BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Corinthians 3:18-19a NKJV).
Wisdom is fundamental to success in life and you always need it. Even Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is the Wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24b), needed wisdom. The Bible says in Luke 2:40 that He grew and waxed strong, was filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon Him.
Also, Luke 2:52 says that He increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men. When He came to Nazareth, they wondered where He got His wisdom and the mighty works He did (Matthew 13:54).
You must be wise or become wise. Ecclesiastes 10:10 says if the axe is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength; but wisdom brings success. No one will go anywhere or go far in life without wisdom.
The Bible says wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom and in all your getting, get understanding (Proverbs 4:7). Also, Proverbs 24:3-4 tells us the importance of wisdom. It says, “A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense. Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables” (NLT).
It is one thing to be wise in one’s eye and another thing to be truly wise. Don’t be wise in your eyes (Proverbs 3:7a). Many are foolish but think they are wise. Unless they admit their foolishness, they can’t be on their way to becoming wise. Proverbs 26:12 says, “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (NKJV).
1 Corinthians 3:18-19a says, “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (NKJV). The New Living Translation puts verse 18 thus: “Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise.” Note the phrase “truly wise.” The wisdom of this world is inferior to the wisdom of God.
You must get rid of every thought of being wise in your eyes; it destroys (Ecclesiastes 7:16b). Become truly wise – wise by God’s standards. Ask for true wisdom from God. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:5-6 NKJV).
Marks of people who are truly wise
How do you know you are truly wise or wise by Bible standards?
1. They give their lives to Jesus. This is the beginning of becoming truly wise. Accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. Wise men still seek Jesus today as the wise men did when He was born! (Matthew 2:1). But a fool says in his heart there is no God (Psalms 14:1; 53:1). Don’t be a fool. Jesus and God are one (John 10:30). Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life; nobody can come to the Father except through Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Respond to the message of salvation. Be wise and be saved. The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18a).
2. They fear the Lord and depart from evil. Proverbs 14:16 says, “A wise man fears and departs from evil, but a fool rages and is self-confident” (NKJV). The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10a; Proverbs 9:10a). The fear of the Lord is wisdom (Job 28:28b). The fear of the Lord is also the instruction of wisdom (Proverbs 15:33a).
Wise people fear the Lord. In other words, they reverence Him. They know He is a loving Father but He is also a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24; Hebrews 12:29). Fear the Lord.
3. They love acquiring the right knowledge. Wise people love to acquire the right knowledge. Proverbs 1:22b says fools hate knowledge. “Wise people store up knowledge, but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction” (Proverbs 10:14 NKJV).
If you’re wise, you’ll pursue knowledge. “To acquire wisdom is to love yourself; people who cherish understanding will prosper” (Proverbs 19:8 NLT). Because wise people pursue the right knowledge, they become wiser. Therefore, their tongues use knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness (Proverbs 15:2). Verse 7 says the lips of the wise disperse knowledge but the heart of the fool does not. Pursue the right knowledge, not destructive.
4. They listen to teaching or instruction and seek counsel. Wise people listen to what they’re taught or the instructions they’re given and obey. Therefore, they become wiser. Whereas a simpleton can learn only by seeing mockers punished, a wise person learns from instruction (Proverbs 21:11).
The Bible says, “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning” (Proverbs 9:9 NKJV). Similarly, Proverbs 1:5 says, “A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel” (NKJV).
Jesus said in Matthew 7:24-25, “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock” (NLT).
On the other hand, as Jesus said, anyone who hears His teaching and ignores it is foolish like someone who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will fall with a mighty crash (verses 26-27).
