Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace
her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to
thee.
--Proverbs 4:7
The Bible clearly identifies wisdom as being of paramount importance, and for good reason.
There is a significant difference between knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom. Knowledge is
the accumulation of information, some of which may even be irrelevant or useless. For example,
knowing the final score of Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals in 1993 probably won’t
help you choose good investments. Intelligence is understanding the things that you know, and
being able to apply that information to practical use. Godly wisdom, however, is the use of rel-
evant knowledge and understanding in a way that is just and right before God.
Something we must immediately understand is that if we lack wisdom in an area, we can very
easily become susceptible to foolishness. In the life of Abraham, we know that when Abraham
believed God, it was counted to him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6). Abraham, having believed
God, did what was wise, and left Ur behind to pursue the destiny laid out before him. However,
one chapter later, Abraham decides to listen to Sarai and begets a son from Hagar. Sarai in He-
brew means “fool,” and there’s no way to get wisdom listening to a fool. What was the result of
this? To this day, Hagar’s children cause problems for Israel.
If we understand that without counsel purposes are disappointed (Proverbs 15:22), then we’d
better be careful where we get counsel. There will always be people who can present you with
what seems to be a good idea in light of your own limitations. However, the word tells us that the
fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10), and so ideas that are not formed
in the fear and reverence of God will always lead to folly. A godly leader must always evaluate
potential decisions in light of God’s will and purpose, and this is where most of us get stuck.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (Matt. 6:10)
Many among us do not know the difference between God’s will and God’s promise, and this was
Abraham’s issue with Hagar. God’s promise is made to be received, and His will is intended to be
done. Hebrews 10:36 tells us that we will receive the promise after we have done the will of God.
Many of, upon learning that God has made us a promise, immediately pursue it as if it is the next
step. In a sense, we try to make it happen, we try to do the promise. Wisdom is found in seeking
and doing God’s will so the promise can be received at the appointed time.
Peter stressed the importance of the saints being established in the present truth (2 Peter 1:12).
Very often we fail to choose wisely in our decisions because we’re either stuck in the past, frus-
trated in the present, or worried about the future, and so we don’t perceive what God is telling
us that we should do right now. If through right relationship with God we properly perceive that
present truth, then we can pursue His will, and the Promise will chase us down (Deuteronomy
28:1-14).
For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that
is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and
good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in
peace of them that make peace.
How many times have so many of us tried to argue someone into salvation? How many bridges
will we burn until we get a clue as to how to carry the ministry of reconciliation? This doesn’t mean
that we have to sugar-coat everything, but rather that we should make sure we’ve been sent be-
fore we go, and be certain that we are prepared before we open our mouths.
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before
him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne
of God. (Hebrews 12:2)
If Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, and our walk is one of faith, then we should un-
derstand that God is only obligated to finish what He started. How many times have we found
ourselves in a bind because we decided to do what we thought was a good idea, without the
counsel of God, or even in contradiction of the Word. I have found over the years that there are
times when leaders may very well espouse certain views, ideas, or courses of action which are,
in fact contrary to what the Bible teaches, and call it wisdom. Sometimes we have failed to take
action in some regards, and often the culprit is complacency being disguised as patience and
wisdom, usually accompanied by the phrase “God is sovereign.” While indeed He is sovereign,
His sovereignty is never an excuse for inaction. Wisdom does the right thing at the right time,
without hesitation.
How then do we obtain wisdom? The fear of God is the starting point, and while many of us will
claim to have the fear of the Lord, the cavalier attitude that so many of us have had toward those
under our authority is a sure sign that we must be diligent to examine ourselves in this regard on
a regular basis. After all, the Word declares:
Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. (Proverbs 27:23)
One who walks in the fear of God will be diligent to be aware of what is occurring in his flocks,
whether those flocks are comprised of people or other responsibilities. We must further under-
stand that to look well to one’s herds is to take good care of them. Shepherds often have very
systematic ways of reviewing their herds, accounting for the animals, feeding them, watering
them, and so on, and many of would do well to become more thoroughly organized in our re-
sponsibilities, ministerial and otherwise. As we mentioned in the previous lesson, there may be
parts of your vision which are to be fulfilled by people under your authority, and so it is in the best
interests of all parties concerned for a leader to exercise great care toward his flocks.
Careful study of the Bible is certainly necessary in obtaining wisdom, but we are advised by prov-
erbs 4 that we are to not merely get wisdom, but to embrace it. Why? Because it is a common
feature of human nature to acquire wisdom and then later disregard it in favor of other things that
look or sound good at the time. One thing that will cause us to be unable to embrace or retain
the wisdom we have acquired is poor time management. The Bible instructs us to redeem the
time (Ephesians 5:16), and so disregarding this will only lead to folly, because a fool despises his
father’s instruction (Proverbs 15:5). It is then apparent that when we do not manage our time (or
disobey other instruction from the Father) we become susceptible to foolishness, and bad deci-
sions, with bad outcomes will be the result.
