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Welcome back, I hope you’re looking forward to rounding another bend in your discipleship and coming face to face with the next biblical requirement for our conformity to Christ.
But before we turn that bend, I’d like to invite you to follow The Celebration of God on social media. Right now we’re on Facebook and Instagram, and all throughout the day we provide worship prompts to help keep the awesomeness of God (and our responsibility to celebrate Him) in the forefront of our mind.
So, I hope you’ll like and follow and comment and share that Christ-honoring content. You can click the links in the description of this episode or simply search “Celebration of God” on Facebook and Instagram.
Our social media links are also at CelebrationOfGod.com where you can access our blog which includes free episode notes, transcripts, and tons of worship resources.
Also, I hope you’ll join me this Monday on the Wisdom app to pick apart this topic even more and make it even more relevant and practical.
Download the Wisdom app, follow me @AMBrewster, and join me and our other listeners at 11:30am EST. I hope you’ll bring your questions. I hope you’ll bring your additions. For example, I’d love to hear the story of how God has been maturing you in your discipleship. And I hope you’ll even bring your disagreements. I always appreciate the time to engage in respectful debate. I think it sharpens all of us.
Either way — whatever you bring — you’ll be able to talk live to me and everyone else listening to the discussion.
And if 11:30am EST isn’t good for you, you can always listen to the past discussion from my Wisdom profile.
Alright, let’s take a look at the third kind of terrain we will encounter on the Discipleship Spiral.
So every Christian became a disciple of Christ in the exact same way. We were all lost in our blindness, condemned because of our sin, groping for meaning in life, and headed for destruction when God opened our eyes to His truth. Salvation is always a result of coming in contact with God’s truth as communicated in His Word. And He may have used His Word directly as you read the Scriptures or indirectly through a person’s words or book or tract.
Either way, you first received the information — the biblical knowledge — and by the grace of God you believed it. And those were your first steps on the Discipleship Spiral.
In fact, the experience I just illustrated included the two parts of the Spiral we’ve already discussed as well as the part we’re going to discuss today.
Now, once you put your trust in God by confessing Christ to be your Savior and believing what God says about our salvation, hopefully you excitedly started running up the Discipleship Spiral. Many new Christians become voracious for more information about their great God. They’re Zealous Students and Discerning Researchers as they compile more and more truth about God, systematize it, and understand it.
So, you’ve worked hard, and you are much further up the Discipleship Spiral than when you started, but then you turn another bend in the road, and it’s as if the path disappears. Instead of the boulder-strewn trail you were walking as you grew in your understanding, you’ve come face to face with a rock wall.
The only way up . . . is straight up.
This is going to be one of the most challenging parts of your discipleship journey.
You will encounter numerous rock walls as you ascend the Spiral, some of them will be more difficult than others, but they will all be more difficult than the process of acquiring knowledge and understanding.
You see, God expects that you’re actually going to have to do something with the knowledge and understanding you have.
Do you remember our definition of discipleship?
Biblical discipleship is the process of acquiring information about God, systematizing it, and then using it for His glory.
Well, this rock wall before you is the final step of our definition . . . using what you’ve acquired and systematized in a way that pleases the Lord.
And this is what the Bible calls wisdom.
Now, before we go any further, we need to talk about what wisdom really is.
You may have heard me mention before that most people tend to think that wisdom is a special kind of knowledge. It’s something you can be told, and once you know the wisdom, you can be considered wise.
But that’s simply not the case.
Based off the biblical material we’re going to see today, wisdom may be best defined as “The actions, words, feelings, and thoughts of a person who correctly uses their knowledge and understanding.”
Those of you who have heard me speak on this topic should recognize that this is a new definition for me.
I used to say that wisdom was “The ability to correctly apply knowledge to any given situation.” And that’s still an accurate definition, but I wanted to expand on our understanding of wisdom.
So now, I want to present three new definitions of wisdom that include a broader look at the types of wisdom as well as a description of how we apply our knowledge in each case.
