Pulpit-Press is pleased to announce the release of our latest book: Wise Up! A 12-week study of the Proverbs.
Here is an excerpt:
There is an old story of a young manager who asked his boss, “What is the key to wise management?” The boss replied, “Good decisions.” The young man asked, “And how do you learn to make good decisions?” To this the boss replied, “Bad decisions.”
It is true that if you hang around long enough and pay attention, you will eventually become wise. This is why we read in Job 12:12, “Wisdom is with aged men, and with length of days, understanding.” However, there are some “shortcuts” to obtaining wisdom so that you don’t have to wait until you are old. Here is a list of some practical steps you can take today to seek wisdom.
• Read the Proverbs. Read one chapter in the book of Proverbs for each day of the month. Do this for a year, and then for the rest of your life. Rinse. Repeat.
• Read the rest of Scripture. Always begin the day with reading the Bible. This practice is necessary in order to live the abundant Christian life. It is a fundamental discipline of the Christian life, and there is no “living well” without it.
• Read godly writers. Paul wrote to young Timothy, “When you come, be sure to bring the coat I left with Carpus at Troas. Also bring my books, and especially my papers” (2 Timothy 4:13, nlt). Godly books have always been important to the people of God. It is an arrogant person who says he or she wants to read only the Bible and is willing to cut out the wisdom God has given to others.
• Hang out with the godly. The Bible says, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20). If you want to be wise, surround yourself with wise friends. One way to do this is to join a small group at your church and be faithful to attend it. You might also gather some friends together to study this book so that you can become wise together.
• Accept counsel from the wise. In Proverbs 24:6 we read, “In a multitude of counselors there is safety.” All of us are smarter together than any one of us is on his or her own.
• Fear the Lord. The psalmist wrote, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His Commandments” (Psalm 111:10). Solomon stated it this way: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).
• Ask for wisdom. James gave this advice to the early believers: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). God is far more eager to give wisdom than we are to pursue it.
• Apply wisdom. God only gives wisdom to those who apply it to their lives. He does not give it merely to satisfy our intellectual curiosity. Solomon wrote, “My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands” (Proverbs 3:1). If we say to God, “Give me Your opinion and I will decide what I will do,” we will only find heaven to be silent.
• Value wisdom. Finally, we must value wisdom. Treasure it. Honor it. It is more valuable than anything else we could obtain.
Reflect on this last point for a moment. How important is it to you to get wisdom? Would you say it is the principal thing in your life? Do you truly value it? Is getting wisdom is your primary objective? We know that this is the way Solomon saw it. He said obtaining wisdom is the “most important thing you can do” (tev).