I am in my head a lot. I spend a lot of time reading, reflecting and writing. I pride myself in gaining knowledge and see myself as a life long learner. Currently, I am truly being humbled though as I learn that knowledge is not enough, wisdom is everything.
The more I read Proverbs, one of the Books of Wisdom; I am learning that knowledge is good to have. But as I plough deeper questions keep popping up. Is having knowledge good? Is it better to have wisdom? How is knowledge different than wisdom? Am I becoming wiser and am I gaining and applying my wisdom?
Prior to my recent reading of Proverbs I probably would have answered yes, “I am a knowledgeable and wise person.” After all at sixty-two years, I have learned and experienced a lot. I do believe I am a knowledgeable person. But wise? I am now not so sure.
Reading Proverbs has brought about two significant insights.
First, that there is a significant difference between being knowledgeable and being wise. Being wise means you take the time to think, to self-examine, to discern and then make choices and decisions. It means that you cannot rely only on your own knowledge. It means that you need to reach out and pray to God. You refer to and rely on Him. It means admitting that you are not smarter than God. It means turning to God as the default not turning to self first.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
Second, you will face and learn from the challenges, pain and suffering in your life’s journey. These difficult and stressful life interrupted moments are placed in front of you to refine and teach you. They help you to gain knowledge, but more importantly if you accept them, learn from them and apply what you have learned from experiencing them, you will gain wisdom.
“Wisdom can be discovered only, after a journey through the wilderness which no one can make for us, which no one can spare us.” Marcel Proust
Reading Proverbs is challenging me. I am learning as I read but now with a more faithful lens. I will rely and lean on God to not only gain knowledge but to also gain and apply the wisdom which He teaches me.