Now, we’re going to talk about the three kinds of wisdom in just a moment. For now, though, let’s talk about how we apply our knowledge and understanding.
As I get older, I recognize that it is almost always valuable to be more specific. Now, I didn’t say it’s more valuable to be as specific as you can be. Over-specificity is definitely a thing. But most people aren’t nearly as specific as they should be. There are way too many grey areas, fuzzy meanings, and sloppy interpretations that occur in most conversations.
So, this is my attempt to be specific in a helpful way.
What does it mean to "correctly apply our knowledge to a given situation”? What does it mean to use our knowledge and understanding?
It means that we are going to act, speak, feel, and think based off the information we have and the understanding we possess about that information.
You see, wisdom is not simply how we think. It affects our feelings and behaviors as well. In fact, I will confidently say that a person who possesses knowledge about wisdom, but whose life choices and feelings don’t align with what they know to be true . . . they are not wise.
Someone who is a fool in his speaking does not have wisdom. Someone who does foolish things is not wise. It doesn’t matter if they can quote the entire book of Proverbs. If they’re not living it . . . they’re fools.
I shouldn’t have to actually say that, but I find that I do because most people don’t know what real wisdom is.
So, let’s not be those people.
And this is why the wisdom phase of our discipleship is so incredibly hard. It’s one thing to know something. I can tell you that the German phrase, “Was hast du gesagt?” basically means “What did you say?” Now you know it, but you’re going to have a hard time using it unless you really understand the language. You need to do the hard work at building your vocabulary, understanding the syntax and idiomatic expressions, and learning to correctly conjugate German verbs.
But how many people do you know who took three years of high school Spanish, but who can’t carry on a conversation? They never actually used it.
And even if you used it in the past, if you haven’t used it in a while, your probably very weak in it.
Wisdom takes the intentional and motivated work of applying what you know to life. You need to dig your fingers into those hand holds and squeeze your toes into those ledges, you need to strain and carefully move along the rock face as you ascend — as you grow your use of what you have learned.
Application is the single hardest part of all learning. It’s the hardest part of school, it’s the hardest part of our work, it’s the hardest part of any sport, and it’s the hardest part of our spiritual lives.
But actually using the knowledge and understanding we’ve gained is going to move us up the Discipleship Spiral far faster than mere knowledge and understanding ever could. They are a slow ascent, but wisdom is straight up.
And here’s the thing, if you’re not actually applying God’s Word to your life and changing thereby, you’re not really a disciple of Christ. Sure, you’re learned about Him, you understand how the Christian life is supposed to work, but you’re not following it.
Jesus is right there, He’s climbed the route before you, He’s shown you how it’s done, and He’s beckoning you to be conformed to Him, but you say, “I’m not doing that.”
Guess what? You’re not following Him anymore. You’re not His disciple.
Now, I’m not saying that you’ve lost your salvation. But there are two different possibilities.
1. You never were born again. You were like those atheists who study the Bible just so they can try to disprove it. They know what it says, but they don’t believe it. They’ve never really been on the Discipleship Spiral following after Christ.
Or . . .
2. You are born again, you are working your way up the Discipleship Spiral, but you’ve stopped because you don’t want to go any further. You don’t want to change in the ways the Bibles says you must. You don’t want to mature and grow. It’s easier if you don’t have High Biblical Expectations for yourself.
But here’s the thing, if you really are a disciple of Christ, if you really are on the journey of a genuine disciple of God, then at some point you will confess your sin and repent.
God’s Word and/or God’s people will point out that you really do need to obey God’s Word, and the Holy Spirit will convict you, and at some point you will repent.
There’s no such thing as someone who’s truly born again who never grows. There’s no such thing as a repeatedly unrepentant Christian or a carnal Christian.
Jesus makes it perfectly clear in Matthew 18 that a genuine believer will respond to reproof, but a person who professes to be saved, yet who doesn’t repent when confronted by God’s people and God’s Word, that person is not truly born again.
