Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 4:15-16
The wise hunter finds landmarks by which to find his way in and out of the woods. I’ve learned the hard way how easy it is to walk in circles or get lost altogether. I’ve gotten lost in the wee hours of the morning, late at night, and even in the middle of the afternoon...all because I miss the landmarks. On the other hand, the best hunter I know breezes through the woods like a deer, never gets lost, and goes right where he needs to go because from the moment he enters the woods he finds and remembers landmarks.
How often we can find ourselves just going with the flow, allowing life and circumstances to take us where they will, with our spiritual eyes closed, not getting any closer to the prize, not getting any closer to Christ, but rather just spinning our wheels spiritually. We don’t evaluate our heading on a regular basis, and finally we open our eyes to find we’re way off course, away from the Lord.
The Bible has much to say to us about how we should walk, that is, how we should live. It gives us many landmarks, as it were. It says in many different ways this same thing: Steer clear of the temporal nonsense that so easily entangles us, and instead engage in an intentional pursuit of spiritual things.
One such passage is listed above, Ephesians 5:15-16, calling us to walk in wisdom. The world around us does nothing to spur us on to wise living. Quite the opposite. It lulls us to sleep so that we close our spiritual eyes and wander headlong into unwise living. This is why Paul calls us to reject walking or living unwisely before calling us to live wisely.
Wisdom and folly call to us, and we have a decision to make (Providence 9:1-18). Whether we realize it or not, we make that decision everyday in the choices we make. Most of us do so inadvertently. Three things about the source of wisdom will help us to choose it intentionally.
First, wisdom is a gift of God. James 1:5: If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. If wisdom comes from God alone, a quest for wisdom must include asking God for it. We must pray for it.
Proverbs 2:3-6 teaches, “Yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding…” Some believers think of God as a miser—He has unimaginable wealth, but He’s just a tight-fisted scrooge. When He gives, He gives begrudgingly and only after a prolonged tug-of-war.
However, that is a lie. Romans 8:32 tells us, He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Jesus said in Matthew 7:11, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” God is the giver of wisdom and He desires to give it. He stands before us, arms outstretched, hands open, ready to give to anyone who asks in faith. In fact, He commands us to pray for it!
Second, wisdom is personified in Christ. In 1 Corinthians 1:30, Paul wrote, “He became to us wisdom from God.” Colossians 2:3 reads, “In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
Christ is the wisdom of God. To pursue Him with my life is to pursue wisdom. You cannot become like Christ without gaining wisdom, and you cannot gain true Godly wisdom outside of becoming like Christ. Any system of wisdom that is devoid of Christ is going to be rife with error and folly.
Therefore, we must keep our eyes on Jesus, pursuing greater and greater intimacy with Him. He is wisdom.
Third, wisdom is found in Scripture. 2 Timothy 3:14-17: But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. Colossians 3:16: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom.
When we think of wisdom literature in the Bible, we think of Proverbs, which gives us wise principles for life, knowledge applied. Throughout the book, we find exhortations like these, “hear my son your father’s instruction”; “my son, if you receive my words…”; “my son, do not forget my teaching”; “hear, o sons, a father’s instruction”; “hear, my son, and accept my words”; “my son, be attentive to my wisdom”; “my son, be attentive to my words”; “my son, keep your father’s commandment”; “incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise and apply your heart to my knowledge”.
What instruction, words, teaching, commandments, wisdom, and knowledge is he talking about? The words that he is writing—Scripture. The Holy Spirit intends for us to understand that it includes everything between the covers. Wisdom on every page. We must pore over the Scriptures if we would find wisdom.
You cannot seek and find wisdom outside of the pages of Scripture. Wisdom is given by God in Christ through the Scriptures. This is so clear. And yet, so many of us would rather look elsewhere. It’s easier to get some kind of drive-through, quick-fix, worldly wisdom than to dig into God’s word. It’s easier to ask for advice on Facebook.
But here is the question that will have everything to do with whether or not we are walking as unwise or as wise—what is the greatest influence in your life? What shapes your thinking? Is it God’s wisdom in Christ – Scripture – or is it the world’s wisdom? Do you spend any time outside of Sunday morning pursuing fellowship with Jesus in the Word? Or do you spend most of your free time taking in something else?
Here is great news. It’s not too late. Pray for wisdom. Seek Christ. Dive into the Scriptures. Find wisdom.