As we are Learning to Walk we must find out from the Scripture how to Walk in Wisdom. Wisdom is mentioned many times in the Bible. It is “the principle thing” (Prov. 4:7). It is to be sought after, bought, treasured, listened to, stored up, found, kept, taught, learned, and loved. We are even told that if any of us lacks wisdom then all we have to do is ask God and He will give it to us liberally (James 1:5).
If we are told to walk in wisdom and are expected to be wise then we need to know what wisdom is. The best definition I have found for wisdom says that wisdom is skill in applying God’s Word to our circumstances in daily life. How do we respond to life, trials, suffering, blessing, etc.? And if having wisdom is a skill we can develop and hone then how will that change the way we think, talk, and act as we mature in the faith?
We will learn that there are five things that we must do if we are to walk in wisdom, and each of these things will definitely affect the way we think, talk, and act. Walking in wisdom is something that changes our lives and our responses to people and to circumstances around us. “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise” (Eph 5:15)
If we are to walk in wisdom we must start by walking wisely. To walk wisely is to walk with great care, accuracy, and precision. This involves taking deliberate and carefully thought out steps. It is not running or rushing. It is not walking in a manner where we do not know where we are going. This is the opposite of stumbling, tripping, or stubbing a toe on the furniture. It is not being clumsy or careless.
One way that we do this is to be sure that we do not “step out of ranks.” 1 Thess. 5:14 tells us that we are to “warn those who are unruly”. The phrase “unruly” is a Greek term that refers to a soldier stepping out of ranks. It is as if in a marching column of men one soldier is out of step and is messing up the cadence and unity of the platoon.
We are told that we are to warn each other so that we do not get out of line or step out of ranks. This means that we must know how to walk, where to walk, and what will hinder us. Let us look at these different aspects of walking, starting with the last mentioned.
Hebrews 12:1 tells us, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” If we are to walk or to run effectively then we must know what hinders us. Would a runner run very well with a weight tied around his legs? Or would being bound with a chain help him in the task of completing the race? No, a chain and a weight would ensnare the runner, make the run difficult, and most surely impossible to win the race.
Sin ensnares us, weighs us down, and prevents us from running as we should. That is why if we are to run this race, or walk and live the Christian life successfully then we must lay aside the weight and remove the sin that ensnares us. This is confession. We repent and confess our sin when we fail to meet God’s standard and so we get the weight off and are able to run rightly.
If we want to know where to walk, then we understand that the Bible tells us to walk in love, to walk in light, to walk is wisdom, to walk in truth, to walk uprightly, to walk in obedience, and to walk worthy of the calling with which we have been called. To do all of this means that we need to know how to walk in the first place.
Walking, of course, is used to refer to living; it refers to how we live our lives. It is how we “walk the walk.” The foundational element that influences the way we live is what we believe. If we are out in the woods and believe that a bear is chasing us, we will run just as fast as if a bear really is chasing us! What we believe is made obvious in the way we act.
Alternatively, if a man calls 911 and says that his house is on fire, then hangs up the phone, walks down the hall, and gets in bed and goes to sleep, he doesn’t really believe that his house is on fire. What we believe we act upon.
This is why we are told in the Scriptures that doctrine affects the way we live. Sound doctrine produces godly living. Unsound doctrine produces ungodly living. That means that if we claim to believe sound doctrine but do not live a godly life then it really does not matter what we think we believe; we are deceived. Unsound doctrine produces the works of the flesh (unfruitful works of darkness (Galatians 5:19-21). Sound doctrine produces the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). What we believe is evidenced by how we live.
Sound doctrine comes from the Word of God. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) The inspired, inerrant, infallible Holy Bible is profitable for doctrine – for telling us what to believe.
There are those out there who say that doctrine is not important and that doctrine divides. Someone recently posted a comment on a blog, “You fundamentalists need to wake up and focus on Jesus and His ministry, rather than get carried away with the wording of a doctrinal statement (sic).” But think about this. Is doctrine important?
Let us agree that we should just focus on Jesus. Okay. Which Jesus? The Jesus who is Lucifer’s brother and the son of a man who became a God and is now populating the earth with his spirit children born to his eternally pregnant wife? (Mormon teaching). Or the Jesus who is not God but the angel Michael who was created by God and has not existed eternally with the Father? (Jehovah’s Witness teaching). Or should we focus on the Jesus who was a man but was filled with the Spirit at his baptism and became the Son of God, and then the Spirit left before he died on the cross – so he was merely a man used of God? Or the Jesus who was a ghost, a phantom that appeared to His disciples but was not really a man? (Gnosticism).
You see, doctrine and discernment are important. We see that without doctrine we cannot even define who Jesus is, for without doctrine we do not know what to believe. If we do not know what to believe then we will live accordingly! That is why we see that in order to walk wisely we must rightly interpret the Word of God. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) This is to accurately interpret the Word of God so that we know what to believe and as a result how to walk.
Remember, as we walk with great care and precision, it is the Word of God that is a “lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps 119:105). The Word illumines the way. It shows us how and where to walk. And we must follow the Word carefully, precisely, and deliberately. The first step then in walking in wisdom, to have the right perspective, is to walk in obedience to the Word of God.
- Bible Gateway with NIV Study Bible Notes
- Walk Circumspectly