ARE YOU WISE?
by Jeff Hagan
(Tacoma, WA, USA)
I would like to take a moment to briefly discuss wisdom. Not merely a definition of wisdom, but moreso the characteristics of those who are wise and how wisdom operates in life. To start, let me be clear as to what wisdom is not. Wisdom does not mean intelligence or a high amount of education. A wise person does not have to be super smart or well learned. A wise person is one who is full of humility, is godly, open, responsible, and teachable. Wise people face life head on and are willing to change their actions and attitudes as situations arise in order to stay in tune with what is true and good. They are not only open to correction, they welcome it. They ask others to teach them and strong relationships can be built with them through complete honesty.
Those who are wise also feel empathy for others, not just sympathy. Sympathy is merely feeling sorry for one who is troubled over some physical, mental, emotional or spiritual issue. Empathy is feeling their pain with them. Wise people consider more than just their own desires and feelings in any given situation. Due to these traits held by wise people hope is always available that they will continue to grow. The time you spend with them mentoring and teaching is a worthwhile investment because they mature allowing the relationship to grow and blossom. Proverbs 9:8-9 is referring to this when it says, “Correct the wise, and they will love you. Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more” (NLT).
The best way to respond to a wise person is with more... more time, more conversations, more teaching, more discussion. This is so because, as stated above, they are a good investment of your time and energy. Wise people are trustworthy which allows for a relationship that one can enjoy. A truly wise person lives life by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit and wisdom are closely connected several times in Scripture because the Holy Spirit is the source of wisdom. In Job 32:8 we see him connecting the Spirit to discerning wisdom when he says, “But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand” (ESV). And in Ephesians 1:17 we find Paul praying that believers receive the “Spirit of wisdom” (ESV).
Of course the ultimate example in Scripture of living by discerning wisdom through the Spirit is Jesus Christ, but there are many other examples of believers who did the same. Below is a biblical sampling:
-Joshua...was full of the spirit of wisdom” (Deut. 34:9).
-In regards to Othniel, the younger brother of Caleb, we read, “The Spirit of the LORD was upon him, and he judged” (Judg. 3:9-10).
-Now this was said by unbelievers in reference to Daniel, “In whom is the spirit of the holy gods...Understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him...The spirit of the gods is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you” (Dan. 5:11, 14).
-In Acts 6:3 we see that early leaders of the Christian church were “full of the Spirit and of wisdom.”
And Stephen had both “wisdom and the Spirit” (Acts 6:10).
God wants you to be wise and seek out wisdom so that you can make healthy choices, build solid relationships, worship Him in Spirit and in truth, and so that you can know how to handle those who are not wise, or to use the term often found in Scripture, “the foolish.”*
*Article adapted from Driscoll, Mark. Spirit-filled Jesus, pp.123-126.