This is my main job as a biblical counselor. I’m here to help you do whatever it takes to start climbing the wisdom cliff. I’m here to teach you, challenge you, and keep you accountable to actually living what you say you believe is true.
Now, we’re about to transition in to a discussion about the nature of wisdom, the source of wisdom, the rejection of wisdom, and the achievement of wisdom. But I want to make one more connection for us.
A little while ago we did a series called “What is Worship?”
That was a strategically placed series because it provided a foundational reality that all people need to recognize. Everything we do is worship. However, we’re only ever going to worship God or worship self.
And then our next series was called Grow Your Worship. That series too was strategic because once we recognize that we’re not worshipping God as we should, we’re going to need to know why we worship ourselves the way we do and how we can start the change.
And both of those series were deliberately placed before this one. As I mentioned before, we could have called this series The Worship Spiral because once we make the decision to change how we worship, we need to learn the biblical importance of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom in the Christian’s life. The Discipleship Spiral is the only way to grow in our worship of God.
And — if you listened to those past two series — then you are noticing important elements of those series that are being peppered throughout this series.
By the way, if you have not listen to our What Is Worship? Series and our Grow Your Worship Series, I strongly encourage you to do so.
One of the things you’ll learn is the absolutely inseparable relationship between faith and wisdom. You cannot say you believe something if you’re not living according to it. Whether or not our living submits to the Bible is the number one test of the presence and maturity of our faith.
Okay, now, let’s turn to the Scriptures to better appreciate how important wisdom is in our lives.
1. The Nature of Wisdom
I want to read Proverbs 1:1-7. If you have your Bible, please follow along, otherwise, listen carefully. This is Solomon’s purpose statement for writing the book of Proverbs.
“The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: 2 To know wisdom and instruction.”
I’ve already said that wisdom isn’t the knowing, it’s the doing. But we can’t do what we don’t know and understand. The Proverbs were written — as were every other book in the Bible — to help us know and understand what wise living looks like. Once we know what it looks like, we can move to the next step.
Solomon continues, “To discern the sayings of understanding, 3 To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice and equity;”
Once again, please notice the emphasis on wise behavior, and the next three things Solomon names — righteousness, justice, and equity — are all ways we need to act.
He continues in verse 4, “To give prudence to the naive, To the youth knowledge and discretion, 5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, 6 To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles. 7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
The one big thing I want you to take from this is that wisdom is not only a theory — it really exists; wisdom is a concrete and identifiable thing.
But I also want us to recognize that wisdom is achievable.
Solomon wrote the Proverbs so that his children — and all of God’s children — could be wise. And the only thing holding us back from being wise is our own foolish hatred for wisdom and instruction.
Now, I don’t want to get the cart before the horse; we’re going to end today’s show talking about how we can achieve wisdom, but I do want to read Proverbs 8 before we go much further.
Last time I read from Proverbs 9 which tells a story about how the woman Wisdom and the woman Folly are looking for the naive in order to influence them.
The naive are the simple fools. They’re fools, but they’re not fools by choice, they’re fools by nature and lack of instruction. We all start naive, but as we learn and grow in our understanding, we stop being naive.
Anyway, in Proverbs 8, Solomon gives us a more robust version of the woman Wisdom. Please listen attentively as I read.
“Does not wisdom call, And understanding lift up her voice? 2 On top of the heights beside the way, Where the paths meet, she takes her stand; 3 Beside the gates, at the opening to the city, At the entrance of the doors, she cries out:”
Once again, please note that wisdom is easy to find anywhere people go. We can live wisely in any and every situation. But not only is she there to be found, she’s making herself known. She’s calling out to everyone who will listen.
She says, “To you, O men, I call, And my voice is to the sons of men.” Quick side note — these terms “men” and “sons” are general terms for all people. Ladies and daughters are definitely included.
“O naive ones, understand prudence; And, O fools, understand wisdom.”
