When you hear the word ‘wisdom’, what are the first thoughts or pictures that come into your head?
For me I conjure up pictures in my head of clever people or maybe those who are older than me who have had lots of life experience, making them invaluable in a crisis. They are the sort of people that I would go to if I needed advice on something.
Or maybe you picture owls because for some reason owls are seen as being very wise and you always see pictures of them with glasses on!
The dictionary definition of wisdom is:
- the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement; the quality of being wise.
- the fact of being based on sensible or wise thinking.
- the body of knowledge and experience that develops within a specified society or period.
There is no mention of owls there!
You may have certain people that you always turn to when you are trying to make a decision in life and this maybe someone in your friendship group because you trust their opinion or it may be a teacher, colleague at work or even a parent.
I do seek advice from trusted individuals when I am making a decision for sure but first I always pray about it and want God’s opinion on anything I do so that I don’t take a wrong turn and end up in a mess (which I have done and it’s just not worth the mess and upset from going your own way).
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” – James 1:5
“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding…” – Proverbs 3:13
Asking God is always the best place to start when seeking wisdom but there are also some people who operate in the gift of ‘word of wisdom’ and this gift complements the ‘word of knowledge’ gift I have talked about before (check it out if you haven’t read about it as it’s such an awesome gift).
This is one of the revelation gifts along with Words of Knowledge and the Discerning of Spirits. They are even listed together in the bible;
“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit.” – 1 Corinthians 12: 7-8
There isn’t that much written in the bible about these gifts, so they often cause a bit of controversy. The word of wisdom is often viewed in two ways; some see the gift having a prophetic function whilst some see it as having a teaching function.
Just to be clear I only ever write to the best of my knowledge about the spiritual gifts and what I have experienced or seen first hand. I am not a theologian, but just a passionate lover of Jesus and I love how the spiritual gifts we are all given are used to build the church and bless people in church and, even more importantly in my opinion, bless people outside of church who do not know Jesus yet but may get a glimpse of Him through us.
So, in my understanding, the Holy Spirit gives this gift of wisdom to pass on truth and understanding to fellow Christians but also to create a response in them of holiness (living a life set apart for God) and worship. The end result is not to just have head knowledge but to have a transformed heart and therefore a transformed life.
People with this gifting tend to have a deep sense of the holiness of God and of their own unholiness. They can perceive this in others too and can often be led to share truth with them. They can use their own life experiences to teach others about these things.
They are often able to know where a decision or action may lead someone and be able to warn them against a situation that might be unfruitful for them. People with this gift are so needed in the church and can help guide groups or individuals out of confusing situations to achieve the better goal God has intended for them.
These gifts of knowledge and wisdom were given to communicate God’s truth, not to reveal new, unknown truth that would add to or take away from scripture. The bible is very clear on the seriousness of this;
“Don’t add a word to what I command you, and don’t remove a word from it. Keep the commands of God, your God, that I am commanding you.” – Deuteronomy 4:2 (MSG)
If you are still unsure what your spiritual gifts are you can take this Spiritual Gift Test (teen version). Remember it’s only a guide and not a definitive answer to what your giftings are.
You could also talk to someone at church, your youth leader or even Christian friends who are already moving in different giftings and may be able to guide you on your areas of gifting.
God also urges us to desire the gifts, especially prophecy and it’s not wrong to pray about giftings you feel a longing for as long as your motive is always right.
“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.” – 1 Corinthians 14 :1
I love this scripture because it makes very clear that the most important thing we can offer as Christians is to love people well, and this underpins all the spiritual gifts. Everything we do must flow out of a love for each other and for our fellow man.