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Wisdom from Above

The words wisdom and wise appear 484 times in the Bible. They appear some three hundred times in the Old Testament, one hundred of those times in the book of Proverbs alone. We learn that God is “wise in heart and mighty in strength” (Job 9:4) and that He is the source of wisdom: “Where can wisdom be found. And where is the place of understanding?” (Job 28:12). Job answers his own question, saying, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding” (Job 28:12, 28).

Because God is the source of wisdom, it is critical for our understanding of wisdom to be based upon the truth of God and not on the cleverness of man. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7). Why does wisdom start with the fear of the Lord? Because it is only by rightly seeing God for who He is, our Creator and righteous Judge, that we even begin to attain wisdom. To reject God and not fear Him is foolishness.

Let’s strive to know our Christ more every day. This is the starting point; you must know Him to live like Him. Without knowledge there is no wisdom. But, while attaining knowledge is necessary and highly valued, it is only the means to the end. Knowledge is what God has designed to reveal Himself to people; but left in the head and not in our hearts, it is useless and has not turned into wisdom. You see, knowledge does not equal wisdom. A man can have all of the knowledge about the world and God, but if that man rejects it, he is an educated fool.

A helpful definition of wisdom is “applying truth to everyday life.” Our knowledge of God must be reflected in our devotion to Him. God’s character and infinite worth should so penetrate the core of our existence that it causes obedience to His Word. James asks a question: “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom” (James 3:13). One commentator writes, “True wisdom, the wisdom from above, is not a matter of how much one knows but of how much one trusts, loves, and obeys the Lord.” The emphasis is on action because the fruit of true wisdom will always be obedience to God. By grace, are we being conformed more and more into the image of Christ. That is wisdom.

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