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Stumbling Blocks into Stepping Stones: Wisdom

“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.” Proverbs 3:13-14

Throughout the Bible, wisdom is spoken of with great renown. One of the most precious gifts you can receive from God, we are told to “ask, and we shall receive” (James 1:5); however, one thing I’ve noticed is that not many people clearly explain what it means to have wisdom and understanding. What are we really asking for? Proverbs 4:7 reads, “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” After reading this verse, some might believe that we have to lose everything to acquire these gifts, but what it’s actually speaking about is the cost of salvation. (click here to read my series on Saved) I’ve lost count of how many people have encouraged me to ask God for wisdom, yet no one has ever clearly explained what obtaining these gifts does for my faith.

When teaching about wisdom, the most common example used is King Solomon. In 1 Kings 3, the Lord appeared to Solomon at Gibeon and said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” (1 Kings 3:5) To which Solomon replied, “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (1 Kings 3:7-9)

Pleased with his answer, Elohim granted Solomon’s request, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.” (1 Kings 3:11-12)

Solomon’s wisdom was so great that word spread across the world, bringing kings and queens to Jerusalem to seek his counsel. However, despite being the wisest man on earth, Solomon was not so wise when it came to women and the gods his many wives brought into Israel. Straying off the path of righteousness, lured by fleshly desires, Solomon went on a detour, searching for purpose in the things of this world.

“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil.” Ecclesiastes 2:10

Towards the end of his life, Solomon looked back on all he’d learned and wrote his thoughts, bringing insight into his pursuit of happiness. Not only did he conclude that everything in this world is meaningless (Ecclesiastes 2:11), but that the whole duty of man is to fear God and keep His commandments. (Ecclesiastes 12:13) While Solomon went through years of finding meaning in that which is temporary, in that trial, he gives us the greatest wisdom of all; the book of Ecclesiastes.

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When the Father revealed how Satan was sowing seeds of pride into my heart, I began studying how we should live with godly wisdom when God answers our request for wisdom and understanding. Throughout my reading, I continued to return to the same question, “What can we learn from Solomon’s quest?” He was so wise, and yet spent years wandering further away from God, trying to find what only God/Jesus can provide, so how can Solomon’s temptations and struggles help us not make the same mistakes and hold on tighter to God’s wisdom rather than the world’s?

I believe that we all have to go down a path of temptation and trials. Without them, how can we build a personal relationship with the Lord and truly learn the meaning of the words, “dead to self”? (Romans 6:1-14) What I’m continuing to understand is that faith is an ongoing battle between the Spirit and flesh. Despite witnessing miracles and having personal encounters with Yeshua, there are still moments where we will doubt and stumble. (More on doubt to come later in this series) Solomon’s faith journey shows that having wisdom doesn’t mean we will be susceptible to the human flesh or the enemy’s stumbling blocks. Too often, we confuse worldly wisdom with godly and miss the opportunity to learn how His wisdom empowers us through difficulties. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of Satan’s stratagems tripping me up. More than ever, I’m determined to use Yeshua’s teachings and the wisdom found in the Word to shape my faith, aiding me as I create stepping stones out of stumbling blocks.

“And he [God] said to the human race, ‘The fear of the Lord — that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.’” Job 28:28

Gaining Wisdom and Understanding

After hearing Solomon’s story, I got it in my mind that I could only ask God for the things that I believed would please Him. I blindly asked for wisdom for years, just as Proverbs encouraged, but I never waited to see if God answered my prayers. It wasn’t until people began to tell me that I was wise or my words full of truth, that I realized how God was speaking through me.

Now, I’m not writing this to be big-headed. I believe that the Scriptures and Holy Spirit, the source of wisdom (2 Timothy 3:15; 1 Corinthians 2:6-16), can speak through anyone who has an ear to hear His voice and a willingness to echo the words to others. As we mature in our faith, we will begin to understand that having a relationship with God is not about asking for the right things or only speaking what you think He wants to hear; it’s about allowing Him to use us in different ways and coming to Him completely as we are, open and honest, raw and bare so that He can use us as vessels/instruments. (2 Timothy 2:21)

I recently read the book A Change of Affection by Becket Cook. (click here to read my review) As he wrote about the radical life-changing experience he had with Jesus, he said something profound, “I had to become a fool before I could become wise.” For more than twenty years, Becket had identified and lived within the LGBTQ+ community as a gay man until he had an awakening encounter with the Holy Spirit. Becket lost everything — his flesh and identity as a homosexual man — to gain everything — a life in the Kingdom (salvation), with the Jesus/Yeshua as his foundation and new identity.

Committing to a life of the Spirit will be the most significant test of our lives. We have to become completely bare for the Spirit to dwell within us; however, the journey is worth it! When we live for Yeshua, our lives are given a whole new meaning and become more than we could ever have imagined! As we mature and draw closer to Him, wisdom and understanding follow.

So, What Now?

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:13-17

Each one of us is being used in the Kingdom of God. We are all unique and have specific gifts to offer in service to God and others. (1 Corinthians 12:4-11) Nevertheless, Satan will use those gifts to try and warp them for his benefit. We do not reach the end of our maturity when we receive the gift of wisdom; in fact, it is only the beginning. Now stands the true test of our faith and the opportunity to live our lives for His purpose and glory. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

“My son [and daughter], do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.” Proverbs 3:21-22 [Emphasis my own]

Even with God’s most precious gift, we are not protected from stumbling blocks; however, they do not need to be our downfall! All of us will fall at some point, it’s a given, but instead of becoming discouraged, we must learn how to pick ourselves back up, take the Father’s hand, brush off the dirt, and use the stumble as a lesson for the future. Wisdom is an incredible gift from God, but the sooner we learn that it is not ours, the quicker we will understand the profound words written in the Bible that tell us how true wisdom comes from fearing the Lord and obeying His commandments!

The same prayer Paul prayed over the Colossians, I am praying over each one of you, “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:9-14)

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