Today I was reading through Proverbs 4, and there was a series of verses that just grabbed me….I mean as soon as I read them it was like a tractor beam. These are verses that I had read and even underlined. I knew them well. Before I tell you what they were, I need to confess something: I lack wisdom..or at least I feel like I do a lot of the time. I’m not sure if you can relate, but sometimes my prayers are, “God, I’m an idiot. Show me what you want me to do.” I’ve been claiming and praying James 1:5 a lot lately it seems. You know, the verse that says if you lack wisdom, ask God for it and He’ll give it (my paraphrase). I’ve been asking, “God, give me wisdom. I need your wisdom. Wisdom to be a good dad, husband, minister. Wisdom to follow Jesus’ lead. God, help me to not screw this thing up. Give me wisdom to make the right decisions.”
Then, this morning I read these verses out of Proverbs 4:5-7:
5 Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or swerve from them.
6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.
7 Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
I’ve been asking God to give me wisdom He promises to give. The flip side of that is that he tell us to go after wisdom…that’s something that He won’t do for me. He won’t make me pursue wisdom. I have to pursue it. He’ll give it, but I’ve got to also value and pursue it (to the point that it hurts – “Though it cost all you have….”)to be the leader in my life that I need to be. What does a pursuit of wisdom look like? I don’t know exactly for sure, but here are some thoughts and ideas that I’ve been processing through:
1. constant attitude of learning – I think it was Rick Warren that said, “Leaders are learners. If you stop learning, you stop leading.” It just seems that the leaders that I know that seem wise just have this attitude of wanting to gain understanding and never resting on “What Was” or even “What Is” They understand that current success is no guarantee for future success.
2. humility – kind of hand in hand with number 1, wise leaders ooze humility.
3. internalizing the Bible – if we believe that the Bible is God-breathed, then it stands to reason that wisdom is going to come from getting THAT on the inside. Okay, that’s the small-group-no-brainer answer. What has me thinking much more is what that process looks like. I’m coming to conclusion more and more that THAT process looks different for everyone. I haven’t landed on what that looks like exactly for me. Just know I’ve got to get the Word and get some more.
4. different – I need people in my life who are different from me. That may sound elementary, but the tendency, I think in most of us, is to gravitate toward the familiar. We quote that “iron sharpens iron” scripture a lot, but I think that sharpening process is more than just going through a serendipity bible study with people very much like me. That roughing up process is what sharpens… I think it sometimes in the clash of ideas where wisdom can also be gained.