A Call To The Wise
If someone were to use the words “knowledgeable” and “wise” to describe an individual what immediately pops into your mind? Perhaps you picture an aged man stroking his snowy white beard as he slowly mulls over the problem brought up to him by a younger person. Maybe a seasoned woman dignified with elegant silver hair holding her grandkids comes into view. At the very least you likely think of an individual with many answers, much experience, and great skills in life. That is a biblical portrait of such a person. Yet, there is one more component to being a wise soul which we might often leave out.
The wise man or woman is not only known for their answers grounded in the Scripture, they are also marked by their continued desire to increase in learning. We must pay close attention to the words of Solomon the wise man on this matter:
“Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles.” -Proverbs 1:5-6
Note well that Solomon targets his plea to “the wise” in this text. They are to “increase in learning” even though they could already be declared as having learned enough to be known as wise. Whatever we make think of the wise person, one aspect which should come into our minds is the reality that they are continually striving to grow and advance. Indeed, if a soul leaves the path of learning they have left the path of wisdom to traverse down that of folly.
A Distinction Between Scripture and Culture
We live in a society that in many ways encourages continued growth and advancement. How many times in the business world have you heard that if you are not learning and changing then you shall become obsolete in a society filled with technological change? There is a subtle mark of truth in that statement. To remain stagnant as others shall leave you behind the pack in the business world. However, Scripture gives a superior motivation for advancing than this one. Saying we need to move forward to keep up with or get ahead of the world makes the rest of our society the benchmark. We are implicitly stating our objective is simply to keep up with the herd and on a good day we might even sneak out ahead a bit. In Proverbs 1:7 we see a very different picture:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Here we see the powerful truth that a fear of God, a reverential awe and respect for His majestic holiness serves as the foundational point of knowledge. The wise soul does not seek to increase their learning purely to “stay ahead of the crowd” or “get ahead” but to know the God whose wisdom, knowledge, and understanding is an infinite ocean of which our finite minds can hold but a thimble full at best. Wisdom must be God-centered in the wise man for only the wise live a life driven for His glory. Sinful folly drives a man or woman to make even their pursuit of wisdom man-centered. It is the Lord who “gives wisdom” for “from His mouth come knowledge and understanding (see Proverbs 2:6).” Once we see how glorious He is then the pursuit of wisdom is intimately interwoven with a drive to know Him.
It is plainly evident that the wise are not only marked by their valuable insights to pass forward, but by the reality they know the One in whom is found every answer. The Christ of “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” is their Master (see Colossians 2:3).” Knowing this grand truth, let us then as disciples of the Lord focus on always growing. Like a seedling sprouting upward day by day, Jesus grows us through the power of His Word. We must strive to know Him so that we might apply the revelation of Himself in every nook and cranny of our life. Because we are finite creatures serving the infinite Creator, we can always grow in some capacity. If you are a strong family man, there is still room for growth. Perhaps you are very gifted at loving the local church, Christ can still make your love abound even more. Let us allow the living waters to fill our lives to overflowing by the grace of God.
I challenge every one of us to actively pursue this growth. It is one point to write or read about it, while quite another to apply it. Spend time before God in prayer with an open Bible considering areas where He would have you grow. Perhaps it is in a knowledge of a specific doctrine. It could be a fruit of the Spirit like patience or joy. Maybe in showing practical love by fixing a cup of coffee for your spouse in the morning. No growth is too big or small for God’s Spirit to value and empower His people to achieve. Let us pursue learning wisdom so that the God of wisdom might be magnified in our lives!