Our lips are called the gateway to honesty or deception. And while this Proverb extols the benefits of wisdom, and thinking before we speak… Job 15:5 shows the opposite when it says, “Your sin prompts (or incites) your mouth; you adopt the tongue of the crafty.” We all have the ability to select the words that come out of our lips, for it’s our prudent or deceptive heart that guides them.
Godly wisdom is pragmatic…for there are very practical and economic benefits to gaining Godly insight and discernment over worldly wisdom. It tells us in Proverbs 3:13-14 that wisdom is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. Worldly wisdom, like worldly riches, are fleeting…here today and gone tomorrow. But Godly wisdom stays with you…ever increasing…and lasting forever.
You’ll find there’s two different and distinct types of wisdom out there today…worldly wisdom, and Godly wisdom. Worldly wisdom is of man’s making. So it’s no surprise that it’s full of ego, arrogance, and selfish ambition…with a motto that reads, “Look what I’ve done!” While Godly wisdom is full of humility, mercy, and peace…and always is seeking God’s perspective and counsel in all matters both big and small. With worldly wisdom we become unteachable, but with wisdom from above, we are continually growing into the person God wants us to be.
A verse that goes along with this one is found in Ecclesiastes 10:12, “Words from a wise man’s mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his own lips.” When we speak before thinking, we open ourselves up for imprudent and tactless language to come out…words that can embarrass us, malign our true character, and even ruin our reputation. The old saying, “Loose lips sink ships”, is true…for our own mouth can often be our worst enemy.
It only takes one time…one misstep, one lapse of judgement, one bad decision to overshadow all the good we’ve done. For when we lack good sense and act foolishly…we are not operating with practical spirituality and prudence, but rather with indiscretion and carelessness. And to paraphrase Proverbs 18:2, that’s when a fool opens their mouth and inserts their foot.
To answer the “where” in both questions above…it’s God who is the source of all wisdom and ability. And He is more than eager to impart His wisdom and understanding to us when we ask. For it tells us in James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to him.” Maybe, like me, you’ve at one time been in a training session of difficult material, so you ask a question of clarification only to be rebuked by the leader…makes you not want to ask anymore questions, right? But God’s not that way…He wants us to ask for discernment and insight when we’re struggling. And it says that He will not only give it freely but won’t make fun of us for asking.
To be a Christian in the world today is to be like a lamb among the wolves. We’re bombarded by carnality, violence, and deception everywhere we look. This is why Jesus directed His disciples to go out into the world using practical common sense…and using wisdom to maintain a pure ethical character no matter who or what they encountered. But nor were they to be gullible and naive in their worldly interactions. As Believers, we too are called to a Godly influence in the world…but not be influenced and so seduced by it.