Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Wisdom and Folly

3 [Wisdom] has sent out her female servants;
she calls out from the highest points of the city:
4 “Whoever is inexperienced, enter here!”

14 [Folly] sits by the doorway of her house,
on a seat at the highest point of the city,
15 calling to those who pass by,
who go straight ahead on their paths:
16 “Whoever is inexperienced, enter here!”
Proverbs 9:3-4, 14-16 (emphasis mine)

How hard it is sometimes to discern between the path of wisdom and the path of folly! They both call for our attention and seek to guide us a certain way. They are not the same path, but they can look very similar. So which one is right? If we are foolish, the path we choose still seems right to us (Proverbs 12:15). How do we discern between the two?

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Proverbs 9:10

We must know God and His Word if we are to find the path of wisdom. Recognizing this need for Him and His instruction is itself the beginning of wisdom, and to know God is to have understanding. We must also not forget the direct approach:

James 1:5 Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.

God is the only source of wisdom, so if you need it, ask for it. It's hard to remember to do this, but I try to ask God for wisdom every day, along with at least one fruit of the Spirit based on my circumstances of the time (right now it is joy that I am asking for). Even so, this exhortation from James is in the middle of his thoughts about proper responses to the trials we face. It is a rare and beautiful gift to be able to understand why you are going through the hardships you face as well as how they will be used by God to conform you to Christ-likeness.

I think, or at least I would hope, that given the same choice as Solomon (2 Chronicles 1:7,10) I would also choose wisdom. I hope you would, too.

7 Wisdom is supreme—so get wisdom.
And whatever else you get, get understanding.
Proverbs 4:7