Today wisdom is often misunderstood, and therefore often misdiagnosed. Itís currently defined as discernment, insight or perceptiveness. Although many feel they understand exactly what it is, thereís a tendency to confuse it with knowledge. To help to clear up this confusion, one definition includes the caution that neither book learning nor simple intelligence should be confused with wisdom. Still the general consensus is that wisdom is a somewhat rare quality. Itís also a quality that is admired and sought by those who understand its true value.
Scriptures pertaining to wisdom are based on a somewhat different definition. Although the wisdom referred to in Scripture would include discernment, insight or perceptiveness, those definitions would necessarily include in its application that it also pertains to following the Will of God. Therefore, true wisdom is based on commitment to the truth of Godís Word.
Applying Scriptural definition to wisdom amplifies the meaning of the Scripture found in Proverbs 4:7-9:
7 Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.
8 Exalt her, and she will promote you; She will bring you honor, when you embrace her.
9 She will place on your head an ornament of grace; A crown of glory she will deliver to you." NKJV
Proverbs 3:5-6 provides the basis for acquiring the wisdom spoken of in the previous Scripture:
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. NKJV
Proverbs 3:13-15 provides the benefits of acquiring true wisdom:
13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding;
14 For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies, And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.
16 Length of days is in her right hand, In her left hand riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, And all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who retain her. NKJV
And Proverbs 14:16 shows the distinction to be made between a wise man and a foolish man:
16 A wise man fears and departs from evil, But a fool rages and is self-confident. NKJV
In the Book of Matthew there is a lengthy discourse, called the Beatitudes, given by Jesus to His disciples and a large multitude. Jesus ends this discourse with the following, found in Matthew 7:24-28:
24 "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 Now everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall." NKJV
In this summation Jesus was making a clear distinction between those who have wisdom and those who donít. Although His example was an allegory based on the building of a physical house, His example was directed toward its application in our lives and the extent to which we build our lives according to wisdom or according to foolishness. As commitment to the truth of Godís Word is the basis of wisdom, His message is that those who refuse to base their lives on the truth of Godís Word, the Rock, have foolishly built their lives on sand and should anticipate a disastrous judgment at the end of their lives.
Worded differently, truth is the cornerstone of wisdom, while lies are the cornerstone of foolishness or failure. The wise build their lives on truth. The foolish build their lives on lies. Wisdom means adjusting your life to the truth. Foolishness means adjusting your life to lies. Anything built on lies will eventually fall. And great will be its fall.
In our present-day culture, there are many examples of lives being built on the foolishness that is the result of lies. Rejecting the wisdom of truth, the tendency of many is to reach after the glamour of the societal trends without questioning or attempting to discern the foundations upon which they are based. When the foundations upon which these trends are sand, meaning they are in direct conflict with Godís Word, there should be no realistic expectation that they will stand when confronted with the pressures of time. Although the present-day indications may be that everything is fine, the truth of Godís Word will ultimately prevail and the inhabitants of these houses will be lost.
We are surrounded by many indications of the lack of wisdom. In fact, falling in step with societal pressures requires a departure from what is defined as wisdom by Godís Word. To follow the wisdom of Godís Word automatically places one in direct opposition with much of what is acceptable, and brings with it the distinction of being accused of not being politically correct, or even worse, accused of being guilty of hate crimes. To even speak out against or refute the lack of wisdom often brings about pointed attacks by others, oftentimes even by the media.
Although there are many examples of this trend, the choices between wisdom and foolishness in todayís culture include whether or not to identify with the trend toward acceptance and support of issues clearly spoken against in Scripture, such as, homosexuality, abortion or idolatry. Although Scripture is clear on such issues, the decisions regarding whether or not to comply requires wisdom when confronted with societal pressures, including the pressures from political parties, opinions of family members and even the teachings of many ministers, many of whom have already yielded to those pressures and would attempt to lead others to also follow, despite what is contained in Godís Word.
Here itís important to note that it is wisdom to understand that the earthly credentials of ministry or ministers do not require or guarantee integrity or the acceptance of Godís Word as written. Therefore, itís wise to use discernment in determining what to accept and what to reject from ministries, based on what is actually written in Godís Word. Of course, this requires personal knowledge of Godís Word and the help of the Holy Spirit in interpreting what is being read or studied.
Therefore, the application of wisdom necessarily requires gaining knowledge of what is actually contained in Godís Word. Itís unreasonable to expect to have wisdom without having knowledge of Godís Word. And itís also unreasonable to expect to please God without having His Wisdom.