Wisdom & Understanding
Over the past few years, I have noticed an increased desire in my own life to seek wisdom and understanding. For as long as I can remember, I have always had a desire to seek knowledge, continuing to learn and grow, improve skill sets, etc. So what’s the difference?
I’m not talking about knowledge. I am referring to wisdom.
Wisdom is not simply increased knowledge, but the ability to be able to use knowledge effectively. The dictionary says wisdom is “knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment”. Some may refer to this as discernment or understanding, but they tend to be interchangeable.
What really started my pursuit was the realization of truth mentioned in James 1:5 – that God will generously fill a lack of wisdom in our lives if we simply ask. Do I realize that I have an infinite well of wisdom available to me if I simply ask?
Yet I do many things throughout my day, week, month or year without asking God for wisdom. I do a lot of the decision making on my own. I think, as a guy, I am wired to do that – make quick decisions, fix things, react, respond, etc. I know that many women do the same, but I believe men in general are created that way. Now, some may say that because Christ is in my life, His Spirit is influencing even my quick decisions. I believe there is some truth to that and I wouldn’t want to discount God’s ability to do anything He wanted, but I believe there is a better way – one requiring a measure of discipline in my own life. One of the biggest things I have had to (and continue to) learn is to slow down and ask God for His wisdom.
You may be asking – “How do you do that?” Great question! Let me see if I can get at the heart of the issue in this post and then maybe speak to some practical steps in a later post.
The reason I believe many (including myself) fail to access incredible wisdom in our lives is a lack of priority and discipline.
Lack of Priority – If my default is to respond quickly to situations, what is compelling enough to slow me down?
- Do I see wisdom as valuable enough and worth the effort it takes to stop and think before responding?
- Do I see wisdom in my life as fulfilling a need? Or is it just a skill set I develop or try to master?
Let’s change the context and see if we would respond differently.
Picture someone living in abject poverty. No food, shelter, insufficient clothing to protect them from the elements. From the outside looking in, they appear completely destitute. After a five minute conversation with this same person, you come to find out they have access to incredible financial means. Millions of dollars available to them immediately to not only meet their needs but the needs of many others – yet they simply don’t tap into these resources. Seems pretty pointless, right?
If we valued wisdom the same way we do other things in our lives (seeing its value in our lives and the lives of others), we just may slow down enough to seek God and His promise to give us wisdom when we ask.
Lack of Discipline – The best way I know of to ask God for wisdom is to consistently tap into the power of His Spirit in me. In other words, to stay close to the source of wisdom in my life. That happens through seeking God daily – in His word, in prayer, through relationship with His people.
- Seeking God daily requires discipline in our lives because there are many things vying for our attention.
- The ability to stop and seek God in a situation we are facing requires discipline because our default is to respond in our own understanding.
- Seeking Godly counsel requires discipline because we not only need access to Godly counsel through good relationships but we need to take the time to reach out to them.
- Humility and the ability to benefit from correction takes discipline because our selfish nature desires the opposite (pride that resents correction).
From a leadership perspective, there are obvious benefits to accessing wisdom in our decision-making, in our leading of others and in our developing of others.
As a parent, I want to wisely lead my family.
Wisdom is valuable but it requires work in order to seek it. Seek is not a passive word, it is active.
So, what is your response to these questions?
Is wisdom a priority to you? If so, are you willing to discipline yourself to attain it?
An infinite well of wisdom is available to us if we simply ask…