The further we go from the Lord, the dumber we get.
Hear me out.
Our society places enormous value on higher education. The more degrees you have (ostensibly, unless you major in underwater basket weaving or social work), the greater your income will be. The higher the income; the better your quality of life. It’s no wonder parents and teens alike think college will be the best path to success.
And education is worthwhile! Feeling fulfilled in your work is huge. Financial security definitely brings both options and peace of mind. But after that? Studies show that once our basic needs are met, our level of happiness doesn’t increase as our paycheck does. A degree, even from a prestigious university, does not guarantee “the good life”.
As great as education is, we sell ourselves short if we place ultimate value there. Education will only take you so far: It doesn’t always translate into common sense; it won’t necessarily teach critical thinking skills; and it most likely won’t leave the graduate with a stronger moral compass. Education is a good thing; but it is not the most important thing.
I would like to suggest there is something infinitely more valuable; something that can lead both the Ivy-Leagued and the Golden- Coralled to lives of peace and purpose:
Many people equate wisdom with gray hair, and it’s true that when people have lived a long time, they’ve experienced many things. But I have to tell you, I’ve met some older people whom I wouldn’t call “wise”.
The thing is, we’re all just trying to make it through: young, old, and medium alike. I often hear people my age saying they still have no idea what they’re doing. Maturity helps; experience is a great teacher; but wisdom is the key to a life well lived.
So how do we get it? Where do we find it?
This may shock you, but I’m going to get Bible-y now.
“Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment. Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life. If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.”
Job 28:23-28 “God alone understands the way to wisdom; he knows where it can be found, for he looks throughout the whole earth and sees everything under the heavens. He decided how hard the winds should blow and how much rain should fall. He made the laws for the rain and laid out a path for the lightning. Then he saw wisdom and evaluated it. He set it in place and examined it thoroughly. And this is what he says to all humanity: ‘The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.”
So… wisdom seems really important. And the Bible himself says that true wisdom starts with a holy fear of God. So what does “fear” mean? Well, in the Greek it translates to…fear. Just kidding. I didn’t look up the Greek. But fear means fear: it means when we understand the absolute power, authority, and holiness that radiate from the God who created everything, we hold him in his rightful place: as Lord, as Master, and as the one gives us even the next breath we will take, if he chooses. It is reverence. It is awe. It is fear.
Holding God in his rightful place helps us to clearly see our own rightful place, which is in submission to the Lord. Knowing God’s truth allows us to pinpoint any lies masquerading as truth (and boy, are they out there!). Obeying God’s word, based on his wisdom, leads to a truly satisfying, fulfilled life. This doesn’t mean money, comfort, or ease, by the way. It means being fully satisfied in God and in the future he promises his children. It means making the right decisions, based on his word, and not adding the misery of sin to our lives. It means walking in forgiveness, holiness, and love, by the help of his Spirit.
God is wisdom. Fearing him enough to know going your own way is foolish; that’s wise!
I don’t mean to imply that people who aren’t Christians can’t be incredibly intelligent; obviously, they can. But when we neglect the truth of who we are and where we came from, we’re stripped of the one thing that should inform all of our life choices! They are, quite literally, flying blind!
Whether you hold a master’s degree or a toilet brush (stay-at-home-Angela, here), God’s wisdom will bless every aspect of your life. Go get you some.
Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.
Proverbs 8:6-11 “Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you.
Everything I say is right,
for I speak the truth
and detest every kind of deception.
My advice is wholesome.
There is nothing devious or crooked in it.
My words are plain to anyone with understanding,
clear to those with knowledge.
Choose my instruction rather than silver,
and knowledge rather than pure gold.
For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies.
Nothing you desire can compare with it.”