Wise Living: Wisdom

This morning, we’re starting a new message series on wise living. We’ll be taking the wisdom of God found in scripture and applying it to issues that we face every day in order to apply it in a relevant and practical way.

To start, we’re going to take a look at wisdom itself.

Wisdom: The soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of such experience, knowledge, and good judgment

Wisdom is basically taking accurate information and applying it in the most effective way.

Wisdom can be derived from many sources.  The truth is that wisdom can be found all around us and isn’t difficult to find by any means.
Proverbs 1:20-23

20 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud,
she raises her voice in the public square;
21 on top of the wall she cries out,
at the city gate she makes her speech:
22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways?
How long will mockers delight in mockery
and fools hate knowledge?
23 Repent at my rebuke!
Then I will pour out my thoughts to you,
I will make known to you my teachings.

God desires that we all receive wisdom and that we live wisely as to be good stewards of His blessings.  Wisdom can come from life experience simply by having been there, done that, and learned from it.  It can come from books written by those given wisdom on subjects, it can come straight from God Himself, it can come from the news, or even from the simplest of creatures such as a grasshopper and ant.

Job 12:12
Is not wisdom found among the aged?
Does not long life bring understanding?

Wisdom can come with years of life, however, just because one may have lived a long life, does not make them necessarily wise in every case.

Wisdom can come from others. When God imparted His wisdom to King Solomon, many came from all the world to hear his wisdom and gain understanding from it. It should be noted that in 1 Kings 3, we find that Solomon was just a young child when this wisdom was imparted by the Lord.  Even very young children can reveal deep wisdom to us from their simple perspectives and innocent faith.

The source of wisdom that we will be seeking to receive is the wisdom graciously given from the Lord. God’s word is full of wisdom that we can gain and apply in our own lives. If we applied to our lives even just the book of Proverbs, we would live lives blessed beyond imagine! We see that it’s in His wisdom alone that we’re able to reach the destiny that He had in mind when He created each one of us and live our lives to their full. We cannot do it on our own or with our own understanding. After all, God declares in Isaiah 55:8 ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways’.

However, even to know the word of God alone is not enough. One could be able to quote the Bible perfectly from memory word for word from cover to cover and yet is still the worst of fools if they do not also correctly put His word into practice.

James 1:22-25

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

This is wisdom, not just listening to and knowing the word of God, but also doing what it says.

We see that the spectrum of wisdom stretches from those who are wise to those who are fools.

The wise who discern truth and cling to it
The fools who cling to what pleases their ears
The wise who are self controlled and steadfast
The fools who are reckless and unreliable
The wise who are teachable and humble
The fools who are prideful and arrogant
The wise who dwell in the presence of God
The fools who hide in crowds of like-minded men
The wise to apply their knowledge appropriately
The fools who ignore their knowledge and do things their own way

We’ve all at one time or another been the fool; and we may even be there now in areas of our lives. Our desire, however, should be to learn every day how to put our foolish ways behind us and to become wise. Not wise in the eyes of man and to compare ourselves to the wisdom of our current age, but to compare ourselves to the Lord alone and to receive His wisdom.

Proverbs 9:10-12

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
11 For through wisdom your days will be many,
and years will be added to your life.
12 If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you;
if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.

Ecclesiastes 7:11-12

11 Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing
and benefits those who see the sun.
12 Wisdom is a shelter
as money is a shelter,
but the advantage of knowledge is this:
Wisdom preserves those who have it.

So we know that wisdom is incredibly valuable and beneficial. In Proverbs 4, we’re told that even if it costs us everything that we have, to gain wisdom.

How do we receive wisdom from God?

James 1:5-8

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

1. Ask God in prayer (believe expectantly; NO DOUBT!)
2. Read His word
3. Listen to His voice
4. Put into practice what He reveals
We see also one of the greatest ways in which God has manifested and revealed to us His wisdom: through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  John 1 reveals to us that Jesus was wisdom itself embodied in flesh; the very word of God.  However, even to this day, many reject the wisdom of God to their own downfall.  However, we know that the wisdom of God is the only way to live life to its full and to reach the destiny and goal that Christ has called us to.  God’s wisdom is powerful and able to keep our lives free from the bondage and struggles that so many are hopelessly caught in.

1 Corinthians 1:18-31
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

1 Corinthians 2
1 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:

“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,

“Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.

26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not —to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

Wow, what awesome and wonderful truth!  God chose us; the simple, the weak, the lowly to pour forth His power and wisdom!  He has deposited within us His Spirit that reveals to us His wisdom, His mind, and works through us in power.  We do not speak of or live by the wisdom of this world, but rather the wisdom of God.  We go forth in weakness, fear, and trembling, and experience the fullness of the power of God which comes not from our might nor our power, but from the Spirit alone!
Many call the message of the cross of Christ foolish and the religious a stumbling block while they try to gain their salvation through works.  However, we know the truth that it is the freely given power of God bringing forth His salvation and grace.  It is a treasure beyond value and worth giving up everything, even our very own lives to gain.

We also need to be discerning during these last days, however.  There is a wisdom that goes forth throughout the world that does not come from the Lord; even though many spreading this wisdom claim that it was revealed by the Spirit Himself.  It’s important for us to understand the characteristics of the true and authentic wisdom of God.

Of course, for every good thing that the Lord gives to His people, there seems to always be a counterpart that Satan also gives. This is true even with wisdom itself. We find in James 3 that wisdom can have two different sources. The source of each type of wisdom is revealed by their characteristics and the results, the fruit that it bears.

James 3:13-18

Two Kinds of Wisdom
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

So here we find a test by which we can we can examine our own lives and actions as well as wisdom that we’re given.  Throughout this series, this is the type of wisdom that we are searching for and requesting.  The wisdom that can only come from God Himself.  When living life by the wisdom that the Lord imparts, our lives will be full of these good fruits and His power, mercy, and grace will rest on us and flow from us.