Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines wisdom as: “The right use or exercise of knowledge; the choice of laudable ends, and of the best means to accomplish them. This is wisdom in act, effect, or practice. …It differs somewhat from prudence, in this respect; prudence is the exercise of sound judgment in avoiding evils; wisdom is the exercise of sound judgment either in avoiding evils or attempting good.”
Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. In other words, it is the right or appropriate application of truth, especially truth from God’s Word. It’s knowing the right or best thing to do or say and doing it. The Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. If we want to “get wisdom”, we must begin with God’s Word.
Many years ago, my small group at church decided that we would memorize the book of James. One day as I was practicing chapter 1, I was reciting, “…Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom….” When I got to this point, I stopped. Persevering through trials makes us mature and complete – not lacking anything, including wisdom. It suddenly occurred to me that if we lack wisdom, and ask God for it, He may choose to give us wisdom by allowing us to face trials. Wisdom frequently comes through experience, persevering through trials. Haven’t you found this to be so?
Since my initial memorization of James 1, I have persevered through some trials I would never have imagined and certainly not have chosen. I can see how it has changed me, tempered me, matured me. God uses everything in our lives, even the most devastating, for our good and His glory if we persevere and trust Him through them. When I’m willing for God to use my suffering to shape and teach me, then even the most grievous trials I have persevered through have given me wisdom and depth of insight that I deeply treasure. Proverbs 3:13 says that those who find wisdom are blessed and Proverbs 8:11 says that wisdom is more precious than rubies and nothing that you can desire can compare to her.
How much better to get wisdom than gold,
to get insight rather than silver!