Growing in the Gift of Wisdom

Growing in the Gift of Wisdom

One of the gifts of the Spirit that doesn’t receive as much attention as its impressive and flashy counterpart, prophecy, is the gift of wisdom. This unassuming ability, listed among the spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12, is indispensable in helping us flourish in this life. The aim of this article, then, is to help us understand, desire and cultivate the gift of wisdom.

Foolishness & The Beginning of Wisdom

True wisdom at the outset has nothing to do with cleverness, IQ, natural intelligence or education. There are many clever people who Scripture would call fools because they don’t believe in God (Psalm 14:1). There is nothing more utterly foolish than a person (even a savvy and educated person) who rejects “the only wise God” (Romans 16:27, NIV).

As foolishness is marked by rejecting God, true wisdom begins in relationship with the Lord. Proverbs 9:10 (ESV) says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” In other words, this is the starting point of wisdom. Along with this, we mustn’t forget the cross of Jesus, which enables us to know God. It is the wonderful cross that most profoundly displays the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 2:6-7) in saving us, and our relationship with the Lord is always an embrace of the cross.

…godly wisdom can be described as the ability to have insight into people and situations and then to make the right godly choices

Defining the Gift of Wisdom

From this foundation, godly wisdom can be described as the ability to have insight into people and situations and then to make the right godly choices from that insight. This biblical wisdom is not abstract or ethereal but is practical and realistic. It involves the choices we make in everyday life and helps us flourish in our relationships. This is “the wisdom from above“, as James 3:17 (ESV) explains.

Wise Men

The roots of wisdom gifts go back to ancient times, firstly through those recognised as wise men, and secondly through books of wisdom. Wise men were revered along with prophets in former times. These individuals were sponsored by the royal court or the temple, and became prominent men of influence in local communities, as important as the priests and prophets. They acted as counsellors, giving personal counsel and political advice.

… we mustn’t forget that we also need to see wisdom and prophecy walk hand in hand in the church. The Spirit gives both to build up His people.

What was the difference then between the prophet and the wise man? While the prophet spoke God’s words, the wise man was not trying to speak on behalf of God in the same way. Instead, he gave advice in various forms, enabling a person to live a life pleasing to God. Today, we mustn’t forget that we also need to see wisdom and prophecy walk hand in hand in the church. The Spirit gives both to build up His people (1 Corinthians 12:4).

Wise Books

We find wisdom literature sprinkled throughout the Old Testament books and, more notably, in books such as Job, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Job and Ecclesiastes focus on a type of philosophical wisdom, helping the reader accept that life doesn’t always make sense, especially when tragedy and suffering come to us. JI Packer says, “The real basis for wisdom is to realize that most of what happens to us can often be inexplicable”. God doesn’t always give us the ‘why’ and so it wise to acknowledge that we see in part and we will need to trust God when we don’t have the answers. The book of Job and Ecclesiastes teaches us this.

Proverbs is like an ancient Twitter feed.

Proverbs is an example of practical wisdom, giving us down-to-earth, common sense statements that are desperately needed in the crazy, nonsensical culture we find ourselves in today. Proverbs is like an ancient Twitter feed. The book contains short, memorable, pithy statements designed to be hard-hitting and humorous. Because much of the practical wisdom of Proverbs was designed to be remembered, simple overstatements are used. When you read Proverbs, don’t forget that these are catchphrases . They are not meant to be over-analysed or taken to be binding promises. As one author says, “..it speaks truth, but not the whole truth” (Gordon Fee). God, then, has given us Proverbs to keep our feet on the ground, our heads open to reason and our hearts turned towards fearing Him.

Growing in the Gift of Wisdom

At times I find myself lacking in godly wisdom and desperate to grow in it. Fortunately, Scripture says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.“(James 1:5, ESV).

…we have been given the Spirit, the Scriptures and wise individuals to help us make godly decisions

I want to highlight two practical ways in which God can give us wisdom. Firstly, through developing a lifelong love for reading Scripture prayerfully. The wisdom books along with the rest of the Bible are “the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 3:15). Secondly, through learning from godly individuals who have shown to be fruitful in their lives. This can include elders and more mature believers who have succeeded in different areas in life (Proverbs 15:22; Hebrews 13:7). These have been two key ingredients God has repeatedly used to allow me to grow in the gift of wisdom.

In closing, as we look back on a tumultuous 2020, thank God that He gives us what we need to navigate through uncertain waters. We can’t predict the future, but we have been given the Spirit, the Scriptures and wise individuals to help us make godly decisions to glorify God!

Michael serves on the eldership team in Joshua Generation Church and is the Dean of Timothy Ministry Training. He is married to Adrienne, and they have three children. Michael loves to teach, write, train up future leaders and play tennis. Follow him on Facebook and Instagram for more.

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Shepherding
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Caring
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Poor
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Spreading The Gospel
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Adultery
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Intellectual Pride
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God's Favour
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Generosity
Jesus
Purity
Trust
Helps
Mortality
Christian Family Values
Lukewarm
Home Group Leaders
Exhort
Self-Righteousness
Kingdom of God
Commands
Provision
Sex Before Marriage
Mothering
Women in Leadership
Halloween
Honesty
Testing
Crucifixion
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Guilt
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Saints
Leadership Team
Priesthood
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Living for Jesus
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Accusation
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Shame
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Ordaining Elders
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Backslidden
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Atheists
Old Testament Prophet
Ambassadors
Truth in Tension
contradictions
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treasure
Church Planting
Community Leaders
God the Father
Leaders
Salvation
Women
Afterlife
Protection
Dating
Decisions
Eldership
Fleshly Desires
Submission
Gifts of the Spirit
Get Baptised
Works and Faith
Morals
Gift of Wisdom
Females in Leadership
Ordaining
Defence
Commitment
Hearing God
Consequences
Receive Forgiveness
Leadership Training
Living Hope
Zimbabwe
Start a Church
Prophet
New Believers
Being Generous
Study Scripture
Jobs
Entitlement
Misotheists
New Testament Prophet
Work Values
Deacons
Culture
Good News
Maturity
Self-Control
Word of Knowledge
Bitterness
Self-Pity
Courting
Forgiving
Anger
Freedom
Trusting
Gifts
Baptized
Fasting
Overcomer
Words of Wisdom
Leadership
Encounter
Repenting
Challenges
Listening
Caring for Children
Four12 Partners
Training Leaders
St Johns
Relief Fund
Building Church
Evangelist
Dreams
Communion
Being Accountable
Occupation
Rejection
Misotheism
The Case for Christ
Kingdom Priorities
Biblical Contradictions
Movement
Family
Devotion
Goodness
Men
Serving
Word of Wisdom
Brokenness
Sickness
Courtship
Friendship
Church Plant
Hope
Accountable
The Apostolic
Kids
Intercession
Singleness
Fear
lead
Life
Repent
Anxiety
Obey
Child Care
Four12 Partner
Volunteer
Taiwan Church
Israel
Healthy Church
Teacher
Multi-site Church
Perseverance
Loving Others
Profession
Social Media
Hopelessness
Lee Strobel
Kingdom Living
Refining Fire
God's Glory
