I don’t remember when it happened. I do remember I was a teenager. I remember I was in my bedroom. I was reading my Bible. Again, I don’t really know why. I had spurts through my teenage years when I would read it. I guess this was one of those times.
I was reading about Solomon. His father, King David had died, and the throne of Israel was being passed to him. Soon after his coronation God came to Solomon in a dream and said, “Ask for whatever you want for me to give you.” Wow! I remember thinking: Really? God does that kind of thing? God was giving Solomon a blank check. He could ask for anything: a long life, wealth, fame, or success. Needless to say I was impressed and puzzled when he took God’s blank check and cashed it in for wisdom. (1 Kings 3:5-12)
It is not easy to define. Google the question and you’ll see there are over 59 million answers. The most generally agreed upon definition includes one’s ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, insight and good judgment. Neither a college degree nor an AARP membership is required.
To complicate things there are two kinds of wisdom. The first, and most common kind, is what the Bible calls human wisdom. Human wisdom has one glaring weakness. It is human. We can’t see the future, the whole picture or even our own motivations. We try to understand as much as we can, but we are just limited. Therefore, human wisdom can only be as wise as humans. It’s tricky because human wisdom cannot separate itself from human selfishness. The Bible describes human wisdom as earthly, unspiritual and in some cases even demonic.
The second kind of wisdom is called God’s wisdom or heavenly wisdom. It comes from God and is bound to His character. It is not of this world and it comes from One who can see the future, all the pieces of the past and even the desires of our hearts. We cannot generate this wisdom. We must receive it. It is not common, but it is easily accessible; that is, if you believe the Bible.
God’s wisdom is available to any person who asks for it. You would think something this precious would be hard to get, but it is not. The Bible is emphatically clear: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” All we have to do to receive God’s wisdom is to ask for it. But asking Him requires two things from us. First, we must believe that God exists and that He cares about our personal decisions. Second, we must humble ourselves and acknowledge that we need His wisdom. If we can overcome these two hurdles, we are in a good position to ask.
Once we’ve got the asking part down, the Bible informs us of what we must NOT do.
But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
The greatest tragedy that occurs when asking God for wisdom is doubting His answer. Imagine a patient asking a doctor for medical advice. The doctor prescribes medicine and a plan to bring about health. The patient listens but begins to doubt the advice and the intentions of the doctor. The prescription is expensive and comes with side effects. The plan requires a diet change, routine exercise, and regular check-ups. The patient thinks: Does this doctor really have my best interests in mind? His plan is costly, time-consuming, uncomfortable and intrusive? THERE HAS GOT TO BE A BETTER WAY!!!! The doctor assures the patient the plan will work, but the patient has doubts.
We ask God for wisdom and he gives us an action plan, but it is not what we wanted to hear. Why?
God’s wisdom is not like human wisdom. It is higher and purer. It loves peace and is way more considerate than human wisdom. God’s wisdom encourages humble choices, keeps the greater good in mind and will promote mercy over justice. It will cling to what is good and hate what is evil…every time. It has no hint of prejudice toward others. In essence, the thoughts and ideas we receive as a result of God’s wisdom will not be conventional. They will not be thoughts and ideas we would not think on our own.
God’s wisdom will encourage you to forgive when human wisdom will push you to hold a grudge. God’s wisdom may nudge you to slow down and respond to someone else’s pain when human wisdom is screaming you don’t have time. God’s wisdom will direct you to do the good thing when human wisdom tells you it’s reasonable to be selfish. God’s wisdom will admonish you to shut up and listen when every fiber in you wants to lash out. Don’t doubt God’s wisdom because it is unconventional. Don’t doubt God’s wisdom because it feels out-of-place. It is it’s unusual quality of being abnormal that makes it not of this world.
The danger of doubting God’s wisdom is that we are left with nothing. We have no rudder for the storms of life. No GPS for the turns ahead. We end up just getting tossed around by the latest fads, morning talk shows, or pop psychology. All generated by human wisdom.
It is simple. Ask God for wisdom and He will give it. But hang on, the ideas you will have as a result of His wisdom will not look like your normal way of reasoning. I try to remember this when I pray for wisdom so I can resist the temptation to doubt His answer.
Start with the biggest question in your life right now. Does God care? Will He help if you ask? If you don’t believe He will then your search for God’s wisdom is over. Your only option is human wisdom. However, if you believe He cares and will answer your request for wisdom, ask Him for it…right now.
Now…wait. Listen. Relax. His wisdom will come. Help is on the way.