There isn’t a season of my life that I haven’t needed wisdom for something. From school to my relationships, to my career, my health, and in my finances. I have wanted advice, experience, know-how: in other words, wisdom! It is a common trait of everyone I know, from the middle school student to the retired nurse, and everyone in between. In a world filled with words and knowledge, we crave wisdom more than ever before.
When I began to explore the Christian faith, this is one of the things that appealed to me about God. I skipped around the Bible to whatever looked weird or interesting, and I read the story about Solomon asking God for wisdom. Not only did God do it, but he seemed happy to. A note in the Bible I was reading pointed to another saying from the Bible: “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.” James 1:5
Wisdom is a gift offered to all humanity by God. We are all born into this world without wisdom, and we can choose to stay away from wisdom, but whoever desires it can seek after it, and God is happy to give it to us. There are several reasons for this, but succinctly, it is because God who created us in inviting us to himself, the source of wisdom, and graciously offers wisdom to all who would seek him.
So how do we approach God with a request for wisdom? The invitation to ask God for wisdom has already been given by God, so we can start by asking him for wisdom. Then, we consider the wisdom books that are “recommended reading” by God. One of these is the book of Proverbs found in the middle of the Bible. This book is authored by Solomon (among several others) and is a collection of sayings and lectures on the nature of wisdom and of folly.
Wisdom and folly both seem appealing, but folly only offers death. The choices of our life are ultimately a choice between wisdom or folly. Becoming wise by reading proverbs requires an attitude that wisdom is given by God, that it is available for all who seek it, and that we must choose the path of wisdom daily.
Wisdom leads to thriving in all areas of our life, but as humans we need a greater hope. Solomon himself was wise but destroyed his life through poor relationships and decisions. What is our hope when we have played the fool, broken our relationships, and feel distant from God? Paul, the former enemy of Christianity, calls Jesus “the power of God and wisdom of God.” We don’t just need wisdom: we need a new life, a renewed mind, and the favor of God. We are invited to seek wisdom and to discover the gift of forgiveness and grace through Jesus on the way.
Gavin Jarvis is lead pastor of Living Stones Church.