Wisdom is one of those goals in life that once you want and pursue, you almost feel guilty about wanting it. It is almost like I want wisdom so I am not as stupid as other people. It is like wealth, I want it, so I am not poor. Yet, wisdom is what we are told to ask for:
James 1:5 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.
So, I have always wanted to be wise in how I live my life, but at the same time not to judge others for being unwise. It is easy to see how others make mistakes as you view them from a distance, and the analysis of any situation through the filter of wisdom can even seem judgmental at times. I believe that wisdom is not just a fact-finding exercise in troubleshooting a mistake and pointing out what went wrong, wisdom can also be compassionate as it looks for ways to heal and redirect away from repeating the same mistake. That not only gets applied to others but is also applied to me.
The wisdom I seek is wisdom that is first applied in my own life … a life that is quick to judge, quick to assess, and quick to execute a remedy. Wisdom is like the construction adage of 'measure twice, cut once.’ Assessment takes a moment to process and evaluate. We have all spoken something that shouldn't have been said in the heat of the moment, or ignorance of the facts, leaving us feeling foolish. Wisdom is our protector in those moments, giving us a chance to answer graciously and without retort. Wisdom is also needed among believers who often will either misquote Scripture or apply it incorrectly.
Many times, I have had to stand down in feeling that I have to defend God’s honor by correcting someone, or arguing with them over a belief they had that was Scripturally in the weeds. There is a right time and a wrong time to engage in correction and instruction, and we need wisdom to know the difference. Some people will never change their erroneous ways and so wisdom says move on. Wisdom is like a smart farmer who knows how to cultivate when to plant, and when to harvest.
Another area where wisdom is needed is when many Christians live in a vacuum of thought and learning, always growing in the knowledge of God, but producing little to no application in a world without a God-consciousness. Believers can take in so much information and get so much input, but too often there is not much output in how it is applied. Wisdom is the application of what is known, what is discovered, and what is inspiring. Wisdom asks these questions:
1. Do I understand?
2. Do I accept what I understand?
3. Do I want to use what I have accepted?
Wisdom is the application of how I live out my life with the knowledge God has given me. Knowledge is obtained by the willingness to learn and pursue. Wisdom is how we apply that knowledge.
Application has always plagued the church. The 80/20 rule applies in most life experiences, and that includes the church. Jesus talked about this in the parable of talents. Twenty percent of people do the heavy lifting, while eighty percent are spectators. We thank God for those 20% because they keep things running and functioning, but the challenge is to get those 80% thinking and doing differently.
Application, to me, is a function that comes from my heart. It is the surrender of my will to something greater than myself … it places purpose as a key factor in all I do in my life. If you are one of the 80% and you have not determined how to apply what you know about God, the issue is not that you know… it is that you lack purpose. People today know a lot but they fail in finding the purpose in applying it, or they apply what they know in the wrong way. For example, some people feel their destiny is found in leadership, but they have no desire to serve before leading. I wouldn’t want to follow a leader who doesn’t have the calluses of a servant. Life’s greatest lessons are not learned at the top … they are learned in the journey.
Wisdom helps us to realize that our journey is not in arriving at a goal … it is how we got to the goal. Arrogance is lived out by believing we have a right and we have a desire, and it is our destiny to have or to be. God says if you follow me, you have no rights … those belong to Me.
Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.”
This is the application of wisdom … it is exchanging yourself for Him. This is the meaning of wisdom.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler