Monday, June 29, 2009

How Do I Gain Wisdom?

John Woodall hosts Part 3 ("Ask and Search") of Northpoint's "Solomon Says" series. John opens with a story about the best Father's Day gift he almost received several years ago...

In May of 2005, Debbie, his wife, and he had a son who lived in San Diego and worked at a Real Estate Investment Trust. John's son called and said, "Dad, are you sitting down?...I just won a 2005 Porshe Carrera!" Saying he didn't believe his son, John reminded him that Father's Day was coming up. Funny... "How did you win the Porsche?" was John's question and he found out that his son had randomly dropped a card into a drawing at a huge convention that he wasn't even really attending but rather sent in afterwards to clean up.

"I knew my son was smart, but I didn't know if he was smart enough to know what to do with a brand new Porsche Carrera." In his lifetime, John said he has watched many very smart people make really unwise decisions. High IQ's don't equate to wise decision making. High achievers and ivy league school graduates have demonstrated poor, poor judgment. The most classic example was probably Enron. The founders grew the company to $65 Billion. They actually had a club called "The Smartest Guys in the Room"!! Jeffrey Skilling IS probably one of the smartest guys in the room, but his room right now is a prison cell.

So, John's objective in the message is to address the differences between wisdom and intelligence. This leaves us with three questions:

1. What is wisdom?
2. How do we gain wisdom?
3. What are the benefits of wisdom?

Question one can be summarized as the ability to properly discern and apply knowledge to any situation. "Knowing what to do with what I know."

In the book of wisdom, Proverbs 2, authored by Solomon, he says,

"My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding..." Solomon is basically saying, "First of all, ASK for wisdom!" Whether it be generally or specifically, are we really asking God for wisdom?

Today is John's 34th anniversary. "In 34 years, you really have no idea how many times I have had to ask God for wisdom...constantly..." God loves it when we ask for wisdom. In the book of James, it says, "If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God and He gives generously."

Last year, John gave a message about a "prodigal son" situation that came up in his family years ago. He had three sons and a daughter and they didn't know whether to put his son in a detention center, keep him on probation, kick him out of the house or take away his car. It was a constant challenge to make wise decisions.

This is where many of us are now in business or in our own families. We are in situations where we need wisdom. God will readily give us wisdom if we would but ask.

Secondly, Solomon suggests we look for wisdom fervently by saying, "and if you look for (wisdom) as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure.." He says it's not a casual pursuit, but an intense, deep-thinking and deliberate search. Scriptures are an amazing book. There are many things we can find if we just look. "...then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding." Fear of the Lord simply acknowledges God for who He is; the Creator of the Universe. We live in awe and honor of him. God should be the center of our lives.

So, ask for wisdom. Search for wisdom. But what are the benefits of wisdom? Let's look further at Solomon's words;

"For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you and understanding will guard you."

Men and women were made in the image of God. We have a body, a spirit and a soul. We know about our body. Our spirit is what we have that makes us aware of a God and our soul is our inner person; our mind, our will and our emotions. So, when scriptures say wisdom will enter our hearts, it changes us and our reactions to life.

John deals with a lot of people, as a pastor, who are troubled in their souls. Studying scripture can give peace and rest to us. It is truly pleasant to the soul. It protects and it guards us. It exalts us and watches over us.

Referring back to his son, Mike and his newly won car, John had advised his son to keep the car in the family. Well, at the same time, Mike had been listening to Andy Stanley and a question Andy called "The Best Question Ever". This question was, "In light of my past, where I've been and from where I've come, in light of my current reality and in light of my future hopes and dreams, what is the wisest thing to do?" Mike was really tempted to keep the car, but he had to make a decision based on Andy's question. He chose to sell the car. "Man, can you believe that?" kids John. The sale price was $95,000. What's more, Mike was wise enough to know that if he put one mile on the car, it would be worth significantly less. But the irony of the situation was, the guy who bought it asked Mike to drive it up the coast to deliver it! So, Mike was able to pay off a wedding, a wedding ring, his school loans, the associated taxes and get a new set of tires for his existing Honda. It was wise to make this decision!

For the next 5 days, John asks us to think about whatever challenge we are currently facing which requires us to make a wise decision. He suggests we first ask God for wisdom. Then, for the days following, to read a chapter a day out of Proverbs as part of our pursuit of it.

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