What is Wisdom?

LifeLink Devotional

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

James 3:13  Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom…

How would you define wisdom? Many people define it in a limited way as knowledge based on experience. To these people, experience is a wonderful thing. It enables them to recognize a mistake when they make it again.

Unfortunately, this also defines a fool, who keeps doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different result.

According to James 3:13, wisdom involves both understanding and action. Our human dictionary agrees. It states that wisdom is both a quality and an action. Wisdom is the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment. Wisdom also determines the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of experience, knowledge, and good judgment.

Here’s my attempt to write good working definition of wisdom:

Wisdom is the ability to assess a situation accurately and develop a workable plan to accomplish a desired goal.

Two words help me to distinguish between worldly wisdom and Godly wisdom – accurately and desired.  An accurate assessment of any situation depends upon humble spiritual insight that only comes through a Christ-centered mindset. Desired goals that are not dictated by the purpose of God will end up in disorder and ultimately fail. True wisdom develops workable plans based on an understanding of God’s purpose. Such plans are always God glorifying.

Many times, we forget one or both of those vital elements of decision-making. We usually take into consideration the plan of God, but we forget to include God in the outcome. We may study our Bibles and find truths and principles that apply to our situation so we can develop a plan that honors God, but then we may forget to designate God as the beneficiary of any results of the plan. We tend to get so wrapped up in the process that we forget to honor the One responsible for the product. Let me illustrate.

A young ensign, after nearly completing his first overseas cruise, was given an opportunity to display his capabilities at getting the ship under way. He wanted to display his ability to assess the situation accurately and implement a workable plan to accomplish the desired goal. With a stream of commands, he had the decks buzzing with men, and soon the ship was steaming out the channel on route to the United States.

His efficiency established a new record for getting a destroyer under way, and he was not surprised when a seaman approached him with a message from the captain. He was a bit surprised, though, to find it a radio message and even more surprised to read: “My personal congratulations upon completing your underway preparation exercise according to the book and with amazing speed. In your haste, however, you have overlooked one of the unwritten rules—make sure the captain is aboard before getting under way.”

Principle number one of being wise – make sure the outcome of every workable plan not only includes the Captain of our souls but also honors Him.

Pastor John