The Essence of Life: Proverbs 4:1-2, "Stirring up wisdom."
Proverbs 4:1-2, “1 Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father, and give attention that you may gain understanding, 2 For I give you sound teaching; do not abandon my instruction.”
It is important to note that in the context of Proverbs wisdom is always presented relationally. Do you see it in verse 1, “Hear, O sons the instruction of a father.” The context of wisdom is relational.
In addition, it is important to note that the “instruction” in verse 1, do you see it, “instruction of a father” in the original language is often used in the context of correction, especially in the context of discipline.
Which means if our church family is going to stir up wisdom in our relationships with one another then we must fostering close relationships with one another and willing to have hard conversations with one another.
I can tell you that in my life I didn’t grow up in a family of close relationships willing to have hard conversations, but through the local church the Lord brought “fatherly instruction” into my life.
In the beginning the Lord brought men and women into my life to simply teach me life skills to pay bills on time, make your bed, turn off lights when you leave a room, keep a budget, go to bed early to wake up early, follow through on commitments, and work hard.
And social skills like saying thank you, yes sir, no sir, look people in the eye, ask people questions about their life, write thank you notes, and you don’t have to say every thought that comes into your mind.
In addition, the Lord brought men and women into my life to help me learn the Scriptures. I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t understand what I was reading in the Bible. I didn’t know how to study the Bible on my own, and the Lord brought fatherly and motherly instruction in the Scriptures.
After some years of life skills, social skills, and Scripture the Lord brought some men and women into my life who would press into the interior of my life. Over the years I had built up bitterness and anger toward my mom and dad, I had built up lies about my identity, I had built up lies about people, and by God’s grace He brought men and women who loved me enough to have hard conversations.
Listen, these conversations were hard. I didn’t always agree. They weren’t always delivered well, and I am still learning many of these same lessons today, but listen to me, none of us are born “full of wisdom.”
The title, “full of wisdom” only applies to Jesus, and it is by grace through faith in Jesus that wisdom is implanted within us, but that wisdom must be fanned, matured, nurtured, developed, and drawn out in our relationships with one another who love us enough to have hard conversations.
Therefore, we need to ask ourselves, “How is the gift of wisdom being fanned in my life today through relationships with the people of North Village Church?”
I am going to give us five quick points of application to help us fan the flame of wisdom in our relationships with one another.
First: We Must Receive Wisdom. Remember, none of us are born with wisdom. There might be some of us who are born more clever than others, but to understand the purpose and meaning of life we must receive wisdom by grace through faith in Jesus.
Colossians 2, “Resulting in true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
Jesus is the embodiment of wisdom, therefore, we must receive wisdom by grace through faith in Jesus. Will you receive Jesus into your life?
Second: We Must Fear Jesus. We not only need to receive Jesus, but we must fear Jesus. Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
Sometimes people will down play a “fear of the Lord” with words like reverence and awe, and those things are true, but there also needs to be fear. It isn’t the type of fear that drives us to run from Jesus, but the type of fear that drives us to run to Jesus.
It is the fear of the Lord that will drive us to make a commitment to a community group, it is the fear of the Lord that will drive us into those hard conversations with one another to stir up wisdom, because we know that life is better in Jesus.
Third: We Must Seek For Wisdom In God’s Word. All throughout Scripture we see man and women seeking out wisdom in God’s Word. There must be intentionality. There must be activity. Did you notice verse 1 starts off with, “Hear, O sons?” The word “hear” in the original language means “To listen so as to obey.”
Therefore, let us encourage one another to get into God’s Word every day to seek out wisdom. Let us encourage one another to study God’s Word, break down the verses, and dig out the words. Let us encourage one another to show up to community group and Sunday morning hungry for His wisdom in His Word.
Fourth: We Must Ask For Wisdom In Prayer. 1 Kings 3, “Solomon is given any request from the Lord, and Solomon asks for wisdom.” The Apostle Paul prays for the Colossians to be filled with spiritual wisdom and understanding. He prays for the church in Ephesus to be filled with spiritual wisdom and understanding. James 1, “If any of you lacks wisdom, ask and He gives generously.”
That’s what we are aiming for in our community groups. It isn’t purely a place to find friends, it is not purely to study the Scriptures, it is not purely to pray for one another, but we are finding friends, studying Scripture, and praying for one another to be filled with spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Fifth: We Must Seek For Wisdom In Our Relationships With One Another. It is important to see this is #5. You can’t skip 1-4, and wait for someone to magically show up and hand out wisdom.
I am guessing that when Scripture teaches us about “fatherly and motherly instruction” we all have in our head an image of someone who looks like Gandalf, and speaks in riddles. Have you noticed we can very selective about who is deserving enough to speak “fatherly and motherly” correction into our life?
We think to ourselves, “Well if someone is going to bring correction into my life they need to earn it.” Let me say this in the most loving way, “Your pride in selectivity is stunting your growth in wisdom.”
Please don’t assume the people who have spoken into my life were externally impressive. In fact, they weren’t impressive with the Scriptures, they weren’t impressive to our world, they weren’t moments like, “Wisdom lesson #19", and sometimes in the moment I didn’t know it was happening.
But, if we love one another enough press in below the surface conversations then we can be a people who are growing in wisdom. Don’t you want that for our church family?