Saturday, April 9, 2011

Characteristics of the Wise

The entire book of Proverbs is a guide to attaining wisdom. But what good is all the wisdom in the world if you do not use it? Today I want to look at applying wisdom to your life. What are the important characteristics that wise people display according to God? How can we use this information and apply it to our own lives?

I must start off with what I believe to be the most important characteristic of a truly wise person. He is a born-again believer and disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. “My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”(Colossians 2:2-3). Jesus Christ is the Wisdom of God. One can have all the training and knowledge in the world but without Christ it is worthless. He may make a “good” living but apart from Christ he will never be able to succeed in making a good life that brings glory and honor to the Father. The wise put their trust and hope in Christ and live obediently to Him.

Wise people listen to wise instruction and gain knowledge constantly. “A wise man will hear and increase his learning” (Proverbs 1:5). “Stop listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge” (19: 27). “Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding” (23:23). Wise people diligently seek God’s Word. Knowledge and wisdom is not something that is gained haphazardly. It is work, diligent work. In order for us to gain wisdom, we too must spend time in God’s Word soaking up wisdom and applying its commands to our lives.

The wise fear the Lord. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7). They respect God, seek to obey His will and honor His name. The fear of the Lord is “a fountain of life” (14:27), leads to life (19:23), gives security (14:26), gives hope (23:17-18), and gives the promise of long life (10:27).

Wise people associate with other wise people. “He who walks with wise men, will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20). “A righteous man is cautious in friendships, but the way of the wicked leads them astray” (12:26).

The wise will preserve the knowledge they have gained and apply it to their lives. “Wise people store up knowledge, but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction (Proverbs 10:14). “The lazy man does not roast his game, but the diligent man prizes his possessions” ( 12:27). A truly wise person will treasure up the knowledge and skills they have worked diligently for and use their wealth of knowledge to bring honor and glory to God instead of puffing themselves up. “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (16:18).

A wise person flees from sin instead of running head strong into it. “To fear the Lord is to hate evil” (Proverbs 8:13). “A wise man fears and departs from evil, but a fool rages and is self-confident” (14:16). The wise do not take unnecessary chances nor play in the devil’s playground. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7).

The wise discipline their speech. “A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction” (Proverbs 16:23). “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips are wise” (10:19).

Wise people are diligent in their work. “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth…” (Proverbs 10:4) Throughout Proverbs God tells us that lazy people are disgraceful. Wise people work hard, making the most of every opportunity God blesses them with.

Wise people influence other people. The wise person influences wayward people so they put their trust and hope in Christ also. “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30). Wise Christians are “fishers of men” (Luke 5:10). Wisdom leads to righteousness, and righteousness produces fruit which entices others to partake in it. The wise want their words and actions to be an example for others to follow and lead them into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

Christians should want to follow in the ways of the wise because this will bring glory and honor to Christ. Wisdom leads to an everlasting life with our Father in heaven. The wise person is promised to inherit glory (Proverbs 3:35), bring joy to others (10:1), bring help from God (12:18), never be in want (21:10), and have the strength to wage war in both the spiritual and physical realms (24:5-6). The wise has great power and strength that is coupled with the desire to bring glory to God and God alone.

“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning.” Proverbs 1:5.

Dear Father in heaven I seek today to gain more understanding from You. I diligently seek wisdom because it is like a precious stone more valuable to me than anything else in the world. Lord I want to seek Your ways and not my own for my ways are foolish. Lord open my ears so I can hear Your instructions. Open my eyes so I may see what Your perfect will for my life is. Open my heart so I can search for You and Your ways with all of my heart and apply it to the very depths of my soul.

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