Lately I’ve been thinking about wisdom a lot (you can see my last post about it here). I’ve been on this journey of truly recognizing that all I am and all I have is from God (hence the probably most quoted passage of mine 2 Cor. 3:4-7). Included in this is wisdom. In my last post I mentioned a struggle I had before when asking God for wisdom which was my motivation. There was a time where I was desiring to be seen as wise more than desiring to actually become wise. This of course led to some inner conflict because I’d hear message after message about where your heart was in your petitions to God. I’d be in discussion after discussion encouraging people to examine their own heart and repent when necessary. I would then be praying and trying to convince myself that I was in the right mindset when it was very obvious my own petitions were pretty self-centered. I was trying to justify and defend myself. Praise God I realized my hypocrisy and listened to what He was saying fairly early on. I was able to accept that correction from Him and I was better because of it. Now, there have been plenty of times that I’ve been offered advice or guidance and brushed it off and/or got defensive over it. I can be pretty stubborn and opinionated. I like to think I’m getting better about having a more teachable attitude and holding my tongue, but I have by no means perfected either of those things.
Accepting correction and how it is an act of love is what I want to focus on today. The last few months I’ve been reading through the Bible and I’m in Proverbs at the time I’m writing this. I thought that was pretty cool as it lined up with the beginning of my contemplation of wisdom.
One sort of Proverb that is repeated frequently has to do with fools ignoring correction and becoming angry or more foolish and the wise accepting correction and gaining greater wisdom from it. It’s repeated nearly 20 times (Prov. 1:1-7, 3:11-12, 8:32-36, 9:7-9, 10:5 + at least 14 more)! I can’t speak for everyone, but I know following the example of the wise seems like the better option to me.
There’s some trouble that arises when making this choice, though. People are terrified of being wrong. I don’t think this is a new issue. Throughout history and folktales people seem like they can’t stand the notion that they could make a mistake. Making a mistake is apparently the worst possible thing to happen to a person. That of course means being offered correction is the most offensive thing to happen to a person. Someone is accusing you of making a mistake. They’re shaming you! They’re saying you’re less-than! They’re saying there’s a chance that you’re wrong.
This is the worst possible mindset to be in. As we see in proverbs, only fools despise correction. The wise are grateful for it and the opportunity to gain more knowledge. The wise are slow to anger, control their tongue, consider all they can, and they grow from their mistakes (Prov. 14:15-19, 17:27-28, 29:11). How can we become like that? I see those things and I honestly get a bit intimidated by it. Those are some big expectations, especially when it seems like a sharp tongue and quick wit are praised these days. We’re being told that when faced with someone offering us correction (remember that’s the most offensive thing to do to someone), we are supposed to actually take into consideration what they’re saying as if we could be in the wrong. We are supposed to control our emotions at least long enough to think about it and not lash out at them. We are supposed to grow from our mistakes when they are revealed to us AND as we find in Philippians 2:14, we are supposed to do it with good attitudes. This sounds exhausting.
If you feel as overwhelmed as I do reading all that, I have some great news for you. You’re not alone through it because Jesus died to become our wisdom and relieve us of that burden (read more on that in my last blog post here). If that’s hard to grasp for you, consider that all those attributes said to belong to the wise come from a place of love which was ultimately the motivation in Christ accepting crucifixion. Because He loved us, and He wanted us to be able to love the same way. When we accept Christ, our spirits are aligned with His. We become one with Him and are made complete (Col. 2:10). This includes our ability to love and our wisdom. Now there’s still our flesh to handle, and as I’m sure you know, the flesh loves trying to overshadow the spirit. This is where we are expected to contribute.
Our responsibility is to deepen our relationship with Him, leading us to become more and more like Him while living life on earth until we meet Him face to face and only Spirit remains (1 Cor. 13:12, 2 Cor. 3:17-18). That means going to scripture, spending intentional time in prayer, speaking with Him, worshiping Him, and learning about the Word. It means prioritizing Him and surrendering your time and desires to Him. This is how we grow in wisdom. This is how we learn to accept correction.
I think it’s important to note that through this process of knowing Christ and growing in wisdom, we also become qualified to give wise counsel. Before you take that and decide that you’ll always be the wise counsel rather than the one counseled, consider this word of advice: stop trying to be right. Start trying to find the truth. When you shift your mindset from desiring to be smarter than other people to desiring to learn and share the truth with other people, it becomes so much easier to take an objective stance and accept correction when needed. You start to gain that appreciation for correction that the wise have. Let go of the pride that makes you want your way, and embrace the love for Christ and His people that encourages you to seek truth whether it’s what you originally believed or not. Also, we’re supposed to follow the example of Christ. Jesus was not motivated by proving He was right. He knew He was, and He was confident in the truth and passionate about sharing that truth with the world. His motivation was that love I mentioned earlier.
What we have to remember is that unlike Jesus, we are not perfect in our flesh. We have access to the wisdom of God even here on earth through the Spirit, but our flesh makes it so we can’t comprehend everything until we stand face to face with Him – so we’ll still make mistakes. That’s why correction is needed in the first place. We must recognize that our wisdom comes from God, we must recognize that we make mistakes (but God doesn’t), and we must be motivated by love to learn and share the truth.
To summarize: being wise does not mean you’ll always be right. It means you are in tune with the Holy Spirit and you seek the truth even if it means you have to face the correction of wise counsel. It means taking the time to consider the given situation, what the Word of God says about it, and taking action to better yourself and your understanding when necessary.
Wisdom (and every other virtue) is perfected and given power through love which among other things holds no record of wrong, rejoices in truth, and is not easily angered (1 Cor. 13, Col. 3:12-14). There is no way to love others without first knowing the Father’s love for yourself (1 John 4:19). So, wisdom begins with acceptance of Christ and grows through seeking His love, truth, and correction (Prov. 1:7).
Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this! All the support I’ve received is so appreciated and I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to reach people through something I love to do like writing. Please let me know if you have any additional insight, verses, or questions on this topic of wisdom! You can comment or message me through my contact page or DMs on Instagram @gabrielle____r! Abide in Him. May He bless you and keep you. Have a great week!