The 7 Marks of Wisdom
The backs of the cards are coded to relate to at least one of the following marks of a wise person.
The Bible tells us over and over that true wisdom comes from God. Proverbs 9:10 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
To know God is to find true understanding. And if we know God's character fully then we can trust in Him. An African friend of mine told me he had heard of a tribe that used a phrase in their language for faith in God that meant, "lean on a tree and do not fall."" I think that is a wonderful picture. When we lean on a tree, we cannot see the root system under the ground, yet because we know the characteristics of a tree we know we can lean on it and it will not fall over.
Wise people seek God's word that he has revealed to us before they consider their own ideas. Consider what is taught in Proverbs:
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight. (Proversb 3:5-6)
Here are some qualities that reveal a struggle to trust in God:
- Seldom reading the Bible when faced with a problem.
- Not praying when making decisions.
- Trying their own ideas before considering God's perspective.
- Not asking mature Christians for advice when struggling
- Constantly worrying about things not in our control.
- Constantly waiting for God instead of acting on what God has already revealed to us. (see Wisdom On making Good Decisions for more on this)
The wise persons person who trusts in God will also want to pursue the other six Marks of a Wise Person.
God emphasizes the importance of relationships throughout his Word. Wise people have healthy, vibrant, meaningful relationships with God and others. Unwise people have...
- close friends who influence them negatively
- too many shallow relationships
- difficulty being alone
- a tendency to avoid interacting with people
- a habit of disrespecting their parents.
How healthy are your relationships? How would growing in Christ affect your attitude toward relationships? What steps can you take to improve your relationships?
Wise people know how to find good counsel - and actively seek advice from their counselors. In contrast, unwise people...
- don't know where to turn for quality advice
- maintain a know-it-all attitude
- get impatient with others very easily
- rebel against authorities
- are too proud to accept advice or help
When you have a problem, who do you turn to for help? Have you surrounded yourself with wise counselors? How would growing in Christ affect your attitude toward counsel? What are some ways you can use your counselors more wisely?
The words that come out of our mouths are more important - and revealing - than most people realize. Our words say as much about our wisdom-or lack thereof - as our actions do. Jesus told the Pharisees that "out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matthew 12:34). What do your words say about you and your heart?
Here are a few examples of negative speech habits:
- Using profanity and offensive language
- Using humor as a way to keep from getting close to others
- Talking when you should be listening
How many of those habits are problems for you? How would growing in Christ change those habits? What are some ways you can use your words more wisely?
The impulses to defend ourselves, feed ourselves, find sexual fulfillment and satisfy our cravings (whether for fame, possessions or revenge) are hardwired into our system. They're inescapable. Our ability to control those impulses - to develop a mastery over our bodies instead of being slaves to them - sets us apart in today's me-first culture. It's part of what makes us wise.
Here are some examples of a lack of self-control:
- Losing our temper
- Inability to handle changes happening in life
- Struggling with sexual activity, pornography
- Disrespecting others with our behavior
- What is an area of your life you feel the need to show more self control?
Do you struggle in any of those areas? How would growing in Christ change those areas of self-control? What are some steps you can take to gain control over your impulses?
We all possess valuable resources, whether it's time, money, talents or some combination thereof. With those resources comes the responsibility to manage them well. The wise person knows how to maximize his resources for God's purposes. The unwise person falls into one or more of the following traps:
- Wasting time
- Wasting money
- Wasting talents
- Letting impulsiveness dictate your actions
- Refusing to do your best
- Refusing to serve others
How many of those traps do you fall into? How would growing in Christ change the way you manage your resources? What are some specific ways you can use your time, talents and money more wisely?
Wise people are those who have learned to be content with themselves and their circumstances in life. That doesn't mean they don't have goals and dreams - or that they're not interested in self-improvement. It means they recognize that God has made them who they are, and placed them where they are, for a reason.
Here are some signs that a person is not content with his life:
- A feeling that he needs to perform to meet other's expectations
- A feeling of shame for something he's done or something that's been done to him
- A habit of blaming other people for his problems
- A feeling of desperate
- A sense that his dreams have all come crashing down on him
- Envy over what other people have.
How many of those signs hit close to home with you? How would growing in Christ change your outlook?
In which of the previous seven areas are you currently strong? In which areas are you weak? Remember, the more you grow in Christ, the more you'll improve in all seven areas.
Online commentaries of the 55 Proverbs found in The Wisdom Deck. Subscribe to our mailing list to be notified when they are available!