Why Is Wisdom So Important?

Why Is Wisdom So Important?
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez / Unsplash

It has been said that wisdom discerns the difference between things and people. Most of us would agree that there is a difference between a wise person and a fool. With today’s fast internet access, it is easy to see people acting like fools. Type in a few search terms like fool, foolish, fail, or accidents to view some folks in action and full color!

Check it out! You will find many pages with videos depicting people’s crazy failures and stumbles on the internet! For example, there are videos and stories of people driving crazy and crashing expensive supercars at street races. You can view people walking into fountains because they are distracted by their smartphones. You can view videos of people acting like drunken fools in public and getting arrested over ridiculous things. There is no shortage of examples showcasing foolish people doing dumb things and paying a high price for their lack of wisdom.

I believe that if we ever needed understanding, we need it now since wisdom seems to be in short supply! King Solomon, an ancient king famous for his wisdom, considered obtaining understanding to be extremely important in his life:

“Getting wisdom is the wisest thing to you can do. And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.” – Proverbs 4:7 NLT

What is wisdom exactly? Glad you asked. Let’s dig a little bit deeper. In addition to the previous definition (wisdom discerns the difference between things and people), wisdom is also defined as the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment. You certainly do not have to be a believer to acquire some experience, knowledge, and good judgment. But, being a believer in God helps you understand that not all knowledge, experience, or judgment is necessarily godly.

There are two significant categories of wisdom presented in the Bible, namely godly wisdom and worldly wisdom. In the Book of James, this distinction between the two kinds of wisdom is explained very well:

“If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.” – James 3:13-17 NLT

Look at the two types of wisdom mentioned in this reference: Earthly wisdom is characterized by jealousy, selfish ambition, boasting, lying, and selfishness. It is unspiritual, earthly, and demonic. On the other hand, godly wisdom is characterized by humility, purity, mercy, good deeds, sincerity, a willingness to yield, and gentleness. In divine wisdom, there is no favoritism and ever-present sincerity.

Think about it. How do you learn to discern the difference between the two types of wisdom? Nobody arrives on the earth with wisdom pre-packaged. Everyone must acquire wisdom over time as they grow in knowledge and experience. Incidentally, some people may never truly obtain godly wisdom. They remain ignorant and act like obstinate, unteachable children for the rest of their lives. The Bible calls such people foolish.

We all show up void of wisdom, and as we go through the school of hard knocks (the rod of correction), foolishness is supposed to leave us as we gain wisdom.

“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.” – Proverbs 22:15 NLT

We all make some painful mistakes along the way. We must learn the laws and principles of life as we become more knowledgeable and experienced. Some people, however, never learn, and we have memorable sayings like, “there is no fool like an old fool,” for a reason.

I dare say that our hospitals, prisons, and cemeteries are filled with many folks who decided to act in foolish ways! When you choose to pursue wisdom instead of folly, you will discover that wisdom is the key to the treasury of life.

Listen to this response God gave to King David’s famous son, King Solomon, right after Solomon prayed that God would grant him wisdom to rule in his father’s place: