31 Days in Proverbs – Day 2: True Wisdom

Proverbs 2:6-7 

For the Lord gives wisdom;

from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

He holds success in store for the upright,

he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,

for he guards the course of the just  and protects the way of his faithful ones.

One of the great blessings of the Information Age we live in is the access to seemingly infinite amounts of information. And, with that information comes great blessings. The internet, used wisely, can provide us with, so many new things we can learn, new ways of seeing the world, new skills to master.

One of the things I love to do is learn from life-hackers or productivity gurus. I’ve picked up some amazingly helpful habits by chance, stumbling onto the right podcast episode, or reading the right blog post.

Like when a blogger on a Christian website mentioned the Pomodoro Technique for productivity. This is where you work for focused bursts for 25 minutes, then schedule a 5 minute break. Finding this was was revolutionary for me at the time, particularly when I was struggling with motivation to climb what seemed to be the unending mountain of my PhD.

Or another time when I listened to an episode of Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Podcast and she talked about reward bundling. That is, when you tie something you don’t want to do with something you enjoy doing. For example – if I have a pile of marking I’ve been dreading, I can take it with me to a nice cafe and treat myself to a coffee and cake while I mark. Or, I’m struggling with motivation to exercise, so I tell myself I can’t listen to the audiobook I’m dying to unless I’m out for a walk or exercising at the gym. Doing the thing you want to do helps you do the things you don’t.

These life-hacks, among others I’ve come across, have served me well. But even the most proficient of online self-help gurus (like Tim Ferris or Jordan Peterson) have their limits.

True wisdom cannot be found in a system. It cannot be finessed with a motivational technique. It comes from God.

I find this infinitely comforting!

To gain wisdom, I don’t have to search the labyrinthine depths of the internet for the best way to organise my life, or structure my day, or fold my clothes in my cupboard. God has revealed wisdom to me already, and made it freely accessible in the pages of his word, the Bible.

In my Bible study last term we looked at Proverbs, and we kept coming back to the phrase “wisdom is truth applied”. I tried to find out if we had come up with it ourselves (it’s a group full of very wise women!) or if we’d read it in a commentary like Graeme Goldsworthy’s notes of Proverbs. A Google search turned up this instead –

“Wisdom is truth applied to the soul as guided by divine love.”

-Doug Groothius, The Soul in Cyberspace

The truth of God’s word, the great good news of Jesus and what that means for those who believe in him is freely available in the pages of the Bible. But it’s not enough to know the facts of Christianity – wisdom is putting those facts into practice, living them out in the muck and the mire of everyday life. It’s hard. It’s tricky. There’s no easy life hack to guide you.

But we do have this great promise from God –

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

-James 1:5

I’m not a naturally wise person. But I follow the Lord of all who is willing to give his wisdom to me. All I need to do is ask.

 

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