Embracing the Theology of Wisdom

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Proverbs Transcripts

The following is the final adapted transcript from one of Ken’s teaching series on the book of Proverbs. He also walks through this transcript in his latest Wisdom series.


As we tie things together in this Proverbs series, I want to talk a bit about the theology behind the book of Proverbs—that is to say, what is the theology of wisdom. If we take a look at this book, we discover that godly parents exhort their children to embrace wisdom—and that wisdom is God’s plan to transform a dead chaos into a living cosmos.

It was through this same wisdom that God created, shaped, and populated the macrocosm, the biosphere, and the microcosm. By wisdom, God was able to transform matter into life and chaos into beauty. And even though we sojourn in a fallen world, we are immersed in exquisite design.

Proverbs also informs us that, in the same way He created and shaped the universe, God can take us—and our own chaos and unruliness—and order and make us something meaningful and profound. We were dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1), without God and without hope in the world. Embedded in a fallen world, we are in need of redemption. And the One who said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3)1 is also the One who says to our darkened hearts, “Let there be light, life, and love.” His desire for us is that there be a moral path, a light that we can willingly follow. As we consider this, we discover that this moral path is achieved by surrendering and submitting ourselves to God and His claims on our lives as our Creator and our Redeemer.

The Source of Wisdom

Wisdom is a very relational term; it is not a list of aphorisms as in Poor Richard’s Almanac. It is richer than that and related to the boundless wellspring of wisdom—and the source of that, in the wisdom literature, is God Himself, in His character, His attributes, and His perfections. This is not something that comes from human aspirations.

If we consider the source of wisdom just briefly, we can look at it this way: If we had a grid, and in this grid we had “works” on the left side and “grace” on the right side, then on the vertical axis—wisdom—we would see success in human activities at the bottom. As we moved up the axis we would see an ever-growing understanding of God’s law, God’s Word, and God’s commands. We might describe moving further up this value scale as entering into a relationship with—or becoming aware of—the source of that wisdom, which is Jesus Christ. In other words, we would find an increasing personal encounter with the living God. Ultimately, at the top of the value scale would be a continuing and intimate experience with God and His wisdom

If we look at this scale, or grid, in that manner, we discover a couple of things. First, we discover that the object of wisdom can be varied—wisdom about relationships, wisdom about work, wisdom about money, wisdom about character, and wisdom about speech. All those are areas we can discuss as being arenas of wisdom. But what is the source of wisdom? If we are looking at the left side of this grid—the “works” side—we discover that the source of wisdom would be anthropomorphic—it would come from ourselves; whereas, if we move toward the “grace” side we discover that wisdom is theocentric; it is something that is a gift from God, and we discover that true wisdom is not something we can just invent or auto-generate.

Two Types of Wisdom

Looking ahead to the wisdom literature of the New Testament, consider the epistle of James. There is a rich contrast between two sources of wisdom in James 3:13–18. One is a source of wisdom that is works oriented and anthropocentric—it is man-centered. The other source of wisdom is grace-centered—it is divine in its nature and orientation. James contrasts these by saying that one is earthly, while the other is divine. “Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth” (James 3:13–14). Now we approach his contrast: “This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic” (v. 15). In other words, this is the kind of wisdom the world tells us to pursue. James continues, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing” (v. 16). This is a wisdom that promotes shrewdness, caginess, and manipulation. By contrast, James adds, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (v. 17–18).

The contrast there sounds a lot more like the fruit of the Spirit than human devices and desires (see Galatians 5:22–23). Both the Old and the New Testaments recognize that there are sources of wisdom that could be attained without any reference to God Himself, but the texts argue that those sources of wisdom can only carry us so far. There is an attempt by many people to somehow try to reach up to God—climbing up the value scale on our grid—by applying their own works. But it is the height of folly and arrogance to suppose that we can attain through our own efforts the things that only God can provide for us. On the other hand, if we seek to rise on the grace side of the chart, we are given the capacity to transcend the works side. One path involves attaining divine qualities on our own, while the other involves growing in Christlikeness and righteousness, and is accomplished by God’s grace.

It is the height of folly and arrogance to suppose that we can attain through our own efforts the things that only God can provide for us.