Okay, so she’s actually targeting the people who need her most. Everyone can be wise if they would only learn, understand, and live it.
That means that God is targeting you, your counselees, your students, congregants, your family . . . everyone with this call. God does not want to keep wisdom from you or your friends.
In verse 6 Wisdom says, “Listen, for I will speak noble things; And the opening of my lips will reveal right things. 7 For my mouth will utter truth; And wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 8 All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness; There is nothing crooked or perverted in them. 9 They are all straightforward to him who understands, And right to those who find knowledge.”
Not only is she easy to find and targeting the ones who need her most, she’s giving them the absolute best that they could have. A wise life is our best life.
This best life is noble and right. A wise person speaks truth and righteousness and hates wickedness.
And she continues in verse 10, “Take my instruction and not silver, And knowledge rather than choicest gold. 11 For wisdom is better than jewels; And all desirable things cannot compare with her.”
She’s trying to convince us how valuable she is. And then she goes on to describe wise living even more, “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And I find knowledge and discretion. 13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate. 14 Counsel is mine and sound wisdom; I am understanding, power is mine. 15 By me kings reign, And rulers decree justice. 16 By me princes rule, and nobles, All who judge rightly 17 “ love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me. 18 Riches and honor are with me, Enduring wealth and righteousness. 19 My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold, And my yield better than choicest silver. 20 I walk in the way of righteousness, In the midst of the paths of justice, 21 To endow those who love me with wealth, That I may fill their treasuries.”
And then she explains from where she came, “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old. 23 From everlasting I was established, From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth. 24 When there were no depths I was brought forth, When there were no springs abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills I was brought forth; 26 While He had not yet made the earth and the fields, Nor the first dust of the world. 27 When He established the heavens, I was there, When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep, 28 When He made firm the skies above, When the springs of the deep became fixed, 29 When He set for the sea its boundary So that the water would not transgress His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth; 30 Then I was beside Him, as a master workman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him, 31 Rejoicing in the world, His earth, And having my delight in the sons of men.”
That passage is so beautiful.
To be wise is to enjoy the most glorious of relationships with God.
And then she ends her call with another invitation. “Now therefore, O sons, listen to me, For blessed are they who keep my ways. 33 Heed instruction and be wise, And do not neglect it. 34 Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at my doorposts. 35 For he who finds me finds life And obtains favor from the Lord. 36 But he who sins against me injures himself; All those who hate me love death.”
Wow, there is so much more I could say about this, but I need to pick up the pace a bit so today’s episode won’t be too long.
Still, there’s more we need to understand about the nature of wisdom.
A. Wisdom can be good.
In the introduction I mentioned that there are three different kinds of wisdom.
The first is Divine Wisdom.
My definition for Divine Wisdom is “The actions, words, feelings, and thoughts of a person who correctly uses their biblical knowledge and understanding to please God.”
It’s very closely related to our definition of a disciple.
Divine Wisdom is always and forever good because it belongs to the perfect and good God.
But there’s a second form of wisdom, Didactic Wisdom.
The word “didactic” refers to something that is taught and learned.
If I learn the concepts of addition, understand them, and use them to correctly answer addition questions, I’m using Didactic Wisdom.
The definition of Didactic Wisdom is “The actions, words, feelings, and thoughts of a person who correctly uses their knowledge and understanding.”
As you can tell, the definition has removed the obviously spiritual elements.
Now, Didactic Wisdom and Divine Wisdom can be used in conjunction. I can do addition all to the glory of God by correctly using what I know about addition, but also offering my math homework as an act of worship to God.
But Didactic Wisdom can also be used apart from Divine Wisdom. I could correctly apply my math knowledge for my own self-glory.
And here’s the thing — Didactic Wisdom can also apply to doing things that are sinful.
I can learn how to lie and cheat and steal and do a good job at it by applying what I’ve learned and understood about lying and cheating and stealing.
