You will not like this article and it will be the briefest article you will ever read from me. It is short, poignant and carries a life-arresting application.
Want to be smarter? Be viewed as knowledgeable? Be respected more? Be wise? Of course. We all do. So how do we get there from here?
Starting Point Scripture is clear. “. . . the beginning of wisdom.” Oh, there is a beginning point. A starting line. A main door . . . an entry point marked Become Wise. There’s a starting spot to launch our journey to smartville. To Wisdomtown.
Fear the Lord That starting point is said to be “the fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 9:10 and Psalm 111:10). What does that mean?
I believe “fear of the Lord” is to respect God enough to avoid sin. I do not believe it means to tremble and quake in anxiety.
“The fear of the Lord” means that we are sufficiently sensitive to what offends God so that we cease to sin. Anger, greed, selfishness, gluttony, lust, jealousy, resentment, gossip – we just do not go there! Stop sinning makes us eligible to become wise. Poised. Respected.
You are in some tense situation and you are tempted to recruit supporters in your battle against the other guy. He is so wrong and you feel out-numbered. But you know it will increase division and polarize things. You are dying inside, but your hunger to become wise by not sinning restrains you so you do not recruit by gossiping. Expensive.
Someone has really hurt you. His name comes up in conversation with a third party. But you take a step toward wisdom by resisting the impulse to unload your negative experience.
You are waiting for something that is legitimate. You can get it on your own now, but you are waiting for God to achieve the goal in His own time and way. “The fear of the Lord” means I do not rush ahead in the flesh to get what I want.
To have respect for God and His authority, His way of doing things, His timing means we depend on Him (not on ourselves and whatever we can do).
That’s how to get smart. How to become wise. It’s that simple. God says so.