Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Treasure Worth Seeking

 Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.  ~ Proverbs 24:3-4


Even though I have been asked several times how I've acquired my wealth of wisdom, I've always brushed off the question, because it made me feel quite uncomfortable.  I've always known that I still have much to learn, and I've always been privileged to know others with much more wisdom than I have, so I've never felt particularly wise.  However, I finally decided to at least ponder the question -- where did I get the measure of wisdom that I possess?   As the Lord revealed the answer to that question, I decided that I would share it here.  This is what I've done (and what you can do) to obtain wisdom.

Ask for Wisdom

The first step in attaining wisdom is to desire it enough to ask for it.  God was so pleased when Solomon asked for wisdom and understanding, that He gave him not only wisdom, but also riches and honor!  This account is in 1 Kings chapter 3:

10And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.

 11And God said unto him, "Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life, neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies, but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment,

 12behold, I have done according to thy words. Lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart, so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.

 13And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches and honor, so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.

It still pleases God when we ask for wisdom!

James 1:5 says,  "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him."

So, the first step to becoming wise is simply to ask God to give you wisdom!

Read Proverbs

The book of Proverbs is written primarily by Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived.  Proverbs 1:1-7 outlines the purpose of the book:

The Proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:
 2to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;

 3to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity;

 4to give subtlety to the simple, and to the young man knowledge and discretion.

 5A wise man will hear and will increase learning, and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsel

 6to understand a proverb and the interpretation, the words of the wise and their dark sayings.

 7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
I don't think it is a coincidence that there are 31 chapters of Proverbs -- one for every day of the month.  For the last twenty years, I've made it a habit to read the chapter of Proverbs each morning that corresponds to the day of the month.  I usually read the chapter a second time aloud to the children during breakfast, because I believe every child should be brought up on a daily diet of Proverbs.

So, if you want to attain wisdom, read Proverbs daily!!

Fear the Lord

The Bible clearly teaches that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding."  (Proverbs 9:10) 
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments."  (Psalm 111:10)

Many people deceive themselves into thinking that they can be wise without fearing the Lord, but the Bible teaches that the wisdom of man is foolishness to God!

"For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.  And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain."  (1 Corinthians 3:19-20) 
"Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men."  (1 Corinthians 1:25)

So, if you want to be wise, start by developing a reverential fear of God.

Search for Wisdom

The fear of the Lord is just the beginning of wisdom.  True wisdom is a treasure that must be searched out like one searches for buried treasure.  Consider the following verse:

"In whom (Jesus) are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."  (Colossians 2:3)

I once heard a wise man assert that if you think the Scriptures are silent on a particular topic, you haven't searched them thoroughly enough yet.  There are principles in the Scriptures that apply to everything we face even in our modern culture!

The amazing thing is that God has purposely designed the Scriptures to conceal his wisdom from the casual observer.  In order to discover God's wisdom on a particular subject, we must search the Scriptures for wisdom as we would hunt for buried treasure, and dig for nuggets of wisdom as we would for gold or silver.  Only then will we mine the true riches of God's Word and learn His Wisdom!

This involves digging into passages by researching what word was used in the original Hebrew or Greek languages, looking up words in expository dictionaries, reading cross-references, mediating on passages, etc.  

If you want to get a picture of what this looks like -- think about one of my favorite movies -- National Treasure.  The Gates family for generations had given their lives and their fortunes to searching for the greatest treasure the world had ever known.   Ben Gates invested everything he had to follow clues, decipher codes, figure out riddles and solve mysteries in order to unearth the buried treasure.  Imagine if we approached the treasure of God's Word with the same tenacity!!

Value Wisdom

Throughout history men have risked their lives to find buried treasure, but Scripture teaches that we should value wisdom even more than riches.

"Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.  For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.  She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her."  (Proverbs 3:13-15)

"Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.  For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it . . .  My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver."  (Proverbs 8:10-11,19)

 "How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!"  (Proverbs 16:16)

Therefore, it is prudent to invest a sizable amount of our time and money into gaining wisdom. 

I have a large library of books, teaching tapes/CDs, and videos that were purchased with that goal in mind.  I have also attended outstanding seminars and conferences that made huge impacts on my life.

Definitely the most life-changing seminar I attended was the Basic Seminar from the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP).  This seminar taught my husband and myself seven basic principles that are woven throughout Scripture and provide a basis for applying the Scriptures to our daily lives and everyday decisions.   

Proverbs 9:1 says, "Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars."  

I believe these seven pillars of wisdom have been identified in the seven basic principles which we learned at that seminar and which greatly influenced our lives and gave us the foundation we needed for overcoming common problems and making wise decisions.  If you ever have the opportunity, I strongly encourage you to attend a Basic Seminar!  You can actually download the first session for FREE here and view it in your own home at your convenience.

Choose Wise Friends

Proverbs 13:20 says, "He [she] that walketh with wise men [women] shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed."

We all tend to be influenced by the company we keep, so it is important to surround ourselves with wise, godly friends who are also seeking the Lord.

Through the years, I've been blessed to have many incredible friends.  I've always tried to surround myself with women who were seeking the Lord and living wisely.  God has used many of these friends in my life to challenge me to become more Christ-like and to surrender new areas of my life to His control.

When you can't find any godly friends in your church or community, you can at least seek out godly women in the online community to help mentor and encourage you.  Today, when the world is at your doorstep, there is no excuse to not surround yourself with the influence of godly women.

Also, carefully monitor the books and magazines that you read and movies and TV shows that you view.  Consider whether these are influencing you to adopt the wisdom of this world . . . or the wisdom of God?  According to James chapter 3 -- 

 13Who is a wise man [woman] and endued with knowledge among you? Let him  show his works out of good conduct and with the meekness of wisdom.      
14But if ye have bitter envy and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

 15Such wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

 16For where envy and strife are, there is confusion and every evil work.
 17But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

Is it worth it?

Gaining wisdom is not easy, so is it worth it??  If, like me, you are trying to build a peaceful, nurturing home, a strong marriage, and a godly family, you will find wisdom essential for the challenges you will face!  Building a lasting legacy requires much wisdom!!
Every wise woman buildeth her house, but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.  (Proverbs 14:1)



{esther} said...

Hello, Elizabeth!

I just found your blog through June's blog. And I couldn't help myself, I had to comment and follow. ;0)

I'm the oldest of 15 children. {9 girls, 6 boys} I love meeting large families.

Thanks for taking the time to write and encourage!

Much Love & Blessings,

busymomof10 said...

Welcome Esther!!

Wow -- the oldest of 15 children! What a heritage! I look forward to reading about your life!

Donna G. said...

This post was certainly filled with a lot of wisdom! =) Seriously, Elizabeth, you are one of my role models. I'm thankful to know you! One point that stuck out to me in this post was about fearing God. We don't do that enough in modern times, and the consequences are showing.

Rebecca's Refining said...

Great post! Thanks for the reminder, encouragement, and prodding to do better! Love you! :)

mamamia said...

inspirational! thank you for your encouraging words.
God bless you!

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