A good biblical example of this ignoble Didactic Wisdom comes from Luke 16. In that chapter Jesus tells a parable of an Unrighteous Steward who uses craftiness and cunning to save himself from what may have been a dire situation.
This man was worldly-wise in that he cheated his boss in order to make his own life easier after his boss fired him.
Of him Jesus says, “And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted wisely; for the sons of this age are wiser in relation to their own kind than the sons of light.”
An engineer doesn’t have to believe in God to wisely apply what he’s learned about physics in order to put a man on the moon.
But don’t misunderstand. Didactic Wisdom is very good and very necessary. If we don’t use what we know, we’re wasting our learning.
However, when separated from Divine Wisdom, Didactic Wisdom will never endear us to God. It’s not good enough to do the right things in the right ways if our motivation is sinful.
Yes, hopefully we achieved certain levels of Didactic Wisdom before we were old enough to understand and submit to Christ. Once we were born again, we were then empowered by the Holy Spirit to start growing in our Divine Wisdom. But even before that took place, we should have already learned to use what we were taught.
But we must never allow ourselves to think that being a good student is the same as glorifying God.
Because if a person is not Divinely Wise — though they may be Didactically Wise in many areas — when it comes to his or her relationship with God, they fall under this third category.
This category of wisdom is called Delusional Wisdom.
Delusional Wisdom may be defined this way: “The actions, words, feelings, and thoughts of a person who incorrectly uses their knowledge and understanding.”
Let’s start with some biblical examples of this.
In Proverbs 26:5 we learn, “Answer a fool as his folly deserves, That he not be wise in his own eyes.”
And Proverbs 26:12 says, “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”
And Proverbs 26:16 tells us, “The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes Than seven men who can give a discreet answer.”
Also, Proverbs 28:11 says, “The rich man is wise in his own eyes, But the poor who has understanding sees through him.”
By the way, the Truth.Love.Parent. episode “What Happens When Your Family Does What’s Right in Its Own Eyes?” is one of our most downloaded shows because it’s such an incredibly powerful truth.
Just like our understanding can be tainted by our sin, our wisdom can be as well.
Delusional Wisdom can apply to didactic realities as well as divine realities.
A small child may be convinced they can correctly tie their shoe only to create a massive, knotted mess. That’s Delusional Wisdom applied to a didactic situation.
An atheist may be convinced that God doesn’t exist only to be condemned to hell by the God they were certain couldn’t be real. That’s Delusional Wisdom applied to a divine reality.
We call it Delusional Wisdom because they’re only right in their own eyes, but they’re not actually right at all.
This is why we must recognize that wisdom — in general — can be good.
Divine Wisdom is always good. Didactic Wisdom can be good or bad depending on what we’re doing. But it will never be perfectly good unless it’s coupled with Divine Wisdom. And Delusional Wisdom is never good.
Now let’s consider that . . .
B. Wisdom is power.
I’m sure you remember what Wisdom said in chapter 8 about being present with God before the Creation of the World and how God used Wisdom to bring everything into existence.
Proverbs 3:19 says the same thing, “The Lord by wisdom founded the earth.”
But it’s not just powerful for God, Proverbs 24:3-4 says, “By wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; 4 And by knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches.”
Knowledge, understanding, and wisdom are the most powerful power. When the three are correctly combined, they’re the greatest strength one can possess.
And this is why . . .
C. Wisdom can save.
Proverbs 3:13 reads, “How blessed is the man who finds wisdom.”
How is a wise man blessed?
Didactically Wise people are able to achieve earthly successes, and both Didactic and Divine Wisdom are blessed by their ease in accumulating more knowledge and understanding that they can use to live wiser lives.
Proverbs 14:6 tells us, “A scoffer seeks wisdom and finds none, But knowledge is easy to one who has understanding.”
Wise people are saved from ignorance and the consequences of it because knowledge and understanding come easier to them.
But the most significant blessings of wisdom come only to those who are Divinely Wise, and those blessings are spiritual blessings.
