How to Gain Godly Wisdom

Many of us see wisdom as something more experienced people have. But, we really can have it no matter how long we’ve lived.

9 min readNov 24, 2020

Many of us see wisdom as something more experienced people have. But, we really can have it no matter how long we’ve lived.

What is wisdom?

If you look up the definition for wisdom, you’ll find this: knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action. We can have all the knowledge in the world stored in our brains, but if we don’t know how to apply it and move that information to action, we don’t have wisdom. Basically, we can know more than the average person, but if we don’t apply what we know appropriately, we’re foolish.

The first and most important thing we need to know about wisdom is that it comes from God. Psalm 111:10 NLT tells us that the “beginning of true wisdom” is found when we fear the Lord, and then goes on to say that we’ll “grow in wisdom” when we obey God.

That makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? Most parents expect their children to obey them. Why? Because they see the path ahead, while the child doesn’t. As children obey their parents, they grow in wisdom, and learn that what their parents advised them to do was ultimately for their good. The same is true with our Heavenly Father — He sees what’s ahead and knows what’s best.

In James 3:13–18 NLT, Godly wisdom is explained in detail:

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.

This passage is full of rich truths for us, so let’s really digest this passage. Exhibiting godly wisdom means we are:

HonorableWe show honor to everyone.

HumbleWe don’t draw attention to ourselves.

SelflessWe think of others more than we think of ourselves.

PureWe strive to have untarnished motives.

Peace-lovingWe agree to respectfully disagree.

GentleWe consider the feelings of others before acting.

MercifulWe give second chances because they’ve been given to us.

ImpartialWe show fairness to all we encounter.

SincereWe are authentic, honest, and full of integrity.

Learning and growing as followers of Jesus is what will transform our old self to the redeemed person God is calling us to become. Growing in wisdom with God won’t always make sense to people around us. But, as we learn insights from God, we can put them into practice and influence those around us.

The Wisest Man

One of the kings of Israel was a man named Solomon. He was the son of David, who is well known in the Bible. When King David died, 1 Kings 2:12 tells us, “Solomon became king and sat on the throne of David his father, and his kingdom was firmly established.”

King Solomon has quite a reputation — some of it good, and some of it not so good. The good is that he really did love God and worship Him. The not-so-good is that he still worshiped false gods and ended up having 700 wives and concubines. But, despite the imperfections of this king, he did something so memorable that it earned him the title of the wisest man.

In 1 Kings 3, there’s a story about King Solomon and a dream he had. In this dream, the LORD appeared to Him and asked, “What do you want? Ask, I will give it to you!” (1 Kings 3:5 NLT)

The God of the universe asked Solomon what he wanted, and clearly, he could’ve responded in many ways. But his response was anything but typical. He began by praising God and showing Him honor. After that, he made a surprising request in 1 Kings 3:7–9:

“Now, O Lord my God, you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted! Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong…”

Solomon’s heart was truly postured to lead the country, but he knew he needed wisdom from God to do it effectively. God was pleased with Solomon’s response because he could’ve requested a variety of things like power, money, and fame. But, he didn’t. Because of that, not only did God grant him wisdom beyond what anyone had ever had before, God also granted him riches and fame. Can you even imagine?

This story is a great example of how valuable and necessary wisdom is. A king who ruled an entire nation could have asked God for anything, and the one thing he chose was wisdom. He saw that wisdom would enrich not only his life, but the lives of the people he led. In a world where good and bad seem to be mixed up, walking in the wisdom of God will help us make decisions that will protect and sustain us.

Think about your life and what you consider important. Is it the treasures of this world, or is it having godly wisdom so that you can live a victorious life here on earth? Just be honest with God, and if you don’t see the value in having wisdom in your life, ask God to reveal His truth to you.

Wisdom from Proverbs

The Old Testament book of Proverbs has many writers, but the principal author was most likely King Solomon. While there are dozens of verses that mention wisdom in this book, we’ll focus on some and glean as much truth as we can about wisdom.

Proverbs 12:15 NLT: Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.

Listening to others brings wisdom. Sometimes we are too close to a situation or have already decided what to do, but we’re wise to listen to the thoughts, insights, and suggestions of godly people in our lives. Even if the advice is unsolicited, wisdom will consider it anyway and decide if it’s worth heeding.

Proverbs 13:10 NCV: Pride only leads to arguments; but those who take advice are wise.

Too often people think they truly have all the answers, but even the people we consider to be wise receive advice. That’s how they grew to be so wise! We all have room to grow, so let’s put aside a prideful mindset in order to become wise.

