I was reading Proverbs 8 the other morning. I try to read a Proverbs a day because it is chock full of wisdom. New things are always popping out at me as I read through this particular book of the Bible each month.
Today, as I was reading, a thought came to me: Just because something isn’t wrong, doesn’t make it the wise thing to do. Some thing may even seem “right” but we need to stop and ask ourselves if it is wise.
Learn to be shrewd, you who are inexperienced; develop common sense, you who are foolish.
I, wisdom, share a home with shrewdness
and have knowledge and discretion.
Shrewdness in this verse is prudence. Prudence is defined as, “the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason; sagacity or shrewdness in the management of affairs; skill and good judgment in the use of resources; caution or circumspection as to danger or risk.”
While we are defining words, you know, because I’m a nerd, let’s also look at wisdom: “ability to discern inner qualities and relationships//insight; good sense// judgment; generally accepted belief; accumulated philosophical or scientific learning//knowledge; a wise attitude, belief, or course of action. You can see that wisdom and prudence have similar qualities. So, let’s look at this practically.
It might not be wrong to have an extra piece of cake after dinner, but is it wise? If you are prone to gluttony, then I would venture to say no, it is not the wise decision. It might not be wrong to get on YouTube, social media, or do some bored-browsing on the internet, but it is wise? If you struggle with pornography, it may not be a wise decision. Is it wrong to be alone with someone of the opposite sex? No, but it’s also not the wisest idea if you’re wanting to do everything you can to be above reproach and protect your marriage. You fill in the blank with your own sin or struggle. The list goes on and on.
One of the reasons to walk in wisdom is that while our intentions are good, we may not have the self-control to do what is right when the time comes.
Sometimes, wisdom makes us feel silly — the safeguards we put up for ourselves might make us feel like we are children again. “I can handle having the internet on my phone.” Can you? Maybe you need to allow your spouse or someone you are accountable to, complete access to help keep you in check.
“My child loves to bake! How can I deny her that?” This is a personal example, lest you think I’m picking on you. My daughter loves to bake, and I love to eat it. Sweets are a weakness for me, and so there are times I have to give what she makes away, or make a healthy option for myself. It seems silly to do such a thing, but I know what I’m prone to. We have to admit our weaknesses. That’s step one.
Wisdom has much to teach us. Again, the book of Proverbs is a book of wisdom. We have much to gain by reading and apply the teachings of wisdom and so much to lose if we choose to walk in foolishness. However, we won’t become wise by accident. We won’t wake up tomorrow and make all the wise decisions if we don’t know what the wise decision is.
Proverbs 8 tells us wisdom is better than jewels, nothing desirable can equal it, she loves those who love her, and those who seek her will find her. Wisdom hates arrogant pride, evil conduct, and perverse speech. Her fruit is better than solid gold, and her harvest better than pure silver. Those who keep her ways are happy. The one who finds wisdom finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord. But, the one who misses wisdom harms himself — all who hate wisdom love death.
Those are some pretty strong words, wouldn’t you say? I think we need to take God’s Word seriously and seek diligently after wisdom. Wisdom will keep us on the path of righteousness. Wisdom will guide us in understanding and strength. Wisdom has good advice and sound judgement. Don’t take my word for it — go read Proverbs 8 for yourself today. Shoot, read all of Proverbs! Commit yourself to seeking after wisdom.
Gail Harris is the director of women’s ministry at Lighthouse Baptist Church in Macon where her husband, Greg, is worship pastor. She’s homeschooling mom of five. She blogs at GailMarieHarris.com.