Proverbs 10:31, “The mouth of the righteous flows with wisdom, But the perverted tongue will be cut out.” I’m glad that wisdom saves me from having my tongue cut out. Basically what this is saying is that we’re saved from the consequences of our sin.
Proverbs 14:8, “The wisdom of the sensible is to understand his way, But the foolishness of fools is deceit.” Wisdom saves me from deceiving myself.
Proverbs 24:14, “Know that wisdom is thus for your soul; If you find it, then there will be a future, And your hope will not be cut off.”
And Proverbs 29:3 tells us, “A man who loves wisdom makes his father glad.” Wisdom can save us from relational carnage with those who love God.
And this is why . . .
D. Wisdom it valuable.
We saw many ways that wisdom is valuable in Proverbs 8, but consider Proverbs 16:16 as well. “How much better it is to get wisdom than gold!”
Of course wisdom is valuable! Look at everything it accomplishes for the person who exercises it.
Now, as we transition to our next point, I must impress upon our minds the importance of this realization.
2. The Source of True Wisdom
Yes, by now you all know that God is the source of wisdom. Even if it’s mere Didactic Wisdom, God is the one who created us to learn and empowers us to learn, so He is the source of all that is good and valuable.
Proverbs 2:6 says, “For the Lord gives wisdom.”
But what does it really mean that wisdom is from the Lord?
It means that though you may be able to achieve some Didactic Wisdom without acknowledging God in your life, you and your fellow disciples will never achieve any form of Divine Wisdom unless you purposefully and deliberately pursue God.
We’ll see this more as we consider how to achieve wisdom, but this point is so vital that we absolutely must be changed by it. You and your kids will never accidentally become Divinely Wise. It will not happen.
Yes, it takes work, but it takes the work of God for the glory of God and rooted entirely in the person of God.
We and our friends must purposefully seek out the Source of wisdom if we want to be wise.
That means that we must not look to the world for wisdom. We can’t trust unregenerate people to help us be wise. We cannot be wise by listening to anyone who contradicts the Bible.
And if we don’t seek out the Source of wisdom, we’ll experience this next category . . .
3. The Rejection of Wisdom
Listen, the entire book of Proverbs is about the people who reject wisdom. They’re called fools. Whether they’re naive or they’re scoffers, fools avoid wisdom.
Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Proverbs 23:9 tells us, “Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, For he will despise the wisdom of your words.”
There is no way around it. Only fools reject Divine Wisdom. Only a fool hates learning and understanding. And only a fool despises the Didactic Wisdom that should result from learning.
And — of course — only a fool exercises Delusional Wisdom.
The is why a true disciple of Christ must not refuse to climb the wisdom cliff. It doesn’t matter how hard it is, only a fool — someone who hates knowledge and understanding — would ultimately refuse to climb, and a disciple of Christ may be foolish at times, and they may be a slowly maturing fool, but they’re not stuck in their foolishness.
So, our main problem is that we were all born as fools. We all enter this existence on a trajectory for destruction because that’s exactly what the consequence of rejecting wisdom is.
Proverbs 18:1 tells us, “He who separates himself seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom.” Those who reject sound wisdom separate themselves. Fools don’t have valuable relationships. Time and again division and strife and disunity explode into the relationships of fools.
And Proverbs 24:7 tells us, “Wisdom is too exalted for a fool, He does not open his mouth in the gate.” Fools don’t have valuable influence.
The “gate” was a place in ancient cities where officials and decision makers met to talk amongst themselves, devise plans, and conjecture. In places where wisdom is valued and used, fools aren’t welcome to participate.
And, of course, we know that the fool has said in his heart “There is no God.” And that level of foolishness ends in death, separated for all eternity from Christ.
So, I hope that if you are a genuine disciple of Christ actively working up the Discipleship Spiral, you’re very interested in how to become wise. So, let’s talk about . . .
