How do you know you are wise?

I have recently read Proverbs. It is full of common sense, excellent advice and wonderful wisdom. So, after reading it and reflecting on my own life, I quickly realised I needed to read it again. I really want the wise life that God talks about, that he offers to all who would seek it. This time though I would read it with help. I found a good devotion by the “Bible Project” on ‘YouVersion’ and invited my home group to read through Proverbs with me. It helped that we were going through James, as James is heavily influenced by Proverbs. James also says “if we lack wisdom, ask God who gives generously without finding fault” 1:5. Here are a few things that I discovered: – Proverbs is about the Good Life. God wants us to have a good life and he shares the wisdom in finding and experiencing it. – Wisdom isn’t just knowing the right thing. I learnt that there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. The Hebrew word for wisdom involves acting on your knowledge. The wise know what is right and good and fair and live that out. This is huge! Wisdom isn’t just giving good advice (although that is a part of it). You must live it out in your life. Don’t just listen to the word, but do what it says. – I saw Proverbs as a way of being a better parent. That is, I thought if I only followed the parenting passages then my kids would somehow become self-parenting angels. I was bitterly disappointed. What I learnt is that for all the advice Proverbs gives about parenting, marriage, friends, etc, these proverbs aren’t about controlling or changing others to be better. It is about learning and changing your own heart and behaviour in these context and relationships. I thank God for teaching me this. I can’t change anyone, but I can change myself and what peace I have found in allowing God’s word to change me. – A lot of wisdom comes down to your speech. What you do say and what you don’t say. How you say something and who you say it to. I have printed out 3 verses that help me in all relationships and contexts. Proverbs 10:19 Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut. Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. Proverbs 15:28 The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking; the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words. May we all find and enjoy the good life through the wisdom that God offers us. Chris Forder

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