Pursuing Lady Wisdom

Pursuing Lady Wisdom

“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.” (Proverbs 4:7)

This seems to be a simple enough verse, but there are some truths that must be explicitly drawn out. Our culture tries to indoctrinate us with subtle lies that run counter to this short little proverb from Solomon.

Wisdom is not found from within, but from without.

Solomon says we must “Get wisdom.” That means it is not something that we inherently possess. It is not something we reach down inside and muster up. It is not something that we can meditate upon long enough and ultimately think ourselves up to. Wisdom, we later find out, is a gift from God (James 1:5) that he gives to those who ask. Both popular culture and other false religions teach us just to “follow our hearts” or “let your heart be your guide.” These malicious maxims, which are drilled into us from birth (through fairytale movies, bad literature, faulty parenting books….), are actually the worst possible advice. Jeremiah tells us that our hearts are “deceitful above all things and desperately sick” (17:9). Like a mis-calibrated compass that leads sailors slowly but surely off course, our hearts can’t be trusted. Our emotions, feelings, affections, intuitions, and all other subjective judgments can be wrong. However, the wisdom of God, revealed through His word and applied by the Spirit, will never lead us astray. That is what should be our guide.

Wisdom must be sought zealously.

Our fallen heart’s natural inclination is not godly wisdom. We are born with desires that run contrary to God’s revealed law. That is why we have to actively seek wisdom. This seeking is never finished either. That’s why wisdom is personified as a noble woman in Proverbs. Like a faithful husband who woos his lover’s heart until his final days, we must constantly seek lady wisdom’s company.

How do we enjoy the company of such a lovely lady? Well, first we have to ask for her, as James 1 tells us. Ask God to give us the wisdom we need in this life. Admit that we are adrift at sea and need direction. Secondly, we must spend time with her, through prayerful reading and meditation on God’s word, the only inerrant source of ultimate wisdom. Just as intimacy can only be gained through time and attention, so too can intimacy with God only be gained through time spent with Him. Thirdly, we must cherish Christ as the embodiment of God’s wisdom. Christ is at the same time: one with the father, the eternal Word (John 1), the living example of wisdom lived out, and the perfect teacher of wisdom. We would be fools if we neglected Christ’s example and teachings as instructive.

God has shown us the means to pursue lady Wisdom. We have to seek her by asking, pursuing, spending time and effort, and receiving the Son. She doesn’t always come easy or clearly, but her ways will result in your “honor… if you embrace her” (Prov 4:8).

Jon English serves as a Pastor of Morningview Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He has earned an undergraduate degree in Microbiology from Auburn University Montgomery, a Masters of Divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a PhD in Systematic and Historical Theology from SBTS. Jon English is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and a fellow for the Center for Pastor Theologians.
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