5. The Achievement of Wisdom
As a side note, I didn’t call this point the “acquisition of wisdom” because that phrase may too easily fan the misconception that wisdom is something to be had versus something to be and do.
Anyway, in order to become wise . . .
A. We need to believe in God.
Let’s start be reviewing what we learned in the Grow Your Worship Series.
In order to achieve wisdom, we must start by believing God. We must believe that He is Who He says He is. And we need to believe what He says about the importance of wisdom and how to gain it. This is called fearing the Lord.
Proverbs 3:7, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” We fear Him by believing Him.
Now, we’re going to talk a lot about fearing the Lord on our next episode, but I did want to acknowledge that you and disciples will never have Divine Wisdom if you don’t start with the fear of God.
So, we need to start by acknowledging God’s preeminence in our lives. He is the source of wisdom and Sovereign of our lives. Therefore, we will never be truly wise if we don’t submit to Him.
Then when we believe God, this next point will be true.
B. We need to desire wisdom.
Proverbs 7:4 tells us, “Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister.’”
If we believe wisdom is valuable and good and something worth having, we will want to spend as much time with it as possible.
From there . . .
C. We need to learn how to be wise.
What does it actually look like to live wisely? This will require that we spend time with the Source of wisdom — God Himself. As we read the Scriptures, we need to be looking for how God would have us live. This is the acquiring information part of discipleship.
We also need to grow in our understanding of God’s expectations for our lives. It’s not good enough to just know the facts. We need to interpret them correctly. We need to understand the ideas that stand under the facts we’ve learned. We need to really get it by systematizing it. This is the understanding part of the Spiral.
And all of this study will reveal that we desperately need God’s help living the way He commands. We’ll never be able to live wisely without the power of the Holy Spirit. So we will naturally have to ask Him to help us.
I’m sure we can respectfully picture the Holy Spirit as the ropes and harnesses we may use to ascend a rock face. He’s not doing all of the work for us, but He is protecting us from falling, and we can rest on Him when living wisely gets hard.
Obviously the metaphor is sorely lacking, but I hope you see the point.
D. We need to ask for Wisdom.
James 1:5 tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
And when you step back and look at each of those steps you will recognize that all of that is . . . in fact . . . being wise.
That’s the thing about wisdom. You acquire it by being it.
Let me put it this way. Do you want to be wise? Then be wise.
And, no, this is not as unhelpful and confusing as it may first appear.
Let me change the illustration a little. Do you want to pick up the water bottle sitting in front of you? Well, then pick it up.
It’s not complicated; once you know how to do it and understand how to do it, you just have to do it.
Since wisdom is not knowledge — since wisdom is the action of doing what we’re told — then in order to get wisdom, we must simply act wisely.
Wisdom cannot be detached from acting wisely. They’re one and the same.
Do you remember what Proverbs 2:6-11 said? “For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity. Guarding the paths of justice, And He preserves the way of His godly ones. 9 Then you will discern righteousness and justice And equity and every good course. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; 11 Discretion will guard you, Understanding will watch over you.”
Pursuing God is not only the first step to living wisely, it’s actually living wisely.
So, those are the foundational requirements for wisdom. We need believe the knowledge of God that we have. That will cause us to desire the things of God. From there we need to continue to learn what God requires of us. We also need to grow in our understanding of God’s expectations of our lives. All of this study will reveal that we desperately need God’s help living the way He commands, so we will believe all the new stuff we’ve learned and ask Him to empower us to live in it. And all of that is . . . in fact . . . being wise.
As we pursue it, we become it. As we reach out for it, we’re being it.
Proverbs 4:5-7 reads, “Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth. 6 Do not forsake her, and she will guard you; Love her, and she will watch over you. 7 The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding.”
You start being wise when you take your first steps to acquire wisdom.
Now, let’s look at just some of the ways wisdom is reciprocal.
Remember, The Discipleship Spiral is cyclical in nature.
