I would like to grow in wisdom. I want wisdom to be reflected in my choices and decisions. Yet, there is no way to microwave wisdom. There is no instant way to suddenly be a person of wisdom. Growing in wisdom is not like sending a text message when a few seconds later it will appear on someone’s phone. No, growing in wisdom takes time. Yet, it is good to desire wisdom and to pray for wisdom.
Consider the following as you think about wanting to be a person who pursues wisdom:
1. Learn from people who seem to consistently make wise choices. Look for the people in your life who use some wisdom regarding what they say, what they do, and the overall choices they make. Don’t be distracted by popularity, celebrity, or wealth. Some of the wisest people you will ever meet may actually be in your family, your church, or your neighborhood. These people could be either women or men. These people might be well known or people few seem to know. Look for wisdom and learn. Watching such people has been very helpful to me. I have learned from a number of people through the years and have gained much wisdom both from their words and examples.
2. Learn from your mistakes, failures, and sins. As you think about your past mistakes, reflect on the process that got you to that point. Was your decision impulsive? Were you tempted by a promise of instant gratification? Did you fail to think through the consequences? Did you ignore the warnings of your family and close friends? What went wrong? In other words, learn from some of these decisions instead of just repeating them again and again.
About twelve years ago, I bought a new SUV. This was an impulsive decision made one week when I was frustrated with my car and had begun visiting the new car lots. The purchase was a poor decision. Six months later I sold this SUV. I hope that I learned something from this experience.
3. Learn from biographies. I started reading biographies many years ago. Sometimes when I read a good biography, I feel like I have had a conversation with the person though she/he may have been deceased for many years. There is much wisdom to be gained from looking over another’s shoulder. Learn from another’s good judgement. Learn also from another’s failure.
4. Learn through a weekly review. During this review time each week, think about the way you used your time during the previous week. For example, during the previous week, did you use your time wisely? For example, if you are a student and you have a major paper due in two weeks, did you spend time last week investing in this paper? Or, if you worked long hours last week, perhaps wisdom dictates that you adjust your schedule so that you can spend more time with your family this week. Or, perhaps your job means that you sit in front a computer monitor most of the day. Wisdom might suggest that you invest in some degree of vigorous exercise each day so that you can take care of your body.
5. Learn from Scripture. Read the book of Proverbs. Read the various contrasts in the Old Testament between the wise person and the foolish person. In the New Testament, listen to Jesus’ words regarding wisdom and foolishness. Finally read the book of James. Pray that God might give you wisdom for what you are dealing with in life.
- What else would you add to this list?
- Who have been your models of wisdom? Who have you learned from?