Welcome to the beginning of another new year.
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably already formulated a New Year’s Resolution and you’re now on week two-ish? of living out the changes you promised you’d make that were sure to improve your life. Am I right?
For many people, goals for the new year probably include things like eating better, getting more exercise, getting more organized, getting more rest — and doing more of whatever it is that they slacked on during the year before.
For others, especially those in the faith, new year goals may include things like praying more, listening more, getting back on track in their walk with the Lord, and things of that nature.
All of these things are good things. Great things, in fact! But can I suggest a goal that isn’t quite as popular, but will help in every single one of the areas I mentioned above?
Growing in godly wisdom.
Not just wisdom, but godly wisdom.
Traditional wisdom is valuable knowledge that we acquire through time and experience. I’m sure we can all think of people in our lives who have a lot of traditional wisdom and are very wise about things that can help us in practical ways. While traditional wisdom is a good thing to have and it can definitely help us in the physical realm, only godly wisdom can help us in every realm.
Contrary to popular belief, godly wisdom does not just “come with age” or come through life experiences. There are a lot of people who have claimed to be Christians for a long period of time who are neither godly nor wise when it comes to handling things spiritually. And the reason for this is simply because they’ve spent little to no time in God’s Word.
Sure, they may know the basics, but knowing the basics in any subject doesn’t exactly grant a person the status of being “wise” in all things pertaining to that subject.
For example, my youngest daughter, who just started kindergarten this year, knows the basics of reading. She picked it up fairly quickly and does pretty well for a 6-year-old. She even tested higher than 99% of her peers in that subject. I’m really proud of her, but would I consider her “wise” in all things pertaining to reading? Not by a longshot.
Now, let’s say she decided that she “knew what she needed to know” and she never stepped foot into another classroom again. Regardless of how old she gets, if she never grows in her reading knowledge and skill, there’d be no way for her to truly excel in understanding and using the written English language properly — much less be labeled as “wise” in that area.
The same thing is true for every follower of Jesus Christ when it comes to being wise in all things pertaining to our faith and our walk with God.
The only way one can grow in godly wisdom is by knowing and living out the Holy Word of God.
We grow wiser, spiritually, by putting into practice what we read and learn in the Bible.
And that takes time. It takes commitment. It takes consistency.
Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts or “easy” buttons to press that will give us instantaneous results. If we want godly wisdom, simply put — we must spend time with God in His Word. Every day. And not just reading the verse of the day, but spending REAL time learning and growing in our faith and understanding.
Knowing the basics of Christianity will not be enough to help us get through this life and accomplish all the things God has created us to accomplish. We’ve got to dig deeper.
If you don’t know where to begin, I would encourage you to just pick a book of the Bible and start reading it. If you’re not even sure which book of the Bible to start in, the New Testament is always a good place to start for beginners. So are the books of Proverbs or Psalms. Start by reading a chapter a day. And before you start, just ask God to speak to you through His Word and to show you anything He wants you to learn.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned through my own quest for godly wisdom, it’s this: God has always been good at meeting His people right where they’re at and He will tell you exactly what He wants you to know. Your job is simply to continue seeking Him and stay consistent in reading His Word.
The more consistently we do these things, the more godly wisdom we will gain.
One thing we must be mindful of, though, is that we’re not just reading the Bible for the sake of reading it.
If we approach reading the Bible as informational rather than transformational, that’s all it will ever be to us—information.
God’s Word isn’t meant to be information that we store in our heads. No, my friends — it’s information that’s meant to transform us. It’s meant to shape us and mold us into godly people who reflect Christ and who live the way God wants us to live.
If we view the Bible as transformational and we use it as a tool to chisel away anything in our lives that doesn’t honor or reflect Christ, that’s exactly what it will do for us. And not just for this new year, but for eternity.
In 2 Timothy 3:14-17 NKJV, Paul reminds Timothy of the importance of staying in God’s Word and it’s just as important for us to remember today. It says this:
“You must continue in what you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned it, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed, and is useful for teaching, for rebuking, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the servant of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
We can’t expect to be spiritually wise without first absorbing the godly wisdom that has already been recorded for us on the pages of Scripture.
And as this passage also states, we can’t be complete or thoroughly equipped to carry out our purpose on this earth — this year or any year — without first taking the time to learn and practice the truths that God has left for us in His Word.
If you’ve been struggling with staying in God’s Word and with growing in godly wisdom, let me encourage you to take the fresh start of this new year and just dig in! It doesn’t matter where you start — just START.
And then, keep learning and living out what you’ve learned a little more each and every day.
I can guarantee that when you do this, not only will you grow in godly wisdom, but you’ll grow to love the Word of God. And in loving the Word of God, you’ll grow to love the One who wrote it.
Featured Image by Nathan Dumlao