Tuesday, August 30, 2016


wisdom |ˈwizdəm

noun  the quality of having experience, knowledgeand good judgment

For the Lord gives wisdom
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.  
Proverbs 2:6

Experience, knowledge and good judgment.  Three ingredients that make up wisdom. But what if you have two out of three? Can you still be wise?  Well, let's see:
  • I know that I can get carried away when I drink and I also know there's going to be alcohol at the party, but everybody is going to be there and if I stick to just one drink...experience + knowledge - good judgment = bad decision
  • I've read every book ever written on babies and parenting, and he's dry, has a full tummy and it's not nap time, so why are we having a meltdown in the middle of the grocery store?  knowledge + good judgment - experience = frustration
  • I am a good driver, I keep my car in good condition - so when I decided to take this road trip, I was prepared.  I mapped out the route, gave myself enough time but didn't realize when I passed that last exit that it would be 40 miles until the next exit and now I'm running on empty...good judgment + experience - knowledge = trouble.
The truth is, we really need all three elements to be truly wise.  Experience is priceless.  This is why our children need us as they learn to parent their own kids. I can remember the moment when I realized as a parent that my parents were figuring things out just like me when I was a child.  We think our parents knew everything, but until they had experience under their belt, they were just winging it.

Knowledge is just as important.  God has given us a brain and He expects us to use it.  We have to stretch ourselves - educate ourselves.  Read up on things, make plans, talk to others who have gone before us.  The more information we have, the better decisions we can make.

And then there's good judgment.  All the experience and knowledge in the world means nothing if you don't have good judgment.  This is basically what the psalmist calls "understanding."  When you know what is the right thing to do, does it makes sense to you in a way that causes you to act on your understanding?  Or do you have poor judgment? Do you think the laws of gravity and morality and thermodynamics don't apply to you?  

I love this verse.  In it we see all three ingredient of wisdom.  From the Lord's mouth come knowledge and understanding.  In other words, the Word of the Lord gives knowledge and good judgment.  If you want truth, if you want to make wise decisions, then know the Word.
  • How should I spend my money?
  • Who should I marry?
  • How do I serve a wicked boss?
  • What do I do with office gossip?
  • How should I discipline my children?
  • Does it matter if I tithe?
  • Why do I have to submit to my husband?
  • Why do the wicked prosper while the righteous suffer?
These are just a sampling of questions that God's Word covers.  If we know the truth, then we also receive good judgment when we choose to be obedient.  When we put the outcome in the hands of the Lord by walking in obedience, this is called good judgment. When we choose to submit, or tithe, or wait for a believing spouse, or not to be intimate outside of marriage, or to spank our children, or not to indulge in gossip - when we act on the truth given to us, we have good judgment.

Okay, so what about the third ingredient?  See the first part of the verse:  The Lord gives wisdom.  In this we see why the Lord gives us experience.  He knows that all three ingredients are necessary, so He provides the circumstances to grow our experience, that when added to our knowledge of His word and our understanding that obedience is the safest place for us to be, then we become wise.  What the Lord gives us is the storms of life, the trials and struggles, the joys and then the years that make up our experience.  

My father and my husband's father died when we were in our early thirties.  There is a wisdom that comes from living your adult years without a father.  We walked through illness with our fathers, which has enabled us to speak with wisdom to others who are facing walking through illness with a loved one.  We could read up on cancer all we want and we can talk with others, but until we walked through it, we didn't fully understand it.  Now we can speak with wisdom (experience, knowledge and good judgment) because of what we went through.

When I was younger, I would have hated this post.  I wanted wisdom without the experience.  To my younger reading audience, my advice to you is study the Word as much as you can.  Know it inside and out. Then when the Lord brings life to your door, you can act on what you know.  This will result in wisdom that is way beyond your years.

For those of us who have plenty of experience but not much wisdom, the advice is the same.  Get in the Word.  Learn about your God.  He never changes so what you see in the Word is what you get.  He is wonderful, deep, extravagant and ever present.  The more you know the Word, the easier it will be for you to act upon it, making your experience the practical testimony of either what to do or what not to do based on the Word of God.

Knowing this, now we can thank the Lord for whatever experience He brings into our lives, knowing that He is developing wisdom in our character.

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