Get Your Degree in Wisdom and Understanding

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).

Much is made of the need for education and the importance of a college degree-and I don’t argue that point. At the same time, a person can have a string of degrees and letters after his name and still possess no wisdom or understanding, for the Bible tells us that wisdom only BEGINS when we fear the Lord, and understanding comes only as we continue to develop an intimate knowledge and relationship with God. In fact, the Bible tells us quite clearly that “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God'” (Psalm 14:1). A person seeking after wisdom and understanding will achieve his goal by possessing a healthy fear of the Lord and becoming more intimately acquainted with Him. To do otherwise, the Bible states, is to deny God and remain a fool.

Most of us as believers see the obvious truth of those statements, for each of us had to come to that point in our lives where we first acknowledged our need for God and turned to Him in humble repentance. That was the BEGINNING of wisdom. But have we increased our wisdom and gained understanding by cultivating the relationship that was established when we became true believers? Or have we been satisfied to rest in that beginning phase of wisdom and never move on to the deeper relationship that produces understanding?

If we’re not sure, we can ask ourselves how we react when we hear the evening news on TV. Does the news alarm us? Does it confirm an already cynical worldview within us? Or does it cause us to reflect on what God says about the absolute depravity of human nature apart from His Spirit within us?and then to pray for those involved in the news event? And what about when we receive an insult or slight from someone? Do we exhibit the wisdom and understanding that flows from a deep and abiding relationship with God, offering grace to the one who has hurt us and trusting God to deal with that person’s heart? Or do we “go for the jugular” and, in a foolish and futile display of self-defense, allow words unbecoming to a believer to flow from our heart and mouth in an attempt to repay the insult?

Our reaction/response to these sorts of occurrences speak volumes as to the depth of wisdom and understanding within us, and tells us whether we view life through the eyes of the world or the eyes of God. Of course, that statement alone can send most of us into a despondent spiral of condemnation, since none of us reacts/responds as we should all the time, and that certainly wasn’t my intention. After all, none of us is perfect; none of us has arrived. We are all “works in progress,” who stumble along the way. But the important thing is that we are indeed “on the way,” obediently and humbly following our Master and growing in wisdom and knowledge as we deepen our relationship with Him, a relationship that includes a healthy and respectful fear of the One who holds our lives in the palm of His nail-scarred hands.

We serve a gracious and forgiving God, dear ones, but He is also a God worthy of respect and awe. May we, in the words of the psalmist, “follow hard” after Him, ever growing in wisdom and knowledge, and exhibiting that maturity to those who are watching, looking for a better way?

Copyright 2008 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored seventeen books. Her newest book “Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World” (New Hope Publishers) The author can be reached at:

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