SERIES: Wisdom from Proverbs
TEXT: Proverbs 3:1-12
MESSAGE: “Gaining Wisdom”

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“I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.” — Proverbs 4:11
“Wise people are able to accept reality as it is, with equanimity,”…Her research shows that when people in nursing homes or with a terminal illness score high on her wisdom scale, they also report a greater sense of well-being. “If things are really bad, it’s good to be wise…”  Phyllis Korkki 
“For the wise men of old, the cardinal problem of human life was how to conform the soul to objective reality, and the solution was wisdom, self-discipline, and virtue. For the modern, the cardinal problem is how to conform reality to the wishes of man, and the solution is a technique.” ― C.S. Lewis (The Abolition of Man)
 “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” — Eugene Peterson
Q: How do we gain wisdom?
By examining…(1. What we believe 2. Who we trust 3. How we respond)
  1. What we believe (v. 1-3)
“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, 2 for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. 3 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” — Ezekiel 36:26
 
“The greatest sorrow and burden you can lay on the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to him is not to believe that he loves you.”  John Owen
  1. Who we trust (v. 5-8)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”
“Popular business books proclaim the power and virtue of trust. Academics have enthusiastically piled up study after study showing the varied benefits of trust, especially when it is based on a clear track record, credible expertise, and prominence in the right networks. Then along came Bernie Madoff. There was “something about this person, pedigree, and reputation that inspired trust,” mused one broker taken in by Bernard Madoff, who confessed to a $65 billion Ponzi scheme—one of the largest and most successful in history. On the surface, Madoff possessed all the bona fides—the record, the résumé, the expertise, and the social connections. But the fact that so many people, including some sophisticated financial experts and business leaders, were lulled into a false sense of security when dealing with Madoff should give us pause. Why are we so prone to trusting? Madoff is hardly the first to pull the wool over so many eyes. What about Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, and all the other corporate scandals of the past decade? Is there perhaps a problem with how we trust?”  Roderick Kramer
“The real test is this…Is one’s first feeling, “Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,” or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker…later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black.” — CS Lewis
  1. How we respond (v. 9-12)
Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; 10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. 11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, 12 for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
— Romans 8:28-29
 
TAKEAWAYS: Where do we start?
  • Ask God For Wisdom
  • Redefine Success

“I pity celebrities, no I really do – Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, and Barbara Streisand, were once perfectly pleasant human beings. But now their wrath is awful…You see Sly, Bruce, and Barbara wanted fame. They worked, they pushed and the morning after each of them became famous they wanted to take an overdose. Because that giant thing they were striving for, that fame thing that was going to make everything OK, that was going to make their lives bearable, that was going to provide them with personal fulfillment and happiness had happened and they were still them.”   Cynthia Heimel 

“So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.” 

— Proverbs 3:4

  • Commit to God’s Word
“To meditate on the Scriptures is to think about them, turning them over in our minds, and applying them to our life’s situations… The objective of our meditation is application – obedience to the Scriptures.” — Jerry Bridges
  • See the Perfect Parent
“God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart.” 
— Charles Spurgeon