Have you ever followed someone’s advice or went along with what they were doing and realized later that you had made a huge mistake?
Yea, me too.
You went shopping with a friend and overspent your budget so you could get matching bags.
You spent time gossiping with a friend and later learned she was also gossiping about you.
You sat around with other parents and trashed your child’s teacher.
You invested in something that turned out to be a scam.
You jumped to a wrong conclusion and judged someone without knowing all the facts.
You got involved in an ugly social media rant and hurt a friendship.
I’m sure the list could go on and on.
The wise are glad to be instructed, but babbling fools fall flat on their faces.Proverbs 10:8
Yep, been there … done that! I’ve been foolish more times than I’d like to admit.
I’m guessing, that like me, you don’t want to be foolish. You want to know the wise thing to do and do it. But you also know you’ve got some growin’ to do . . . at least I do.
So what’s next?
What should we do when we’ve decided we want to live with wisdom, but change is neither fast nor is it easy.
We need a plan of action.
So, let’s get started…
7 Important Things to Do When You Need to Be Wise
1. Know What it Means to Be Wise.
Wisdom is not intelligence, knowledge or understanding. Wisdom is knowing what is true and right and applying that knowledge and understanding to life.
My favorite simple definition is…
Wisdom is knowing the right thing to do and doing it at the right time!
Whew! I don’t know about you but I need help if I want to live by that definition.
Solomon began the Book of Proverbs like this…
These are the proverbs of Solomon –
Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise.
Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair.Proverbs 1:1–3
2. Admit You Want to Be Wise.
I finally decided that I’d spent way too long learning about life the hard way … living out the consequences of my foolish choices. But I couldn’t stop there! I had to admit my foolishness and that I wanted a better way.
A wise person chooses the right road; a fool takes the wrong one.Proverbs 10:2
I knew I needed help!
3. Know the Truth about the Source of Wisdom.
The Psalmist wrote
The [reverent] fear of the Lord is the beginning (the prerequisite, the absolute essential, the alphabet) of wisdom; A good understanding and a teachable heart are possessed by all those who do the will of the Lord; His praise endures forever.Psalm 11:10 (AMP)
I love that! It says it all. If I want to be wise I need to live with awe and respect for God, trust that He is who He says He is and that He can do what He says He can do.
The Life Application Bible Notes say the following about this verse…
If we do not acknowledge God as the source of wisdom, then our foundation for making wise decisions is shaky and we are prone to mistakes and foolish choices.
But the good news is … God wants to make us wise. We can go to Him in faith and ask!
4. Ask God for the gift of wisdom.
I ask God every morning to give me the wisdom I need to live that day. I don’t need to know what to do next month or next year … I need to know what to do today.
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.James 1:5
Life Application Bible Notes say the wisdom we need is three-fold…
- It is practical for life … godly wisdom is profound ideas put into action.
- It is divine … godly wisdom goes beyond common sense.
- It is Christlike … godly wisdom is asking to be like Christ.
How awesome is it that God wants to give us wisdom that looks like that?!
5. Seek God’s Word for Wisdom.
Intentionally and prayerfully reading and studying God’s Word has changed my life. I’ve learned from the real-life accounts of God’s people … their successes and their failures. I’ve studied the words of prophets, priests and kings. And I’ve read and reread Jesus own words for life … words that are full of wisdom.
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and He will give you everything you need.Luke 12:31
6. Knock – Get Involved and Obey.
This I’ve learned is the hardest part … to actually act on what I’ve prayed for and learned. I know it’s better. I know I’ll enjoy more of the peace, joy, and contentment of life when I do … but like the Apostle Paul, I don’t always do those good things I want to do.
I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.Romans 7:15
Praise God! Because of His grace, mercy, and great love … because of Jesus sacrifice I have a clean slate and an opportunity to try again tomorrow.
7. Learn From Your Mistakes.
As long as you and I are here on earth, we will never be perfectly wise. My friends like to call me “the wise one.” Whew … not even close.
But by God’s grace, I know the One who is. I know where to go when I need wisdom. I know where to take my failures and I trust that He will help me turn foolish mistakes into gained wisdom
The Lord always keeps His promises; He is gracious in all He does. The Lord helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads.Psalm 145:14–15
And repeat #4 through #7 as often as necessary when you need God’s help to be wise.
We have a Father who wants us to live with wisdom and understanding for His glory … knowing it is what’s best for us, too.
We have a Savior who loves us so much He gave up everything to show us what a life of wisdom looks like and who sacrificed Himself to forgive every foolish mistake we’ve ever made.
We have the Holy Spirit who has given us the tools we need to help us grow in wisdom.
We have a God who wants to bless us today, tomorrow, and forever.
My child, listen to what I sayProverbs 2:1–6
and treasure my commands.
Tune your ears to wisdom,
and concentrate on understanding.
Cry out for insight,
and ask for understanding.
Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.
Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
and you will gain knowledge of God.
For the Lord grants wisdom!
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Friend, it is awesome to know that even though you and I will continue to be wisdom works in progress, we are forgiven and free to keep trying.
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