In the past I used to refer to it as a circle because I was only trying to illustrate how a person who gains knowledge and understanding will be wise, and — by living wisely — that individual would naturally pursue more knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, and so on for eternity.
But I changed the image from a circle to a spiral because I wanted to add the reality that wise living doesn’t circle back to the elemental truths already learned and understood. Sure, because we’re forgetful humans, it’s very wise to review what we’ve already learned, but a wise person is always pursuing the biblical knowledge they don’t already have. They’re desiring to grow and mature.
The Spiral represents both of these realities. The cyclical nature of the Spiral shows us that as we progress from knowledge to understanding to wisdom, we will inherently move to new heights of knowledge and understanding and wisdom.
And that’s the second truth revealed in the Spiral. The Spiral is not just a circle, it’s a cyclical shape that’s going somewhere. It’s moving in a new direction. It matures and changes as it approaches its goal — which, for the Christian, is Christ Himself.
The accumulation of knowledge should naturally lead into understanding which then naturally flows into using that information correctly. But the circle doesn’t stop there, it continues right back around into knowledge and understanding and wisdom all over again.
But, of course, as we acquire wisdom, we’re going to understand that . . .
E. We need to work to be wise.
This is a point I’ve been making since the very beginning.
Wisdom is impossible for humans to live; we need the Holy Spirit to even have a chance, but the process of sanctification is a cooperative effort between us and God whereby He transforms us into His image as we submit to and work along with Him.
Therefore, it does require that we strain.
Proverbs 5:1, “My son, give attention to my wisdom.”
Proverbs 3:1, “My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments.” The word “keep” is a military term that can refer to guarding something.
And as we work hard to live wisely, we’re going to learn that . . .
F. We need to embrace discipline.
We’ve talked about this point in the past two episodes, and we need to revisit it here.
Proverbs 29:15 says, “The rod and reproof give wisdom.”
The way which seems right to our own eyes will never be Divinely Wise. And it’s the rod and reproof that help us understand that our way is foolish and destructive.
The rod is the consequences that come as a result of sin, and reproof is the biblical one-anothering stage where our friends take God’s Word and show us that we were wrong and help us reinterpret what we did in light of God’s truth.
And it’s when we participate in reproof that we become wise.
Now, just being told that I’m wrong and receiving a consequence will not make me wise. Nothing our disciplers will ever do will make me wise. But when I choose to accept the reproof, when I confess my sin and repent, that is my step back into wisdom.
That is wisely submitting to God, and as I make the wise choice to participate in the reproof, then the rod and reproof give me wisdom.
Thank you for your patience today. There is still so much more that we could say, but we need to be done.
Obviously, we still have one episode left to discuss what the mountain is and tie all of this up into a pretty bow with some practical advice, but I want to leave us with II Timothy 2:15.
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”
This stage of discipleship is called the Unashamed Workman. We’re taking what we know and understand and unashamedly working it out in our lives.
And how will we do this? We need to accurately handle the Word of truth.
We should never be okay with the mere acquisition of knowledge. But we can’t be fine with just understanding either. And — believe it or not — it’s not good enough to achieve simple Didactic Wisdom.
We need to achieve Divine Wisdom that works its salvation out with fear and trembling.
So, to that end, I hope you’ll join us next time as we seek to better know, love, and worship God and help the people in our lives do the same.
To that end, we’ll be discussing how the disciple of Christ is to be a Faithful Follower
The Year Long Celebration of God is a dynamic, holistic resource that utilizes the Bible, our holiday calendars, and even the most average moments of the most normal days to equip Christians to worship God all year long
and disciple others to do the same.
AMBrewster is the creator and host of the Celebration of God. He originally designed the COG to be a discipleship tool for Christian parents to train their children to know and love God, but he quickly realized how valuable it is for all Christians. Whether it's a small group, church, classroom, one-on-one, or community relationship, this resource is guaranteed to draw people closer together as they draw closer to God.
Aaron is the President of Truth.Love.Parent. and host of its podcast.