coach identified different areas that we needed to focus on in order for us to be successful. We understood that we had to shoot a certain percentage from the free throw line, to out rebound the other team, and to keep the turn overs under 12 a game. If we did these things we would put ourselves into the position to win the game, and thus be successful.

That is what wisdom looks like in life. It is about identifying what the goal is, and then forming the steps that are necessary to achieving that goal. Wisdom understands that children don’t natural grow up to be responsible and God fearing people and that there are intentional actions that must be taken to make that goal a reality. Wisdom understands that a successful and life long marriage depends on more than just meeting the right person, but it requires intentional effort to develop the character needed to love and be faithful to your spouse.

The Christian realizes that ultimately the wisdom we need for life comes from God. We discipline ourselves to the study of God’s Word so we can know He has already told us, we cry out to God in pray to help us understand how the knowledge we find in His Word applies to our lives, and ask God for the strength and support we need to make the necessary changes to our lives. We cannot live the life God created us to life apart from the wisdom He offers to us.

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