Gift of Wisdom

Spiritual Gifts Series

It was another monthly meeting where the pastors and the Official Board come together to discuss the usual… financials, reports from each member, and specific ministry concerns. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, at this meeting, as we continued to plug along. As we are gearing towards the end, a problem arose about a ministry matter and it led to a discussion. One of the board members spoke up and then something odd happened as I listened to him… there was a particular radiance about him, as he spoke, which drew me further into what he was saying. As difficult as it is to describe, it’s as if his words were ‘as sweet as honey’[1], filled with the goodness that wisdom from the Lord brings, as he offered a solution to the problem we were facing.

Who would have thought a typical, routine board meeting would have such a spirit-filled encounter!  After the meeting ended, I wanted to confirm this unction of the Spirit so I asked the board member if anyone had told him that he had the spiritual gift of wisdom. He, graciously, agreed and also shared the burden it can be when others do not take the wisdom that God gives and, unfortunately, having to watch them go down the wrong path.

Wow! What a special moment for the Holy Spirit to reveal a discernable spiritual gift in someone and to have it confirmed as an encouragement for each of us. Moreover, the revelation of how important the spiritual gift of wisdom is, I believe it is much needed in what we are facing today.

Let’s get into it then! What is the spiritual gift of wisdom?

The spiritual gift of wisdom is the God-given practical application of a solution to a problem. Typically, a person with the gift of wisdom can apply spiritual truths in an applicable way through explanations, examples, or advice. This gift can be applied to a critical decision affecting a group or in personal daily life situations. Paul lists this as one of many spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:7-8 – “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit…”

It might be helpful to understand what the spiritual gift of wisdom is by contrasting what is it not. It is not…

·      The same as knowledge. As indicated in the verse above, there is a difference between wisdom and knowledge. Knowledge, generally speaking, is content-based – focusing on gathering facts and information… you know, those unique individuals who know EXACTLY where to find a passage in the Bible from memory! There’s also a spiritual gift of knowledge, which is a piece of information given to an individual through revelation by the Holy Spirit. (I discuss this in more detail in my previous blog ‘Word of Knowledge’ However, the spiritual gift of wisdom is application-based – focusing on how to apply the knowledge at hand. In other words, knowledge centers on the ‘what’, while wisdom is drawn towards the ‘how’.

·      Earthly wisdom. James makes this crystal clear in chapter 3:13-18. God’s wisdom or ‘wisdom from heaven’ has qualities that are evident – it is peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, which is, impartial and sincere. These characteristics of God-given wisdom are not only displayed in what they say, but how they live their life (v.13). Contrasting to that is ‘wisdom’ masked in bitter envy and selfish ambition. The source? Not from God but rather from the word, the flesh, and the devil (v.15). As a result, this ‘wisdom’ will cause disorder and allow evil to remain. While it might be after the fact, if there is disunity and strife by following certain ‘wise’ advice, you will need to reevaluate where that word came from and seek God for His wisdom on that situation you are facing.

 Why am I taking the time to go on about the spiritual gift of wisdom? We desperately need it!

Think about everything that you are facing – there’s a high degree of uncertainty in the world. Some families have been told that they will not have their children go onsite to school while others are figuring out how to balance their home life with their work life. People feel stressed out, burnt out, or simply want a way out.  Many are wondering how to navigate through the uncharted waters of maintaining relationships and having a social life. You might be thinking… what am I to do?

Thankfully, we can ask our Heavenly Father for wisdom… a precious and much needed gift in this time and place we are in!

 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. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” – James 1:5-6

As you can see from the verse above, you begin in a place of humility to recognize that you need heavenly wisdom. For some of you, it may be difficult to swallow the pride and be willing to state that you do not have all the answers. It’s okay! It’s not easy to ask for help but our God is a generous and gracious God. You are not meant to know everything, but God is willing to reveal that with what you need by giving you wisdom, His wisdom.

In addition, ask not only for wisdom regarding a specific situation but ask for the spiritual gift of wisdom. Imagine the ability to make right decisions in your daily life? Think of the influence you can have on others by imparting to them the wisdom that God has given you to bless them. Spiritual gifts are meant to reveal the nature of God and to build up the church – what better way to walk in wisdom and to demonstrate the goodness of God by giving them the practical solutions to their problems? Our families, our churches, our communities, our governments, the nations – we all are in a place of needing and exercising wisdom. Are you willing to contend for it?

Lastly, the ultimate key to gaining, understanding, and implementing, the wisdom God brings, is by spending time with Christ in the Word and in prayer. All spiritual gifts, like wisdom, are simply tools to advance the Kingdom of God. Love should always be the prime motivator and chief end when seeking the spiritual gifts that God is so eager to lavish upon us.

I encourage you this week to set aside time each day asking for the spiritual gift of wisdom. If you have this gift, then ask for a greater degree of it. If you do not, then ask that you can have it! “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom and the one who gains understanding…” (Proverbs 3:13). Also, look around you for those who operate in the spiritual gift of wisdom. Remember, you can recognize if they carry God’s wisdom by their lifestyle and the positive results listed in James 3:17. Set a time to meet with this wise individual and listen to them when it comes to the things of God. Perhaps you can glean nuggets of wisdom from them and be sure to write them down so you do not forget.

“My goal is that {you} may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that “{you} may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that {you}  may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” – Colossians 2:2-3

Have a blessed week!

[1] Interestingly enough, there is a proverb that correlates honey and wisdom! “Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste. Know so that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” – Proverbs 24:13-14

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