Part II in a series on wisdom
Many believe that reading God’s Word gives them wisdom. It doesn’t…reading alone doesn’t guarantee success, application does. Reading fills us with knowledge, but wisdom occurs when we apply it. Many have knowledge, but not wisdom. They know what to do, they just don’t do it: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22). Knowledge without application leads to deception. Knowledge is knowing what to do—wisdom is doing it!
Difficult and challenging decisions become less complicated when they are based on Scripture. God’s Word enables, empowers, and endorses success if we obey it. It provides the energy to deal with life’s challenges and the strength to press through regardless of circumstances.
Many often say that they just need to get their lives together before they commit to biblical principles. If this is you, don’t wait until that time to apply God’s Word to your life. Start now, regardless of your current situation. Those who succeed walk through adversity, not without it. There’s no “best” time to start. Simply start now and remember that as long as you take two steps forward, even after stepping back, you’ll be moving in the right direction. “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Build the foundation of wisdom by…
Fearing The Lord. Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The fear of the Lord is where it all starts. This isn’t the type of fear that one may have toward an abusive parent, but rather, one that is born out of respect and reverence for God. Fear, in this sense, causes us to dread the consequence of walking in disobedience to His Word. Fearing the Lord leads to wisdom, and wisdom and knowledge are incredibly important for a successful life. Proverbs 4:7-8 states, “Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her and she will promote you; she will bring you honor, when you embrace her.” Wisdom should be a priority…it will promote, guide, sustain, and lead you in the right direction. You make a choice, it then makes you. Choosing to obey God’s Word, regardless of what today’s culture promotes, is the first step in the right direction.
Walking In Integrity. Proverbs 2:7, “He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly.” Proverbs 20:7 adds that those who walk with integrity actually bless their children. Walking in integrity not only affects you, but those around you as well. Proverbs 10:9 concludes that people with integrity have firm footing, but those who follow dishonesty slip and fall. Integrity is a key ingredient when it comes to leading a godly life, and it should be at the forefront of every decision. A good way to measure your level of integrity is to ask three simple questions: “Am I honest on my taxes, with my spouse, and on my job?” We should all strive to answer yes to these and similar questions.
Seeking And Trusting Him. A favorite of mine is Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” As long as we were walking morally upright and obeying His principles, He will direct us—one way or the other. If you are obeying God, there may be a blessing just beyond your circumstance. Simply trust despite appearances and keep moving forward. “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil” (3:7).
Setting Your Sites. Proverbs 4:25-27 offers important points in regard to prioritizing: a) Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. b) Mark out a straight path for your feet; then stick to the path and stay safe. c) Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil. When I was a teen, my father would often take my brother and me trap shooting. As soon as clay targets were released into the air, we’d pull the guns to our shoulders and prepare to fire. There were only seconds to aim and fire as the clay targets darted through the air. If we took our eyes off the target, even for a second, we would miss the shot. The same holds true for our spiritual lives. If we neglect to continually focus on the right path, we can miss the ultimate target—God’s most productive plan for our lives.
Shane Idleman is the pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship. KTLW (88.9FM in Lancaster) features his radio program at 7am on Saturdays, and Sundays at 6:30pm beginning in February. Westside Christian Fellowship meets Saturdays at 5:30pm at 6015 W Ave. J-8. For more info., visit WCFAV.org, or call (661) 524-6610. Shane’s books, articles, & radio program can be found at ShaneIdleman.com.