At church recently we read from Colossians 1 about wisdom:
9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
I was struck by the teacher's comment that wisdom is about how you live, not what you know. The stereotypical image of a 'wise' person as somebody who can shoot off answers to questions faster than anybody else or who always has something profound to say isn't quite right. True, according-to-the-Bible wisdom is about how you live - wisdom for Godly living.
Think of somebody you know who has the reputation of being wise - maybe the person who's the go-to person for tough questions; always getting the recommendation, 'Ask him / her. They'll know the answer.' A silver tongue does not a wise man or woman make, according to Paul and James! How does this person live? Are they 'bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God'? Do they 'have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father'?
We also read from James 3 and, again, I had an ah-ha moment:
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
Does the 'wise' people you know live good lives with deeds done in humility? Are they - are you and I - peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit? Impartial and sincere?
Let's redefine wisdom - both for ourselves and for what we look for in others!