In India, the Bodhi tree is the tree under which Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment. Even now, in the ruins of that site, it is worshipped by thousands of people who go there. I think this tree is very instructive. To me it symbolizes our attempts to reach up to God. The Bodhi tree is to Buddhists what the cross is to followers of Jesus—the cross is another object, also of wood, but in this case, it represents God reaching down to us. I cannot stress the difference too starkly. In one we are trying to reach up and attain God on our own terms, but in the other we see God reaching down and closing the gap between ourselves and Him.

This is the uniqueness of the Hebrew-Christian vision—the uniqueness of Scripture that portrays a God who is seeking us—in contrast to our faltering attempts, if any, to seek Him. The only God we will seek is a god of our own imagination; a god we can control and manipulate. We seek a “god” who will do what we want him to do. But the God of Scripture is a transcendent Being who is totally different from a god of those imaginings. Instead of a human projection, He is totally different, totally transcendent, and wholly other than what we would have thought Him to be. He goes beyond what we could imagine, and because of His grace, the infinite and transcendent God takes on human flesh and becomes utterly immanent—close to us—and fully involved in the human condition. Yeshua HaMashiach becomes for us the expression of the fulfillment and the embodiment of all that wisdom is supposed to look like. He is the perfect man—the ideal picture of what God wants us to be. And though the image of God in us has been distorted, we look to Jesus to see what humanity was meant to be like.

The marvelous truth in Scripture is this: that God’s intention is for every one of His children to trust in Him, abandoning efforts to attain Him on their own terms so that Christ enters into us and begins a process of gradual transformation from the inside out. God’s intention for all His children is that we ultimately become conformed to His image—the image of His Son Jesus Christ. And He won’t stop until that is achieved. That image will not be perfected in this world because no one can attain that level of sinless perfection and Christlike character on their own. Nevertheless, there is a process of growth that continues to move us ever more closely to Christlike character and ever more into conformity with God’s expectations, desires, and purposes for our lives, which really exceed our own expectation and imagination for ourselves. What God has in mind for you is a far greater vision than whatever you had for yourself. You and I would have settled for things far lower than what God has in mind.

That is why the process of suffering goes contrary to our own desires, because it is precisely through the use of suffering that God forges Christlike character in us. He uses adversity, because if we had our own desires, we would only go through circumstances the way we want; everything would go our way. Suppose God would allow you, once you have come to Christ, to have everything go your way. Suddenly, all your prayers are answered—when you want them, how you want them, and exactly the way you would like them to be. What do you suppose your life would be like? Stop and think about that for a moment. You would be full of arrogance. In fact, you would come to look at God as some kind of cosmic vending machine—you do your part right, and God is obligated to do His part. Not only that, you would become totally independent, and secretly think, “Who needs God?” Furthermore, you wouldn’t grow in character.


Want to learn more about how God transmutes the lead of suffering into the gold of glory? Read Ken Boa and Jenny Abel’s Shaped by Suffering.


Be honest about it—have you ever really grown from your successes? Isn’t it through your failures that you discover real courage and character and patience and fortitude—all those qualities we so admire in people? In the end, you would also be destroyed; destroyed because you would not have a clue as to what your best interests look like. There is that song, “Thank God for Unanswered Prayers” by Garth Brooks, which always come to mind here. The fact is that there are many prayers you are better off not having answered—in your time and in your way. True wisdom comes only through the process where God lifts us beyond our own expectations and brings us beyond the things we would have chosen for ourselves. Heaven will be like that—a far better destiny than we would have dreamed or imagined.

Transformed in the Details of Life

To transform us from death into life, we must be reconciled; we have to be brought close to God. Proverbs 1–9 underscores the need of transgenerational wisdom imparted through the teaching and example of parents. The proverbs of the kings and sages in the rest of the book provide the pithy and easily memorized maxims, and they set forth God’s fundamental spiritual principles about what life is intended to be like. The book of Proverbs is designed to encourage the covenant community to embrace wisdom. It causes us to see that wisdom is something very specific to our needs. This is why we must approach the proverbs topically. They are also not meant to be read all at once—it is better to layer them, line upon line, and precept upon precept, and then meditate upon them.

God’s Purpose in Our Lives

The contents of wisdom—both in Proverbs and the wisdom literature—focus on the details of life that are too specific to be touched upon by the Law itself, or even by the prophets, who spoke in broad strokes. They are concerned with humanity in general and with the wise person in detail—especially in the areas of character, speech, domestic life, neighbors, friends, and money. Something I think it is helpful for us to keep in mind is what Proverbs can help us to do, in terms of specifics: God has a specific purpose for our lives. If we were to look at obtaining wisdom in our lives this way—through God’s purpose—we discover that wisdom is something gradually revealed; we do not get it all at once.