Love
Discernment
Gospel
Mercy
Shepherding
Work
Caring
Suicide
Desires
Lies
Fathering
Vulnerability
Pride
Evangelising
Obedient
Christian Leadership
Singles
Healing
Direction
Revelation
Conviction
Complacency
Recalibration
Guidance
Transformation
Volunteering
Taiwan Churches
Providence
New Testament Church
Pastor
Church Structure
Feminism
Apostolic Partnership
Vocations
Distractions
Christian Books
Christian Movies
Covenantal Love
Storms of Life
resilience
steadfastness
uncompromising
Four12 Conference
Marriage
Discipleship
Grace
Ministry
Sin
Worship
Confusion
Trials
Husbands
Offence
Humility
Idols
Prophets
Fornication
Planting A Church
Christian Leaders
Debt
The Word
Discipline
Condemnation
Bear Fruit
Complacent
Recalibrating
Teaching Kids
Partners Relief Fund
Apostolic Partnering
Netherlands
Marriage Training
Church
Apostolic Field
Administration
Racism
Church Partnering
Christian Values
Cosmological Argument
Christian Authors
Review
Husband
Isle of Man Conference
Accountability
Doctrine
Healing and Miracles
Money
Social Justice
Youth
Death
Tribulations
Partner
Overcoming
Humbleness
Immorality
Prophecy
The Gospel
Purgatory
Control
Finances
The Word of God
Modesty
Judgement
Bearing Fruit
Comfort
Divorce
Teaching Children
Four12 Partners Relief Fund
Pastors Training
The Poor
Letting Go
Values
Partnering
Heart of God
Justice
Church Partnership
Great Commission
Existence of God
Christian Literature
Old Testament
Romance
Apostles Teaching
Apologetics
Elders
Heaven and Hell
Obedience
Spiritual Gifts
Caring for Others
Depression
Online Church
Spouse
Conflict
Meekness
Lust
Deception
Hell
Raising Children
Godliness
Miracles
Word of God
Ordained
Equality
Breakthrough
Defending My Faith
Covenant
Teenagers
Four12 Churches
Training Pastors
Needy
Rastafarian
Translations of the Bible
Preaching
Authentic Community
Relationship with God
Faith and Works
New Christian
Creation
Reading
Worldviews
God's Love
Presence of God
Apostles
Evangelism
Holiness
Partnership
Stewardship
Caring for People
Doubt
Church Involvement
Wife
Reconciliation
Overseers
Lying
Greed
Immaturity
Raising Kids
Parenting
Poor
Bible
Ordinance
Unforgiveness
Refreshing
Defending The Gospel
Matrimony
Teenage Years
Four12 Church
Youth Leaders
Ireland
Redemption
Godly Leadership
Disciple
Church Discipline
Church Health
False Teachers
Fatherly Love
Tongues
Goats
Fear God
Godly Love
Body of Christ
God's Presence
Apostolic
Faith
Holy Spirit
Pastoring
Suffering
Brotherly Love
Eternity
Community
Wives
Bishops
Shepherd
New Believer
Signs
Christening
Starting A Church
Parents
Poverty
Study the Word
Stewarding
Punishment
Being Hospitable
Sharing The Gospel
Restoration
Training Kids
Malawi
Leading Youth
Surrender
Testimonies
Christ
Delegating
Servant
Social Gospel
Character of God
Worth
Gift of Tongues
Godly Elders
Big Churches
Salvations
Sacrificial Love
Potential Leaders
Authority
Faithfulness
Holy Spirit Baptism
Patience
Teaching
Character of a Deacon
Grief
Compromise
Blueprint
Character
Addiction
Pornography
Signs and Wonders
Baptise
Infant Baptism
Power
Possessions
Study the Bible
Steward
Hatred
Hospitable
Spreading The Gospel
Relationships
Training Children
Health
Youth Training
Counting the Cost
Healing Equip
books
Raising Leaders
Shepherds
Contentment
God's Character
Affirmation
Judaism
Enlightenment
Building Deep
Prostitution
Godly Team
Footholds
Baptism
Fear of God
Hospitality
Peace
The Bible
Church Leaders
Hardship
Fellowship
Holy Living
Character of an Elder
Adultery
Rebelling
Witchcraft
Baby Christian
Kassie du Plessis
Protector
Tithing
Envy
Quiet Times
Retaliation
Lessons
Spreading The Word
Cheating
Training Teenagers
Cancer
Youth Ministry
Following the Call
Four12 Equip
Eldership Training
Community Leading
Pastors
Rest
Sacrificial Serving
Sonship
Jewish
Reason
Selling Out
Prostitutes
honour
favour
Devil's Schemes
Breaking Bread
Festivals
Idolatry
Prayer and Fasting
Theology
Foundations
Heaven
Fellowship of Believers
Leading Church
Diversity
Church Accountability
Rebellion

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