Have you ever noticed that when you are going through something in your life that everyone has “wisdom” for you as to how to fix your situation? Do you feel tempted to let others know how to fix their problems? If you do then you are like most of us. We feel as though it is our duty to let others know how to fix their problems, as if we have it all together, but is this what we are really supposed to do?
I remember very distinctly all the advice that people shared with us when we were pregnant with our daughter. I also remember very distinctly all the disapproval that people have had for how we have chosen to raise our daughter along the way, because it is not how they chose to raise their children. The advice I can understand and to an extent I can even understand the disapproval.
For everyone who has ever been on the receiving end of unsolicited advice, which likely is all of you, you know that receiving advice that you did not ask for is not something that you want to here. Often times relationships can be strained because of advice from someone who is only trying to help, and instead oversteps an invisible boundary and enters into a personal space uninvited.
The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.
Learning to hold our tongue and to listen instead of speaking all of the time will drastically change the way people view you. If you listen and wait until invited to share the wisdom that you have received from the Lord, not just what you think about something, or even ask if you can share what you have learned or what worked for you then your words will be more readily received. We all want to be viewed as wise, but we must not be impressed by our wisdom and should instead fear the Lord and turn away from evil (Proverbs 3:7).
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.
Isaiah 5:21 states, “What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever.” When the wisdom of God is truly in you and flowing from you in an appropriate manner people will begin to naturally come to you for advice and wisdom, because what you have to share is not from you, but from God. Those who are truly wise have learned to listen and to speak only words of wisdom and understanding that have come from the Lord.
Among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.
If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.
Learning to speak at the appropriate time and learning to speak wisdom takes understanding that can only come from the Lord. When God instills His wisdom within you then you will truly be wise. You will learn when you speak and when to hold your tongue. You will learn to speak life and to let God flow through you rather than personal ambition or selfishness. Others will naturally come to you and seek you out for advice and your relationships will be strengthened.
The other side of this is that you will learn that you cannot be quiet when others are speaking against God and His creation. You will learn how to respectfully share what you know to be true and to not accept the slanderous Words of those who are not children of God. Learning to walk in righteousness takes time and practice. It takes getting into the Word of God and not just relying on what other people are telling you. If we are not intentional about reading God’s Word and praying then how can we ever expect to know His voice or to recognize His voice when He is speaking to us.
It is time for us to take a step back and to examine whether we are merely being wise in our own eyes or if we are filled with wisdom from God. We must regularly meet with God in our quiet place and pray, and we must be in His Word regularly. It is only then that our lives will begin to reflect the light that can only come from God. It is only then that we will learn to be content in all things and be filled with the joy of the Lord.
The things of this world promise happiness, but always leave us wanting more, but the things from above yield fruit of in our lives and leave us feeling joy and contentment regardless of what we are going through. When our lives are full of God then and only then will be adequately equipped to share God with others, because it is only when we truly know who God is in our lives that we can show others how God has changed our lives and our outlook on life. We cannot share what we do not have.
Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.