The Gift of Wisdom (19)
A gifted story: "It's going to fall down any day now!" Everyone
looked up at the top of the steeple at the sagging cross. "Someone's
going to get killed when it comes down." “We’ve got
to take it down now.” The feeling of panic was spreading through
the Council. "I wonder how bad it really is- maybe we should just
have someone check it over first." Bob spoke softly, and everyone
listened. Everyone always listened when Bob finally spoke because it
seemed he was usually right. He liked to wait until everyone had shared
their thoughts, and then he would ask an insightful question or two,
and render his opinion. In the end, Bob’s wisdom prevailed and
the cross was simply repaired.
1 Cor. 12:1-8 - The Spirit’s presence is shown in some
way in each person for the good of all. The Spirit gives one person a
of wisdom, while to another person the same Spirit gives a message full
James 3:17-18 - …the wisdom from above is pure first of all;
it is also peaceful, gentle, and friendly; it is full of compassion and
produces a harvest of good deeds; it is free from prejudice and hypocrisy.
And goodness is the harvest that is produced from the seeds the peacemakers
plant in peace.
2 Peter 3:15 - Look on our Lord’s patience as the opportunity
he is giving you to be saved, just as our dear brother Paul wrote to
you, using the wisdom that God gave him.
Definition and comment:
The gift of Wisdom: the special ability that God gives to certain members
of the Body of Christ to know the mind of the Holy Spirit and to receive
insight into how given knowledge may best be applied to specific needs
arising in the Body of Christ. With this gift the Spirit endows particular
Christians with an understanding of God’s will and work as it relates
to the living of life.
In the early church a “message of wisdom” served a revelatory
purpose by enabling a few specially chosen individuals to receive the
hidden and secret wisdom of God. There was a close kinship between this
gift and the gift of prophecy. The Apostles and Prophets exercised this
gift regularly, and the wisdom the Paul received resulted in a considerable
amount of Scripture. Many feel that the “message of wisdom” was
fulfilled upon the completion of the New Testament.
However, it is still commonly accepted that “wisdom”(vs.
a “message of wisdom”) is needed by every Christian in order
to find the right course to take after considering carious sources of
information. Some people are endowed with a special ability to sift through
all the facts and see the bottom line, to understand the direction that
needs to be taken after hearing all the possibilities and considering
all the details. These are the people today that we believe have the
gift of wisdom. Although special inspiration from God is not ruled out,
the gift is more likely to be exercised to choose the best logical course
Affirm that you have this gift; questions to ask yourself:
Have you applied spiritual truth effectively to
situations in your own life?
When a person has a problem, are you
usually able to guide them
to the best biblical solution?
Do others ask you for workable
ideas or alternatives?
Do your recommendations for church positions
or solutions to problems often turn out well?
Can you intuitively
arrive at solutions to fairly complicated problems?
comfortable grappling with a variety of possibilities and determining
which appears best?
Areas for study and personal growth:
It is especially important that you understand
the nature of your gift of wisdom as it applies to you. Study all
appropriate Bible passages
to clarify the difference between a “message of wisdom” and
the “use of wisdom.” Read especially: 1 Cor. 2:4-13;
4:1;12:7-10; 13:8-12; James 1:5; 3:13-18; Peter 3:15-16. Also read
about the wisdom
of Solomon: 2 Chronicles 1: 1-12; 1 Kings 3:1-28.
There is considerable
responsibility attached to being known as a good decision-maker.
It will be important for you to develop the
to hear all sides fully, to gather and absorb all relevant facts
and consider all perspectives before making a determination as
to the best
course of action to take. Learn how to do this methodically and
to document the details that support your conclusion.
wisdom to make right choices carries the burden of delivering
the advice thus generated, and this may not always
be popular. Learn
how to present your determination in a convincing manner,
helping all sides realize how their views were carefully considered
Work on laying out your finding compassionately and always
under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Insure that you give attention
to the urgings of the Holy Spirit in your deliberations and
prayer. Learn to subjugate
your own beliefs, preferences and particular dogmas as
well as those views of people in a position to influence you in
of making truly
wise determinations base on the evidence and guidance
Develop the ability to ask probing and pertinent
questions that bring out what everyone needs to hear. Study
basic logical concepts (as well
as fallacies) that will help you analyze arguments
and see truth more readily. Appropriately targeted questions
a person see
things in a different light.
Study group dynamics
to learn how people interact in a group setting. This will
give you insight into
may be reacting
in certain ways to the group discussion and better
enable you to get to the heart of the matter
General ways to use the gift of wisdom:
Personally: assist family or friends in making
Within the church: be a council member or officer;
plug in to task forces or committees (see more specific church
in the Booklet Channels for Using the Gifts).
Within the wider community: serve
on any of various community service boards
Having wisdom and being able to convey it are two very different things.
Your gift of wisdom will enable you to readily see a truth that you may
find incredible others fail to see. You will need to be patient enough
to give others time to “see the light” as is evident to you.
Steven Covey, in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, presents
a good discussion on paradigms that shape our thinking. Helping people
to shift their paradigms is an important step in broadening their range
of acceptance of new ideas. You will need to have a good grasp of where
people are coming from as you seek to exercise your gift of wisdom and
communicate your conclusions.
Wisdom is not the only gift needed for good decision-making. The logical
answer may not be the right answer. As such, you will have to factor
in the contributions of people with the gift of discernment - these
people have a sense of what is right and wrong, what is good and what
is evil, what is appropriately motivated and what is not. When it is
determined, however, that the course under consideration is a good one,
wisdom should be employed to help determine the best direction to take
for the task to be appropriately completed to everyone’s satisfaction.
In some ways using wisdom is like playing chess - you have to look
ahead at all the possibilities and see which avenues are clear and which
are fraught with peril. It takes a lot of hard thought to be a grand
master chess-player. Similarly, exercising wisdom is no easy task, but
when thoughtfully done, perilous situations are avoided and the church