Proverbs 16:16 ESV: How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver!

Nothing this world has to offer can compare with the wisdom we can receive from God and others. We may enjoy temporary pleasures, including possessions and money, but employing wisdom in our decisions will bring a greater return. There’s no price tag we can put on God’s peace manifesting itself on a truly wise person.

Proverbs 19:20 NIV: Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.

The essence of this verse is that we should never stop seeking to grow in the area of gaining wisdom. We can never get to the place where we think, “Yep, I’ve got all the wisdom I need!” Life will continue to change, and we’ll have to learn to maneuver in new ways. The way we do this successfully is to never stop learning and growing in the area of becoming wise.

Proverbs 4:5–6 NASB: Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will guard you; love her, and she will watch over you.

One of the most vital aspects of walking in wisdom is that it actually protects and guards us. What an amazing thought! It’s not that our lives will be 100% problem free, but when we do seek to walk in wisdom, our wise choices will actually prevent a lot of unnecessary hardship.

Throughout our lives, seeking godly wisdom should be a top priority for us. Possessing it will help us navigate every aspect of our lives. Spend some time searching God’s Word for more insight on gaining wisdom and the importance of it.

The Right Foundation

In Matthew 7:24–29, Jesus is teaching about the foundation we build our lives on. He said that whoever listens to His teaching and follows it is wise. They’ve built their foundation on solid rock, that won’t shift or move when storms come. But whoever hears his teaching and doesn’t follow it is foolish. Their foundation is placed on sand, which is easily disturbed when winds and rain come.

Every single one of us has built our lives on a foundation. The question is, what type?

Is our life built on the hopes and dreams of others? If we seek to please people in our lives — even if it means that we don’t stay true to our beliefs — then our foundation is on them. This is dangerous, because people change, and when they do, our foundation crumbles.

Are we placing our confidence in things that are fleeting and pass away? If our hope is in material pleasures and physical appearance, then we will most assuredly be disappointed and our lives disrupted. On any given day, our money and our appearances can change.

Do we find our security and strength in the ways of the world? If we place our trust in what the world offers us, then our foundation will always be shifting. The belief system that many in our society hold fast to changes depending on people’s desires.

Or have we planted ourselves firmly in Jesus Christ? If our foundation isn’t steady and firm, our “house” won’t have a place to stand on. If our foundation is on the temporary, then it will fail the moment the “temporary” changes. But, if we are grounded in God’s truth and seek to make Jesus our entire life, then when hardship and heartbreak come, we have a foundation that won’t move. Sure, our lives or “house” may need some repairs and even break apart in places, but because our foundation is secure in Jesus, we can rebuild our lives on the hope we have in Him.

Spend some time analyzing where your foundation is built. One way to know is to ask yourself the following questions:

When someone I love fails or loses their dream, does my world crumble?

When my body changes because of aging, do I get depressed or upset?

When my retirement account isn’t flourishing, do I still feel secure?

If you’ve discovered that your foundation is built on anything other than Jesus Christ, it’s not too late to rebuild. As long as there is breath in our lungs, there’s always an opportunity to change our lives and live fully for His glory.

Ask for Wisdom

Maybe you don’t feel like you have wisdom. You see other people who appear to be so wise; people seem to hang on their every word. They’re the people that everyone wants a little bit of their time, and whose words are quotable. Whoever came to your mind, go through the list of what godly wisdom looks like. Are they honorable, humble, selfless, pure, peace-loving, gentle, merciful, impartial, and sincere? They don’t have to possess every trait, but chances are, they possess many. Consider asking them what they did to get where they are today. There’s a strong chance that they not only sought God, but also learned from others along the way.

Maybe you’re in a place where you truly don’t feel like you possess godly wisdom, and you have no idea what you’d do in any given situation that you face. So, what do you do when you don’t know what to do?

Ask God.

James 1:5 says, “But if any of you needs wisdom, you should ask God for it. He is generous to everyone and will give you wisdom without criticizing you.” Isn’t that amazing? If we need wisdom, we can literally just ask God. And you know what? He’ll give it — no questions asked. In fact, He’ll give His wisdom so generously to us and won’t even judge us for our past actions. He’s just pleased that we’re seeking Him and aiming to live wise lives filled with His truth.

Never stop learning and growing in this area. God always wants us to keep a posture of learning. And people with godly wisdom know this. So, seek God, walk in obedience, and ask Him for wisdom. Ask Him to bring you wisdom beyond your imagination.

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