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8 Characteristics of Godly Wisdom

8 character wisdomI’ve been watching the presidential campaign with interest and, quite frankly, concern. Will we be able to see through all the political junk and elect the person who has the ability and wisdom to best lead America?

Last week, I prepared a Bible study lesson on the wisdom of God for our small group. I thought about these candidates. Which of them possess the wisdom that comes from God?

Whether we are deciding how to vote or seeking to live our own lives with God’s wisdom, it’s important to know what His wisdom looks like so we can recognize it, live by it.

What is Godly Wisdom?

Wisdom is not the same as knowledge. We can know a lot of stuff and still be foolish. You don’t have to look far to see examples – just listen to a presidential debate. I love this description of godly wisdom from Wayne Grudem in his book “Systematic Theology.” (By the way, this is a staple for your library if you want to study God’s Word!)

“God’s wisdom means that God always chooses the best goals and the best means to those goals. This definition goes beyond the idea of God knowing all things and specifies that God’s decisions about what He will do are always wise decisions: that is, they always will bring about the best results (from God’s ultimate perspective), and they will bring about those results through the best possible means.”

Applied to us, if we want to be truly wise, we will make decisions and act in ways to move toward God’s ultimate best.

How Do We Get Godly Wisdom?

Wisdom is found in and begins with God. We find true wisdom on the basis of our relationship with Him. We find true wisdom by humbly submitting to God and obeying His commands.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding.” Psalm 111:10

Here’s the kicker – the flip side of that is also true. If we don’t yield to God and His good leadership, but instead follow our own will, way, and “wisdom,” then we are really foolish.

What does Wisdom Look Like? 8 Characteristics of Wisdom

We could scour the book of Proverbs and come up with a long, long list of characteristics. But there’s this great passage in James that packs a lot into just a few verses. The following characteristics are based on James 3:13-18:

  1. Humble – Wise people don’t constantly brag, boast, or display a prideful attitude.
  2. Good deeds – Wise people live an upright and moral life.
  3. Gentle – Wise people treat others with care and respect.
  4. Considerate – Wise people put the needs of others ahead of themselves whenever possible.
  5. Peace-loving – Wise people don’t foster division. Instead they work to end strife and turmoil.
  6. Merciful – Wise people demonstrate compassion, forgiveness, and kindness to others.
  7. Sincere – Wise people are genuine, real, and honest; not deceitful, hypocritical, or false.
  8. Impartial – Wise people are fair and just. They do not show partiality to others for their own benefit.

This is a serious and specific list. Do you know anyone who is wise? Do any of the presidential candidates measure up to this list? If their life demonstrates these characteristics then I would say “yes.” If not, then maybe not. I must admit, this list challenges me. I want my life to demonstrate godly wisdom. What about you?

Do you know anyone that is truly, biblically wise? I’d love to hear about them.

You may also be interested in this post: “Wisdom: Why, Where, and How”

Check out Wayne Grudem’s book “Systematic Theology”

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7 Responses to 8 Characteristics of Godly Wisdom

  1. Takiama Mahe February 11, 2017 at 1:34 pm #

    It amazing when I read this passage it challenge me as a christian to desperately seek for Godly wisdom in my entire life then everything will fall in places

    • Kathy February 12, 2017 at 7:13 am #

      Takiama, thank you for stopping by. And you are right! This is challenging. But it is God’s wisdom given to us and not something we have to do on our own. Isn’t that amazing and humbling!?

  2. David Bird June 23, 2017 at 9:15 pm #

    Thanks Kathy! It’s so important to realize, as you point out, that wisdom and knowledge are not the same thing. Wisdom is something that God imparts to us as we get to know him better. It is based on a relationship with him. God help us to acquire wisdom!

  3. Christy Havard July 3, 2017 at 9:37 pm #

    Kathy, Thank you for the post in many ways I see myself striving to live by the eight characteristics of Godly wisdom. However I am human so I’m going to keep striving. I am just so very greatful to have a father to hand those gifts down to me. Praise Jesus

  4. Rowland Adewumi September 3, 2017 at 3:37 pm #

    Thank you so much . This is an eye opener to know those that fear the lord and God has given wisdom

  5. Aleida Forbes October 4, 2017 at 6:04 pm #

    Wouldn’t pure be one of the 8 included?

    • Kathy October 4, 2017 at 7:00 pm #

      Yes, it is there in the passage! Technically, it is included under “good works.” Thanks for the input!

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