Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wisdom: Proverbs 4:11-12

My mom told me not to play basketball with boys. One afternoon when I was in college, I did anyway. We were at a friend’s house, and it was two-on-two: two boys versus two girls. It was quite embarrassing. One of my friends was so tall that all he had to do was hold out his hand to block my shot, and it worked. (He was about six foot three.) My other friend was shorter, more my height. I thought I could take him as he dribbled toward the basket for a lay-up. My intention was to block his shot. He shot his lay-up, but I wasn’t able to block it. Instead, I ran into him accidentally, tripped, and stumbled to the ground. Fortunately, his mom had a first aid kit in the house.

The physical pain of falling didn’t hurt as bad as the stumbling in my wisdom. I knew it wasn’t wise to play a scrimmage game with boys. Something like “Horse” would have been better, a safer game with less of a need to show off. I learned to trust the wisdom that not only my mom had, but I knew as well.

A short time later, I was reading the Bible in my quiet time, and I turned to a helpful passage—Proverbs 4:11-12. The words seemed to jump off the page when I read them: “I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble” (Prov 4:11-12 NKJV). It was as if God was saying to me, “You know the right way to walk because I have taught it to you. Now if you use the wisdom you have, you won’t fall.” I was grateful for God’s patience and encouragement.

God is faithful to teach us His ways. As we hear our pastors preach the word and our teachers at church share with us what God has taught them, we learn more about the right way to walk. As we study the Bible in our times alone with God, He shows us what things build up our lives and what things tear them down. Wisdom is knowing what is right in a particular situation and doing it. It’s taking the truth we know and applying it to the choice we face. God’s promise is that when we use the knowledge and wisdom we have, our steps will be sure and our stride steady. We won’t easily fall when we take to heart the truth that He tells us by living it out.

Other verses on wisdom: Proverbs 3:5-7; James 1:5; Proverbs 9:10; Ephesians 5:15; Proverbs 3:13

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