(becoming) wise, part 2

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

As we discussed last week, the first part of this verse tells us how to start becoming wise.

The second part of this verse: “and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding,” is at once more exciting and more terrifying than the first part.  Lots of people can fear God and have a start at wisdom.  In fact, even the demons shuddered in Jesus’s presence because they knew who He was.  But to gain full understanding, we have to have “knowledge of the Holy One.”  And how do we gain this knowledge of God?  He hasn’t left us in the dark about this.  He’s given us an entire book in which He reveals Himself.  And He’s given us His Holy Spirit — an actual indwelling of God Himself!  God wants us to have this knowledge.  He wants to reveal Himself to us and continue to grow closer to us.

While we’ll never grasp the fullness of God (we’re simply not capable as humans), we can know God, and know Him in a personal and life-changing way.  And I mean really know Him.  Not go to church.  Not serve at church.  Not say memorized prayers.  Not “try to be good.”  Not just pray when we need something.  Not read a devotional occasionally.  I mean really know God.  To know Him as fully as we can.  And this is hard.  There is no easy way to do this.  That’s just the truth.  But it’s worth it, friends; it really is.

And, more important than being worth it, God tells us it’s required: “Rend your hearts, not your garments” (Joel 2:13).  God is asking for an inward change.  He wants to change our hearts; He doesn’t just want to see us go through the motions.  The motions don’t mean a thing without the right heart.  People might only see the rending of our garments – the outward appearance of being a Christian.  But God sees what’s inside.  He knows the condition of our hearts.  And it’s our hearts He wants changed.

There are three things I firmly believe will help people get their hearts right with God and gain “knowledge of the Holy One.”  And, again, it’s not a matter of doing these things to cross them off some list.  The goal of each of these things is to get to know God, to become closer to God – all the time.

1. Daily Bible reading.  This cannot be replaced by devotionals or church classes where things are “explained” to you.  Devotionals and church classes are fine (and it’s important to be in fellowship with other believers), but they are not a time alone with God.  I don’t know how to stress this part enough.  But I promise you it will make a difference.  While I “knew” God in a very “churchy” sense for years, I didn’t really have “knowledge of the Holy One” until I started spending time with just God.  This is something you have to do yourself.  You can’t get it from sitting in church.  (Though sitting in church can, of course, help grow your relationship with God.)  You can’t share someone else’s knowledge of God.  You have to seek this yourself.

2. Daily Prayer.  For-real prayer.  Not rote prayer.  Not prayer that tries to sound “holy.”  Prayer that adores the very real goodness God, confesses our very real sin, gives real thanks for His real gifts, makes real petitions for real needs, and truly seeks after God’s heart.  He has promised us, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

3. Daily listening.  I think the reason this is so hard and so important is that we can most clearly hear God speak to us when we’re attuned to Him and nothing else.  I think daily listening is something Satan fights mightily against.  He knows how important it is, and he tries to prevent it from happening.  Be ready for that.

I’ll talk more in later posts about specific methods I use for my quiet time, but for now, my challenge to you, if you don’t have a current quiet time with God, is to just start.  Just go before Him with an open heart, faith in His word, and a hunger to hear from Him.  See what He does!

If you already have a daily time with God, then your challenge is to ramp it up in some way.  Has He been working on you to expand it, deepen it, make it more authentic, or otherwise change part of it?  Has He been asking you to do something in your quiet time that you have been resisting?  Perhaps giving up a pet sin, forgiving someone, encouraging someone else in his/her walk?  Remember that your quiet time can’t be all it should be, and cannot progress, until you’re obedient to what He’s already told you.

“‘Why do you call me, “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.’” – Luke 6:46-49

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” – James 1:22-25

Let me know how it goes!

Want to read more?

Start of the role model series: (becoming) a role model, part one

Start of the wife series: (becoming) a godly wife

Start the fully submitted series: (becoming) fully submitted

Have trouble saying no?  Try: (becoming) a good volunteer: the necessity of “no”

Struggle with worry?  Try: (becoming) less of a worrier

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