The Book of Proverbs holds a very dear place in my heart. Many years ago, I found myself in a terrible situation – an abusive marriage. I didn’t know what to do or how to handle things most of the time.
I began reading one chapter of Proverbs every day and praying that God would give me the wisdom to deal with my situation. I was desperate for it. I felt like my life depended on it. I knew my sanity did!
That simple prayer for wisdom changed my life.
Proverbs begins with these verses, “The purpose of these proverbs is to teach people wisdom and discipline, and to help them understand wise sayings. Through these proverbs, people will receive instruction in discipline and good conduct. These proverbs will make the simple-minded clever. They will give knowledge and purpose to young people.”
It’s like you just rubbed Aladdin’s magic lamp, wherein lies every answer to every question or circumstance there ever was or will be.
As I began to dive into this book that holds the key to everything, what stood out to me the most is the way the author talks about wisdom. It is poetic and truly beautiful. Chapter 1:23 (NLT) says that wisdom shouts in the streets:
“Come here and listen to me! I’ll pour out the spirit of wisdom upon you and make you wise.”
I’ll take some of that!
Chapter 2:6-7 says:
“For the Lord grants wisdom! From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of good sense to the godly.”
“You will understand what is right, just and fair, and you will know how to find the right course of action every time. Wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. Wise planning will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.”
You will know how to find the right course of action every time!
The word of God is chock-full of all things wisdom. Proverbs says over and over again, learn to be wise, gain understanding, cry out for wisdom, develop good judgment.
Do you see the pattern? There is much to be done on our part when gaining wisdom, most of which begins in our mind and will. Many times, wisdom is a decision we make.
“My (wisdom’s) words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those who want to learn.” –Proverbs 8:9 NLT
Wisdom means habitually listening to the voice of God. It often involves stopping, taking a breath and being intentional in our decisions and responses. There is no room for impulsive impatience in a heart built by wisdom.
One might come to the conclusion that there’s no excuse for stupid. (Ahem … speaking to myself here.)
Seriously, though, no excuse.
“Good advice and success belong to me. Insight and strength are mine.” –Proverbs 8:14 NLT
I was a shy, naïve, 20-something when I woke up one day and found myself in a marriage drowning in severe emotional abuse. I can’t tell you how many times and for how many years I thought, Things like this don’t happen to me! But it was happening to me because I had made a very foolish (dare I say “stupid”?) decision that was firmly rooted in fear.
From the moment God birthed in me this desire for wisdom, I think I prayed for it every minute of every day. By the time I was a 30-something, I had been crying out for wisdom for years. Time and time again, when I found myself in the throes of the abuse, I heard the voice of wisdom coming out of my mouth and found that the situation – despite overwhelming odds – would be resolved, albeit temporarily. I knew it wasn’t my doing, but God-given wisdom and His hand at work.
Way too many years into my ugly marriage, I sat in front of a pastor looking for wise counsel. I had given him a pretty detailed synopsis of my bleak situation along with reasons for and solutions to the problem as I saw it. He looked at me and said, “Do you have psychology training?”
It took me a minute to process that question. I just sat there staring at him, feeling completely defeated. I finally shook my head and said, “Psychology training? No. I just pray for wisdom. A lot.”
We’ve all made foolish choices and bad decisions. Some small and inconsequential, some with painful, life-altering scars. But no matter how twisty the web is that we have woven for ourselves in the past, we can start today – this minute – learning to be wise.
“He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.” –Ephesians 1:8 NLT
Wisdom is freely offered and ours for the taking, if we just ask.
We are flawed humans. We are going to make mistakes; that’s a given. Again, I’m not judging anyone here, nor am I saying I’ve got it all figured out. I certainly don’t! Foolish decisions and I have been there, done that, got the scars many times over.
But if we will take a moment to stop and ask for wisdom every day and in every situation, our lives will blossom and change in ways we never dreamed. Too often, our knee-jerk reaction to any given situation stems from fear. Let’s make wisdom our habit instead.
“Leave your foolish ways behind, and begin to live; learn how to be wise.” –Proverbs 9:6 NLT
My prayer for you today is that God will birth in you a passion to chase after all that wisdom has to offer. It’ll change your life.
“I pray for you constantly, asking God to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will grow in your knowledge of God. That your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the wonderful future He has promised to those He called.” –Ephesians 1:17-18 NLT