Walking in Godly Wisdom Over Worldly Wisdom
Milk, eggs, chicken … I sat at our dining room table one morning in December, working on a shopping list. As I put the first few items down my heart was restless, but I tried to push away the uneasy feeling that arose inside of me. I know we don’t really have the money for these things, but it’s just the basics … surely God understands we need these things and won’t mind us using the credit card again … especially since company is coming tonight … we can pay it back once Judah starts his job…
For several weeks, we had been in a season with zero income. My husband Judah was waiting to start his new job, and it was taking a little bit longer than we had expected. Almost without thinking, we had resorted to using our credit card as needs arose, justifying it because we’d soon have the money to pay it back. But that day, as I made our shopping list, Judah came and sat down next to me at the table. “I think we need to wait to buy anything else until God provides the money,” he said.
As soon as the words came out of his mouth, I knew he was right. Even as the excuses came flooding to my mind, I knew this was a step of faith we needed to take, trusting God’s wisdom over the facts in front of us. We had no idea where the money would come from, but we prayed together, and chose to wait for Him to provide in His way.
A week went by, and somehow we made it without buying any groceries. But by the following week, our fridge and cabinets were almost completely bare. Even though it was so tempting to pull out that shiny piece of plastic in our wallet to fix the problem, we chose to stick to our decision to wait on the Lord’s provision.
That evening, we happened to be at a graduation ceremony for one of my siblings. As I listened to the message being given, I felt the Lord prompting me to pray again for the money to come. Lord, I have absolutely no idea where the money is going to come from, but I am asking again that You would provide. You know we hardly have enough food to make it through tomorrow, so I am trusting that You will provide this money somehow, in some way, tonight.
After the ceremony was over, some family members came up to us. “We’ll be going out of town for Christmas, so we wanted to be sure to give you your Christmas present before we left.” With that, they handed us an envelope. As they walked away, I took a peek inside — a check for $100! I could hardly believe my eyes. God had done what seemed impossible. If we had chosen to listen to our culture’s method of meeting a need, we would have been in debt and missed out on experiencing God’s perfect provision and His demonstration of loving care for us.
Every one of us faces countless decisions throughout our days. Some are big, some are small, but in each one we are consciously or subconsciously making these decisions based on either God’s wisdom or worldly wisdom. God’s wisdom is so vastly different than the wisdom of the world. Worldly wisdom looks at the facts and plans according to what seems to be the most logical; it is dependent upon our own intuition and limited insight about the world and what is going on around us. God’s wisdom, however, doesn’t depend on what is happening in this world. It is supernatural and goes far beyond our understanding. And this is how we are called to function as those who have been called to seek God’s wisdom above any other.
True wisdom comes from one place alone: God. Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” No one can have true wisdom apart from knowing, loving, and fearing the Lord. What is amazing about this wisdom is that it will appear foolish to those who don’t have it. 1 Corinthians 2:7-8 says, “But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (NASB).
Our spiritual eyes must be opened before we can even begin to understand and practice God’s wisdom. Chances are — if we’re functioning in God’s wisdom — we’ll get some funny looks from others who are not. God’s wisdom looks like foolishness to this world. As it says in 1 Corinthians 1:27, “…God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise…” (NASB). And it is when we choose to live in God’s wisdom that we will get to experience the joy and excitement of God’s supernatural, unfathomable ways.
First, we have to start from a place of knowing that we don’t have this wisdom in and of ourselves. But once we realize this and trust the Lord to provide it, the wisdom that is available to us is endless. We must also realize that walking in this wisdom requires faith. We often have to choose between what we see in the natural world and what we know to be true according to God’s Word. It is in those moments that we must look to Jesus, trusting that His ways are higher than ours.
Contrary to how it might seem, when we choose to look to what the world would call wisdom, it doesn’t bring us greater peace or security. In fact, the opposite is true. Oswald Chambers said, “All our fret and worry is caused by calculating without God.”
When we are trusting our own intuition and reasoning, we end up more anxious because we are “leaning on our own understanding” rather than His. (See Proverbs 3:5-6.) Even though it might seem counterintuitive to live in God’s wisdom at times, it will always bring an increased trust in Him and deeper rest in His ways. The more we live this way, the more we will want to live this way! And when others see us living out God’s supernatural reality, they will be drawn to Him, too.
So, how do you know if we are functioning in God’s wisdom? Here are a few things to consider as you gauge this in your own life.
Seek the Lord
“With Him are wisdom and might; To Him belong counsel and understanding” Job 12:13 (NASB).
This is where it all begins: with God. Wisdom comes from the Lord alone. If we are intent on knowing Him and looking to Him in everything, we can be sure He will grant us His wisdom. But our ultimate goal shouldn’t be gaining wisdom, but knowing and loving God more. The more we get to know Him, the more we will love Him and be in awe of His perfect ways, and wisdom will be an outflow of this. Spend time on a daily basis in Scripture, filling your mind and heart with truth. Trust Him and walk in dependence upon His Spirit, and He will delight to give you His supernatural wisdom. Proverbs 2:7 says, “He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity” (NASB).
Ask the Lord
One of the verses that has become foundational to me, and that I remind myself of on an almost-daily basis, is James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (ESV). This is a promise we can hold on to. I have had countless times of feeling completely helpless in knowing what to do in certain situations, and the Lord has brought this verse to mind just when I need it. As I’ve asked God for wisdom, I have never had a situation when He has not provided the exact insight I needed. Develop a habit of asking the Lord for wisdom as you approach decisions you’re not sure how to handle. It doesn’t matter if they are big or small, God is honored when we come to Him, acknowledging that He has all we need for every situation we face.
Surround Yourself with Wise Counsel
C.S. Lewis said, “The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.”
There are so many situations we face in life when we need the perspective of others. This is something that God says in Scripture is a wise thing to do. (See Proverbs 11:14; 15:22.) But it’s extremely important that we are selective about who we seek that perspective from. We must surround ourselves with people who are also seeking God and whose lives show that they are walking in godly wisdom.
Start by looking at the lives of those you are considering asking for advice. Is there evidence of godly fruit in their lives? Have they walked with the Lord for an extended period of time? Do you see them practicing God’s wisdom on a regular basis with their own decisions?
Peers can certainly offer helpful perspective, but I would also highly encourage you to seek the counsel of those who are older and who are further down the road in their walk with the Lord. Find those who have already experienced the things you are walking through, and who you know will be able to encourage you when it is difficult to hold fast to your decision to walk in wisdom and integrity.
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God’s wisdom may not always make sense in the moment, but it is always perfect. And when we look back on the times we chose to trust Him — and walk in the wisdom He provided in those moments — we will see a stunning picture of His faithfulness, goodness, love, and trustworthiness toward us in every way.