We are told that we should seek wisdom and that it is more precious than fine gold (see Proverbs 3:14; 8:11). James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (KJV). If God does not withhold wisdom from those who ask Him for it, why do some still fail to receive it when they ask? What gives? James hints at the reason behind it: “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (James 4:3, KJV).
There is another key ingredient to wisdom: the fear of the Lord. Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding (KJV). Here is where the difficultly lies with those who ask for wisdom and still fail to receive it. In simple terms: they do not fear the Lord. As long as they do not fear the Lord, they will always lack true wisdom. Some may ask, “What about grace? Aren’t we under grace, so we do not have to be afraid of God anymore?” Grace enables us to come boldly to the throne by faith; nevertheless, it also enables us to have the proper fear. In fact, God’s grace should deepen our fear of the Lord. It would never cause a person to be arrogant with God!
Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate (KJV). A sign that you have the proper fear of the Lord is that you hate evil as defined by Him. If you take it upon yourself to define evil, chances are you do not fear God properly because you are acting as God when you do. If you define evil by society’s standards, you are missing the mark. Furthermore, when people decide they can define evil, they are being prideful. The fear of the Lord hates pride. That means humility is crucial in obtaining wisdom. The fear of the Lord understands that everything has to be done on God’s terms. There are those who call good, evil, and call evil, good. The Word of God says, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:20, KJV).
Grace is not a license to do as we please (see Romans 6:1-23). Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness (excessive pleasure, unbridled lust), and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ (KJV). Even now, there are those who teach things that are contrary to Scripture in a number of churches. They have turned God’s grace into something that it is not. These people ignore the warning, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31, KJV [see 24-39 for full context]). They refuse the caution of James 3:1, “My brethren, be not many masters (teachers), knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation” (KJV). 1Timothy 4:1-2 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron (KJV). 2Timothy 4:3-4 also reveals, “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (KJV). As long as people refuse to fear the Lord, they will not respect His Word. They will invent doctrines, using the Bible to justify their falsehood. They are on dangerous ground! As long as they disrespect His Word, they will never obtain wisdom.
There are major differences between worldly and godly wisdom. These differences are found in James 3:13-18: “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (KJV). You will find worldly wisdom despises God, while godly wisdom is filled with the fear of the Lord. Take the time to study the attributes of each one found in this passage of Scripture. See where you stand in relation to the fear of the Lord.