When we think of wisdom we usually associate it with intellect and knowledge. This view falls well short of God's version of wisdom and those who hold it miss out on the most powerful aspects of God's wisdom – it's basis on the absolute truth and it's power to change you.
“For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.”
Proverbs 2:10 (NIV)
Anyone familiar with the goings-on in a kitchen will know that culinary success depends on following the recipe. Each recipe contains ingredients and directions. Leave out an important ingredient and you don't get what you expect. No yeast in bread will leave it flat. Fail to follow the directions and you'll also fail. Neglecting to mix the ingredients for cake batter before baking it will result in part cooked egg, part powdery flour. The recipe must be completely followed to arrive at the tasty conclusion. If anything is missing, you get something else. Wisdom has a recipe. It has ingredients. It has directions. If you seek after wisdom without considering the total recipe, you get something else. As we examine in detail we will find that what world offers up as wisdom comes up short because it is missing important ingredients and directions.
The World and the Mind
For the world, wisdom is thought of as understanding, intelligence, knowledge—all things that reside in the mind. The acquisition of knowledge is an ongoing process of assessing, thinking, and revising one’s point of view to respond to ever-changing input. What constitutes knowledge today, will face certain revision in the future. For example, much of medical practice from the 18th century has been completely refuted by subsequent discoveries about the human body. None of us will be getting a blood-letting to rebalance our bodily fluids from our family doctor this week. This flow of ever-changing knowledge sets worldly wisdom on the swells and currents of a sea of uncertainty. Now let’s be clear—the acquisition of knowledge and understanding is a noble exercise and should be an integral part of a Christian’s walk. They are both mentioned favorably and often throughout Proverbs, chapter 2. We just need to recognize it for what it is—a temporary understanding of the world around us. We also need to remember that having knowledge doesn’t, by itself, compel you to any action. Because one knows how subatomic particles behave when they collide together at near-light speed doesn’t drive any inherent behavior. At best it is morally neutral.
Ingredients: knowledge, intellect
Directions: think, assess, continually revise
Result: a temporal, morally neutral understanding of the world around us.
Is this what we are really after? Is this truly wisdom? No!
Using this recipe is like setting out to bake a delicious batch of chocolate chip cookies while leaving out the chocolate chips and failing to use the oven! Let’s make it right.
The Missing Ingredient – God
Let’s get God into the mix. If we want to really mean something, base it on the unchanging, absolute truth rather than the flux and volatility of worldly knowledge. God, as the author of the truth is also the source of true wisdom. In fact, wisdom is the fabric of which all of God’s creation is made. To take it a step further, wisdom is the very essence of God designed into all of creation.
The Missing Directions
So how do we incorporate the key ingredient into the mix? The bible gives us three steps to take—the missing directions in the world’s wisdom recipe:
1. Fear God – coming to the realization that God has all wisdom is the first step. Revering Him as the author of all creation, wisdom, and truth sets a yearning for Him.
2. Invite Him into your heart—when you invite God into your heart through faith in Jesus Christ, His wisdom comes along for the ride! Your heart becomes the vessel that holds God’s wisdom. If you haven’t invited Him into it, you simply won’t have it.
3. Ask Him for His wisdom –once His wisdom resides in your heart, you simply have to ask for it when you need it, and He will give it to you (see James 2:5)
Now let’s review the total recipe, ingredients, directions and all:
Ingredients: God, knowledge, understanding, intellect
Directions: fear God, invite Him into your heart, ask Him for His wisdom, think, assess, continually revise
Result: solid, bedrock, unchanging principles to apply to every situation you find yourself in and a changed heart to do it with.
For wisdom will enter your heart when you fear God, when you invite Him into your heart, and when you ask Him for His wisdom.
©2008, 2010 Dan Buckhout
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Internatonal Bible Society.
Used by permission of International Bible Society.