Let us also remember that the Bible tells us that our thoughts determine who we are (Proverbs
23:7), and so it is tremendously important for anyone seeking to have wisdom to exercise disci-
pline in his thoughts. Thoughts will always lead to emotions and inclinations, emotions and incli-
nations will always lead to decisions. Decisions lead to actions, and actions always yield results.
Hence we must do whatever we can to be godly in our thoughts.
Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway
with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. (Colos-
sians 4:5-6)
We must also observe holiness in our conversation (1 Peter 1:15), for Jesus did tell us that what
comes out of our mouths can defile us (Matthew 15:18), and that we will be justified or con-
demned by our words (Matthew 12:37). If our conversation is holy, we cannot be condemned or
defiled by our words, but rather our words will be conducive to wisdom. Of equal importance is
what we do not say, and what we neglect to say. Remember that God’s judgement came upon the
house of Eli because he failed to restrain his sons in the evil doings (1 Samuel 3:13). Sometimes
our silence can condemn an entire bloodline. If we desire God’s wisdom, then we must take care
to speak what is right in His sight (Job 42:8).
Now there are times when silence is the best option. The Bible does tell us that a fool tells you
everything he’s thinking, but a wise man will wait to share his thoughts (Proverbs 29:11). If you’re
the kind of person who likes to speak your mind, I must inform you that, according to the Bible,
you are a fool. Furthermore, the Word tells us that by the multitude of words a fool’s voice is
known (Ecclesiastes 5:3), and so, if you love to talk a lot, guess what? Some of us need to repent
of foolishness and take greater care with what we say and don’t say.
In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. (Prov-
erbs 10:19).
One of the easiest ways to sin is to simply keep on talking. In the martial arts, it is sometimes
advised to get your enemy to start talking, because while he’s thinking of what he’s going to say
next, you can go ahead and hit him. In a similar manner, when we talk too much, we can get our
guard down and offend God through our words and attitude, as the more we talk, the easier it
becomes to adopt an attitude that is not conduciveness to holy conduct.
If we examine the words of Christ, we will find that he was silent when he needed to be (e.g., John
19:9), and when he spoke, he did so with authority and wisdom (Matthew 7:29, John 7:45-46).
When tempted by the enemy, He relied upon the Word of God and emerged victorious. When
tempted by man, He outwitted them because he understood the scriptures, and they did not (e.g.,
Matthew 22:29).
The king’s favor is toward a wise servant; but his wrath is against him that causeth shame.
(Proverbs 14:35)
Wisdom brings honor, promotion (Proverbs 4:8), and favor. Sometimes we wonder why we do not
seem to have much favor, and at times the answer lies in our unwise words and conduct, which
cause shame to the cause of Christ. Remember, Nathan informed David that his actions toward
Uriah the Hittite had give great opportunity to the enemies of God for blasphemy (2 Samuel
12:14).
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth
not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5).
This is not a suggestion; it is a command! We must ask for God’s wisdom, and then use it when
He grants it. Sometimes God’s wisdom will suggest courses of action which may appear to be
overly simple, and we decide to do otherwise. I remember years ago, when the Lord showed me
the secret to 100% prophetic accuracy: just shut up until God has something for you to say right
now. It’s not rocket science, but it is a piece of wisdom that keep a prophet from presumptuous
sins (Deuteronomy 18:20, Psalm 19:13).
Wisdom is also obtained through submission to authority. Remember that a fool despises his
father’s instruction (Proverbs 15:5). Wisdom, therefore, can be learned, though it can always
be acquired over time through experience, there are many experiences through which we
have acquired wisdom that would have been unnecessary had we listened to instruction. Wisdom
can also be found through the counsel of those who have it (Proverbs 11:14, 12:15, 24:6). The
Bible actually tells of a man named Ahithophel whose counsel was so wise it was as if one had
inquired at the oracles of God (2 Samuel 16:23).
Also, wisdom can be acquired through the observation of God’s order in the natural world, and
by being diligent, as God’s word clearly indicates that those who are lazy are not wise. (Proverbs
6:6-11)
Finally, as leaders, if we want to be good stewards over the ministerial resources God has given
us, we must appreciate, celebrate, and motivate. How so? Recognize the gifts that are in the
people around you and especially those under your authority, celebrate their value to God and to
your ministry, and motivate them to fully pursue God’s purpose through sound instruction, good
counsel, and being a godly example that will inspire them to take hold of their destiny.

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