We need God’s wisdom to get through life successfully because it’s hard to distinguish what is truly right with just our own understanding. We need God’s wisdom to help us discern and make good decisions. Otherwise, we’re just floundering around doing what we think is best (which isn’t really best), or doing whatever we want (which is worse).
The world’s definition of wisdom
The definition of ‘wisdom’ from Merriam Webster is, “knowledge that is gained by having many experiences in life”. This definition exemplifies the incorrect way our world views wisdom. We’re under the impression that life experiences are enough to give us the wisdom we need to get through life successfully.
Now, going through different things in life does give us a new perspective and knowledge about situations, giving us a better idea of what to do in similar circumstances in the future. But that ‘wisdom’ isn’t enough to coast through life and make our own decisions. We still need God because we could go through the same scenario ten times and think we know for sure what we need to do that eleventh time, but only God knows what will actually happen.
We can learn useful things from our past experiences, but they can’t give us certainty. God’s wisdom is the only thing that can do that.
We are human. We can only grasp so much of how the world works and how God’s intricate plan fits into it and includes us all. Because of our limited understanding, we have to rely on God, who knows everything, to guide us through all of life’s circumstances… even the ones we think we know how to navigate through on our own.
God’s definition of wisdom
The Bible defines heavenly wisdom a little differently. James 13:17 says: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”
Two things that stand out here as distinctly different from our earthly wisdom are the words ‘pure’ and ‘without partiality’. By nature, we as humans are not pure. As Christians we have been made new and holy by the grace of God and Jesus’ sacrifice, but as simple humans, we are not pure.
We are imperfect creatures who are anything but spotless. Even exceptionally “good” people, those everyone else applauds for their morals and upstanding behavior, have stains somewhere on their soul. Without God, we cannot have pure wisdom if we ourselves aren’t pure.
We also can’t be without partiality. Our life experiences and personalities make our perspectives skewed to a certain degree. Everything we see in the world is colored by the lens of our perspective.
Therefore, we can’t look at something and make a decision with the complete objectiveness that heavenly wisdom has. God’s wisdom is the only perfectly objective and accurate way to look at situations in life and make decisions.
How do we get God’s wisdom?
So if we need God’s wisdom in life, how do we get it?
1) Genuinely ask for it
James 1:5 tells us that if we want wisdom, we should “ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault”. This means that even if you’re an imperfect person, which we all are, he’ll give you wisdom if you ask for it. And not only will he give it to you. He’ll do so generously!
God loves to impart wisdom to His children, and he loves it when we ask for His wisdom. Remember Solomon? When Solomon could have asked God for anything at all as king of Israel—wealth, popularity, etc.—he asked for wisdom to lead God’s people. God was impressed and pleased with Solomon’s request.
When we ask for God’s wisdom, what we’re saying is that we recognize the fact we can’t do life on our own and that we need God’s help and perfect guidance.
2) Learn to discern God’s voice
Asking for God’s wisdom is the first part, but we also need to learn to discern God’s voice so we can hear Him when he gives it to us.
1 Cor. 2:10 says: “These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.” The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. The spirit is how we hear and recognize God’s voice and everything He tells us. Our spirit, which He has claimed and made new when we accepted Christ’s salvation, is the go-between that connects us to God on a personal level.
Now think of that spirit like a muscle. If we don’t exercise it, it grows weak, but if we use it regularly, it will grow strong. We need to constantly seek a deeper relationship with God by being in communion with Him through our spirit. That, of course, involves prayer and meditating on God’s Word. The more we do this, the stronger our spirit will be and the deeper our relationship with God will be. Then, the closer we are to God, the more we’ll be able to discern his voice from all the other voices around us vying for our attention.
God’s wisdom is the only way to get through this life successfully. Let’s make it a priority to gain as much as we can.