The first element of discerning God’s will is God’s Word, but just because you have a Bible in front of you, doesn’t mean you know what to do with it. I feel the same way when someone hands me a baby.
And just because you know the right verse, doesn’t mean you know how to apply it to your situation. For that you need wisdom.
So a practical definition for wisdom can be…
Wisdom is God’s Word correctly applied to a situation.
Almost every situation you’re placed into has a bunch of different good options where your decision isn’t between doing the right thing and the wrong thing, but two or more right things. And you have to determine which is the best option. That’s where wisdom comes in.
I’m supposed to minister to this person who is hurting. How should I talk to them? How long should I let them talk before I say something? What should I say? How should I say it? Should I speak with a French accent?
Another way to define wisdom is: Wisdom is the who, what, where, when and how of applying God’s Word.
The Bible says to discipline your child. Okay, I got it. But…
Who should discipline them, my spouse or me?
What punishment should they receive?
Where should I scold them, here in the restaurant or at home?
When should I discipline them, now or after they’ve calmed down?
How should I deliver the discipline?
When you start considering all the variables on how you can apply scripture, options start multiplying rapidly.
So what do we do?
This one is pretty easy because the scripture flat out tells us in simple terms. Seek wisdom from others and pray for wisdom.
Prov 15:22 Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.
James 1:5-7 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
So since wisdom is applying God’s word, you are not merely asking God to magically open the Bible for you to the exact page and have a dove land on the exact verse you need to apply, and magically speak into your mind.
Wisdom assumes you are trying to apply God’s Word, and you are trying to apply it properly in a situation.
So seek out wisdom. Just like how in an effort to apply God’s Word of serving others (Gal 5:13-14) I’d watch a friend’s baby for a bit, but since I have no idea what to do with a crying baby I’d seek out wisdom from an expert (its mom). In the same way you’d seek wisdom from an expert in the situation for whatever verse you’re trying to apply.
And in wisdom, the mom told me to let someone else babysit.
Proverbs 2: My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair — every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.
Today’s Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness.