Humans perceive through their senses. But without good judgment constantly weighing how we feel to what’s morally right…we can easily go astray. When we allow our feelings to overrule our understanding…we jump from one thing to another with no forethought – no discipline – simply doing what feels good at the moment. But by having wisdom always in view, we will consider things through eyes of Godly insight and sensibility…not by fickle, momentary feelings.
You don’t hear the word “folly” used much now a days…to the point I had to look it up for the correct definition. According to Webster, folly means a lack of good sense, a foolish act or a stupid idea. So we may not call it folly today, but yet we can see a lot of it across social media! People taking chances and performing dangerous acts on a dare, or acting the fool in front of a camera without thinking first how it might impact their life tomorrow. Proverbs 13:16 tells us that, “a fool exposes his folly.” So think about it – anytime you act on a foolish idea before you first think about the consequences…you risk revealing just how stupid you look to others.
In this commercialized world where we are constantly bombarded by advertising telling us to “Buy! Buy! Buy!” … this verse stands in stark contrast. In fact, elsewhere in Proverbs, the author is even more emphatic when he writes , “Wisdom and understanding are more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.” (Proverbs 3:13-14) So what he’s saying is that our choices have eternal consequences…that by choosing wisdom and understanding, they will yield better and lasting benefits…that material possessions are not what make us who we are…and by choosing wisdom and understanding over riches – the result will be a life marked by purpose, and peace…not things.
Solomon asked God for a discerning heart and the wisdom to distinguish between right and wrong and God was pleased. (I Kings 3:9-10) For Solomon wasn’t asking for the superficial or trivial, or things that had no eternal significance…he was asking for wisdom. I once worked with a Doctor who started calling me Prudence. When I asked why, he stated it was how I conducted myself dealing with patients and that he appreciated my common sense and prudent approach. When you ask God for wisdom, understanding, discretion, and His Will in your life… He happily will oblige. (James 1:5)
I once worked for a Doctor who gave me the nickname, Prudence…of which I was very happy with! For I’d much rather be known for my good judgment rather than careless and unwise decisions. All wisdom and abilities we have, find their source in God…and a reverent attitude towards Him is the start of all discernment and discretion…for all understanding resides in our hearts.
I can still remember one of my Nursing Supervisors in college. She would stand outside the patient’s room with you asking a million questions about the procedure you were about to carry out. Did you have everything you needed and were you well versed in what you were about to do. But right before you both walked into the room she’d say, “I will only stop you if you are potentially going to hurt the patient.” It was always said in a quiet, soft voice, but boy did it pack a wallop! Luckily, she never said a word during any of my procedures, and I gained a wealth of knowledge from that uncompromising woman. The Lord is the same way, His discipline is to educate us, not hurt us. It’s only when we reject and turn away from His correction that we suffer.
As human beings, we have to learn some things the hard way. Growing up, we think of ourselves as invincible. We take crazy chances. We egg each other on…double dog daring…and sometimes paying for that foolishness. So as grown adults, we should have gained some wisdom and good judgment by now. But how many people do we see that just haven’t learned that lesson? Risky behaviors will eventually catch up with everyone…for no one is exempt.