With the new year only a few days away, many of you will be going to New Year’s Eve parties. And at every party there is one person like this… someone who knows that the mathematical constant Pi is a circle’s circumference divided by its diameter or who can solve Rubik’s Cube in less than thirty seconds. They seem to know every answer to all the questions in the trivia game and all the party-goers marvel at this person’s knowledge, but those who know this person best say that they don’t have the common sense to come in out of a thunder storm. In fact, they left the windows open in their house when they left to come to the party, even with rain in the forecast.
Now think of someone who you consider to be wise? They always seem to know just what to say and do in most any situation. You have probably thought to yourself, “I wish I had their wisdom.”
The difference between the first person and the second is really nothing more than the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is simply the accumulation of facts and data while wisdom is the ability to apply that knowledge in a way that useful and helpful. It is probably not enough just to “know” that the burner on the stove is hot, you also better be able to apply that knowledge of the burner being hot so you don’t put your hand on it.
Now let’s turn to gaining God’s wisdom. It is not enough to know the contents of the Bible. Reading and memorizing your Bible is a good thing, but we need to know how to understand and apply God’s Word (the Bible) into daily life. This is called having spiritual discernment, and it means nothing more than seeing things from God’s point of view. The Bible tells us that God gave us the Holy Spirit (the third person of the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) to give us wisdom. The Holy Spirit has many roles, but today we are just looking at this role of counselor. Jesus promised this very thing to His disciples (and ultimately to us). In John 14:26 we read, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you.” Now that is real wisdom. No textbook or instruction manual can ever come close to teaching you those things!
And again, it is not enough that God gave us the Holy Spirit to gain wisdom. We must spend time in God’s Word, allowing it to penetrate so the Holy Spirit to teach us. John 16:13 tells us, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” God’s word is alive and it speaks to you each and every time you read it. Hebrews 4:12 puts it like this, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any two edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
What are the fruits of gaining God’s wisdom? Let’s turn to the Bible and see for ourselves. In Psalm 119:97-104, as written in The Message, here is what it says about the fruits of gaining the right kind of wisdom – “Oh, how I love all you’ve revealed; I reverently ponder it all the day long. Your commands give me an edge on my enemies; they never become obsolete. I’ve even become smarter than my teachers since I’ve pondered and absorbed your counsel. I’ve become wiser than the wise old sages simply by doing what you tell me. I watch my step, avoiding the ditches and ruts of evil so I can spend all my time keeping your Word. I never make detours from the route you laid out; you gave me such good directions. Your words are so choice, so tasty; I prefer them to the best home cooking. With your instruction, I understand life; that’s why I hate false propaganda.”
So as you prepare for 2016, ask the Holy Spirit to help you see and understand from God’s point of view.
New Bern, North Carolina