In the Language Arts curriculum for public schools, there’s a recent push toward aligning education with the digital world. The idea is that since students spend so much time online, education should meet them there. Children are encouraged to learn more about social media and other online platforms instead of great works of literature. The reason given is to promote “Media education… and learning practices that increase the relevance of school to society.”
This approach differs from traditional learning standards. Why? It starts with the student’s own experiences and what they already know rather than challenging them by imposing a higher external standard.
In other words, knowledge *begins* and *ends* with the student.
Is this depiction an accurate reflection of genuine learning? Is this how knowledge truly flourishes? In the Christian faith, we acknowledge that God meets us where we are and employs what is familiar to us. While there is a nugget of truth in this perspective, it’s crucial to recognize the stark disparity between the biblical approach to growing in knowledge and wisdom and what is presented in this example of contemporary English Departments within public schools.
There is a radical difference. To begin with, attaining genuine wisdom and growing in Christ does not originate with us—we are not the starting point. What’s so bad about making ourselves the starting point for wisdom?
Well, so far from being a picture of wisdom, the Bible presents a clear and literal definition of foolishness this way: foolishness begins and ends with ourselves.
A consistent theme emerges in the Book of Proverbs—contrasting wisdom and foolishness. Proverbs 7, for instance, says, “Stay away from a fool for you will not find knowledge on their lips.” This clearly indicates that without wisdom, what prevails is not neutrality but rather foolishness.
Here’s a specific list of how a fool thinks and acts:
- A fool starts fights. (Proverbs 18:6)
- A fool is easily upset. (Proverbs 12:16)
- A fool believes everything he reads. (Proverbs 14:15)
- A fool loves to talk but hates to listen. (Proverbs 18:2)
- A fool is fiercely independent. (Proverbs 28:26)
- A fool makes light of sin. (Proverbs 10:23)
- A fool hates their mama. (Proverbs 15:20)
Does this describe anyone you know? Maybe yourself at times?… Or all the time?
Indeed, God desires us to move beyond foolishness and cultivate a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90 encapsulates this yearning, pleading, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” As Christians, we should long to navigate challenges with strength and grace, extend kindness instead of harboring petty condemnation, listen earnestly instead of incessantly talking, and humbly submit both to others when necessary and, crucially, to God.
The question then arises: How do we truly live out the wisdom that God desires for us?
Pursuing wisdom is undeniably challenging; it’s hard work. If the Christian faith were too easy, we might remain comfortable in our self-serving attitudes.
How Do You Gain a Heart of Wisdom?
The starting point for wisdom is crucial—it begins with the fear of God. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
It’s essential to observe a couple of key points in this regard:
- First, wisdom neither starts nor ends with self, as exemplified earlier. True wisdom finds its starting point outside of oneself. It can begin only with God.
- Second, wisdom’s inception is marked by fear. Every form of knowledge begins with the fear of something. Just as true learning starts with the fear of God, we can conclude that foolishness begins with the fear of man.
The concept of “fearing God” may initially confuse some Christians. However, it’s crucial to understand that the fear of God is not a dreadful fear akin to the fear of an abuser or tyrant. Otherwise, God’s command: “Fear not,” wouldn’t be a recurring theme in the Bible. Think of it like the awe you feel when gazing at the universe or in the silence of a great cathedral.
In our prevailing culture, “self-love” reigns as the supreme value, influencing the belief that our identities, understanding, and life’s purpose revolve solely around ourselves. Even children’s stories often encourage looking inward, suggesting that true strength lies within your heart.
However, the Bible contradicts this narrative, teaching the opposite. As we begin 2024, consider the biblical perspective: teach yourself to gain a heart of wisdom. For additional insights, explore our website at Dream City Church.