Written by: Matthew Bracey
What is wisdom? Is it academic excellence? Is it street-smarts? The lips of seasoned adults and senior-citizens often pour out stories of “how things were” and “the way things should be.” These stories usually fall on the deaf ears of younger generations who feel as though the world operates far differently in their time then it did in that of their elders. These stubborn youngsters are believed to be “rejecting wisdom” by ignoring what older people attempt to show and tell them. Should we regard education, personal experience, and the words of long-time life veterans above all else? Are we to forfeit all we have to gain understanding? And if so, understanding of what? What could be so valuable that merely understanding it would be worth more than all worldly possessions?
Job 28:28 tells us that the fear of the Lord is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding. To fear God is to respect Him, and to shun evil is to obey what He commands. This is the whole duty of man(Ecclesiastes ). Therefore, when we respect and reverence God, and choose His ways over the alternate paths of the world, we are walking in our purpose as human beings. Going back to the Garden of Eden, the plan of Satan has been to distract man from the purpose of God, and to offer and emphasize forbidden alternatives to Godly obedience(Genesis 3). Though education, personal experience, and the words of the aged have great value and may add to one’s wisdom, they are not wisdom in and of themselves. Wisdom is understood in the seeking & finding of the knowledge of God(Proverbs 2:5), the most important education. The knowledge of God in Scripture will help us properly navigate through life and learn from the grace & mercy of God that we all experience(Matthew , Acts ). Though wisdom is not determined or guaranteed by age, you are more likely to find wise instruction on the lips of a 50 year-old than a 20 year old; from the mouth of one whose hair is gray, than one whose hair is black. I’ve heard it said that “You don’t get to be old by being foolish.” Though that statement has its flaw, there is much truth there. Scripture tells us that we will be wise if we accept instruction and take advice(Proverbs ). Who we get advice and instruction from is key. If we chiefly reverence the advice and instruction of Scripture, we can weigh the direction of others against it to discern whether their words are faithful, or folly. Abstaining from foolish counsel is an act of understanding. In certain instances, accepting foolish advice can cost you all you have, including your life.
The only pursuits or plans that are truly worth your life are those that are rooted in Christ. Remaining loyal to Christ is worth our every breath. Jesus has promised us this(Matthew 10:32-33, John 11:25-26). There is no more worthy cause to give your life toward, and if necessary, to give your life for. Whether on this side of the Jordan or the other, the value of wisdom and understanding is above all things. They offer protection from the wicked(Proverbs ) & adulterous(Proverbs ), health and nourishment to the body and bones(Proverbs 3:7-8), more value than silver, gold, or rubies(Proverbs -15), long-life, and honor(Proverbs ). And unlike anything else, growth and development in these holds promise not only for this life, but the life to come as well(I Timothy 4:8).