Wise people also seek counsel. They don’t believe they know it all. “Don’t think you know it all!”(Romans 12:16b NLT). Proverbs 24:6 says by wise counsel you will wage your war, and in a multitude of counsellors, there is safety. In the same vein, Proverbs 11:14 says where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counsellors, there is safety. “Plans succeed through good counsel; don’t go to war without wise advice” (Proverbs 20:18 NLT). Seek counsel from the right people but don’t ignore the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
5. They learn from correction. Don’t hate correction. Respond to corrections. Wise people learn from correction. They don’t react negatively to it. The Bible says don’t correct a scoffer, lest he hates you, but rebuke a wise man, and he will love you (Proverbs 9:8). “Rebuke is more effective for a wise man than a hundred blows on a fool.” (Proverbs 17:10 NKJV). Whoever learns from correction is wise (Proverbs 15:5b).
6. They make the heart of their parents glad. Wise children bring joy to their parents; they don’t give them headaches or trouble. “My son, if your heart is wise, My heart will rejoice—indeed, I myself; Yes, my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak right things” (Proverbs 23:15-16 NKJV). Verse 24 says the father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will delight in him.
Furthermore, in Proverbs 27:11, the Bible says, “My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him who reproaches me” (NKJV). A wise or sensible child brings joy to his parents and walks uprightly. “Sensible children bring joy to their father; foolish children despise their mother. Foolishness brings joy to those with no sense; a sensible person stays on the right path” (Proverbs 15:20-21 NLT).
Wise people concentrate on wisdom. “Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth” (Proverbs 17:24 NLT).
7. They speak wise and persuasive words, not foolish words. Proverbs 16:23 says, “From a wise mind comes wise speech; the words of the wise are persuasive” (NLT). You can know a wise person or a foolish person from his words. That’s why the Bible says to go from the presence of a foolish man when you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge (Proverbs 14:7). Don’t associate with fools. He who walks with wise men will be wise but the companion of fools will be destroyed (Proverbs 13:20).
8. They are diligent. Wise people are hardworking, not slothful. “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep—So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man” (Proverb 6:6-11 NLT).
The Bible talks a lot about diligence. Be diligent. “The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labor” (Proverbs 12:24 NKJV). Wise people are hard-working; they’re not lazy. “He who gathers in summer is a wise son; he who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame” (Proverbs 10:5 NKJV).
9. They control their tongues. The Bible describes the tongue as a fire, a world of iniquity, and an unruly evil, full of deadly poison (James 3:6a, 8). Restrain your tongue. Wise people don’t speak without control. They are mindful of what they say. “A truly wise person uses few words” (Proverbs 17:27a NLT).
Proverbs 10:19 says in a multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise. Death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruit (Proverbs 18:21). Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry (James 1:19).
Be wise. Use your tongue wisely. Use your tongue to bless, not to curse. Use your tongue to build, not to destroy. Don’t kill others with your words; give life. Proverbs 12:18 says, “There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health” (NKJV).
Don’t let your mouth kill you. The lips of the wise will preserve them (Proverbs 14:3b). Remember that the Bible says if anyone claims to be religious but doesn’t control his tongue, he is just fooling himself, and his religion is worthless (James 1:26). Truly wise people are also careful about what they write.
10. They control their emotions. Emotions are God’s gifts but they should not control us. Emotions change and are unreliable. Don’t let them decide what you do. Wise people control their emotions; they don’t allow them to control them. For instance, anger should not control you.
Proverbs 29:11 says a fool gives full vent to anger, but a wise person quietly holds it back. “Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9 NKJV). He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty (Proverbs 16:32a). Be wise.
11. They win souls. Whoever wins souls to save them from hell is wise. Be wise; win souls. Proverbs 11:30b says he who wins souls is wise. This scripture, as presented in the Amplified Bible, says, “He who is wise captures and wins souls [for God—he gathers them for eternity]” Are you a soul winner? If you are not, start winning souls today.
Conclusion: From the foregoing, are you wise? Does your behaviour meet the Bible standards of the wise? Examine yourself. Be wise; become wiser. “If you are wise, you are wise for yourself” (Proverbs 9:12a New King James Version). The beginning of being wise is to give your life to Jesus and begin to obey His Word.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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