The Way of Wisdom

Sometimes as I read Proverbs, my mind turns towards its human author. It is painful to think of Solomon’s history, beginning as a man who asks God for wisdom over wealth, then later amassing women and materials to a destructive end. I read the very first few, beautiful verses and feel a dissonance:

“The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young- let the wise listen and add to their learning, let the discerning get guidance.” ~ Proverbs 1:1-5

Solomon didn’t leave anyone out. Proverbs are for the “simple” and the “wise” and the “discerning.” There isn’t anyone who suddenly graduates from needing words from God. I wonder if perhaps it was harder for Solomon to put himself in any of these categories as he grew in wisdom, power and wealth. Can we find ourselves feeling so wise that we no longer think we need to evaluate our lives and our thoughts? Are we always “right”? Do others need to know this? Is it difficult to keep wisdom from becoming pride?

I want to live with the wisdom Solomon describes – the kind that leads to a “disciplined and prudent life”, to do what is “right and just and fair” but I get in my own way. Too often I’m motivated by what someone else thinks, rather than simply speaking and acting in a way I know will please my Father. the_way_of_wisdom-title-2-still-16x9I think many of us have this problem – though it manifests itself in different ways. For me it’s a laser-focus desire to have it “together,” or at least be perceived as having it together. I hate when I’m late or forgetful or struggling. Often I’m aware that I’m late or forgetful or struggling for a good reason, that it may even be God-given and doesn’t mean I’m no longer living a discipline and prudent life. But I persevere and work ten-times harder to regain the appearance of having it “together.” I wear myself out, usually for the sake of my own pride, instead of just focusing on what my Father is thinking and doing.

Whenever our concern turns from what God thinks to what people think, or from what God desires to what we desire, we get off the path of wisdom. So much wisdom comes in relinquishing are own self.  It is going to Him every day, moment by moment, to understand His will for us and to follow Him wholly, without carrying the burdensome encumbrance of our own pride.

Some of the most well-known verses in Proverbs are from the 3rd chapter:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

To which I say, “Amen Lord!” May He straighten our paths as we study His Word this month. May the Holy Spirit fill our hearts and minds with wisdom to live freely and fully.

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