There is a universal purpose for all Christians, and that purpose is the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. The Great Commandment is to love your God with all your mind, heart, soul, and strength; and to love your neighbor as yourself (see Matthew 22:37–40). And the Great Commission, which has to do with manifesting the love of Christ in relationships, involves evangelism and discipleship in the spheres of influence that you have (see Matthew 28:18–20). I don’t mean confrontational evangelism, but I do mean relational evangelism—building relationships and becoming salt and light in this world.

I see the Great Commandment as the bow and the Great Commission as the arrow that fits the Great Commandment. If you love your neighbor as yourself, then you will seek your neighbor’s highest good. And your neighbor’s highest good (though they may not know it)—is to come to know God, which entails evangelism. And if they do know Christ, the goal is to come to know Him better and become more like Him, which is edification. So, evangelism and discipleship are arrows that you use in the bow of the Great Commandment.

In addition to the universal purpose God has established for all believers, God also has some unique purposes for each of us. That is something you have to process and pray about and think about, even seeking counsel from other people. You must ask God, in light of your unique opportunities, your gifts, your education, your temperament, what kind of specific purpose can you fulfill. We all have a finite purpose, and we cannot meet every need; not every need we encounter is a call from God in our lives. But there are some needs we can discern that we are called to embrace.

You must ask God, in light of your unique opportunities, your gifts, your education, your temperament, what kind of specific purpose can you fulfill.

Developing Convictions

Having spoken about God’s purpose for your life, there are some absolutes in Scripture, and these absolutes—positive and negative—are things that really have to do with boundaries. If you go beyond those boundaries you are in clear violation of God’s ways and Word. We must be wise enough not to live at the edge of those boundaries. There are some people who simply want to live as close to the edge of the boundary lines as possible, and that is unwise.

Proverbs helps us here because it helps us forge certain convictions. Convictions are designed to provide a buffer zone, to give us some kind of a hedge. But these convictions are not commandments in Scripture; these are things we resolve between ourselves and God—and they can change because they are not absolutes. As you pray about specific areas, you realize there is a need to navigate with certain convictions to help you move in the direction God wants you to go. You then build these around your understanding of your unique purpose so you go in God’s direction and ways.

Now, some people need a bigger buffer in certain areas. For some it might be sexual temptation, and for others it might be financial temptations. It is very wise for us to embrace God’s purpose for our life, and to move in that direction we have to be wise enough to have certain buffer zones. Proverbs helps us to discover these kinds of convictions.

In our lives, there are certain commandments that are very clear, but there are convictions we might embrace that are resolved between ourselves and God. For example, a conviction might be how much time we spend in Scripture, or in prayer, or when we are going to do either one or both. It also might relate to your attitude toward other people. Daniel, for example, had a conviction to pray three times a day, but there is no text in the Mosaic Law commanding a person to do so. Importantly, when his convictions were tested, he did not change the rules. Once you are tempted, you can’t say, “Let’s renegotiate.” By the way, the danger of convictions, because they are not in Scripture, is that you might impose them on someone else. We are not dealing with commandments—only personal convictions.

Proverbs, then, can help us to define convictions relating to our integrity and to our character. This wisdom expresses God’s sublime attributes: His absolute righteousness, His justice, His equity, and His faithfulness. We discover something about His truth. All of these things, then, we are called to pursue: God’s perfections include His moral, ethical, faithful, loving, and true character. He wants us to be and live that way.

It is my argument, then, that the more you become like Christ, the more your joy increases; the greater your liberty increases, and the greater your freedom extends. True freedom, according to Scripture, isn’t doing what you please; true freedom is to do as God pleases. And what He pleases is always ultimately better than what we would be pleased to do.

True freedom, according to Scripture, isn’t doing what you please; true freedom is to do as God pleases.

Growing in the Knowledge of God

I often notice when we are talking about the wisdom of the Lord that there is a clear, reciprocal relationship between knowing God and moving in the direction of wisdom. Turning to the Lord first is the beginning of wisdom (see Proverbs 9:10). But, at the same time, Proverbs tells us that if one accepts the wisdom that comes from God, it will lead to an even greater knowledge of the Lord. The more you embrace God’s wisdom, the more you will come to know Him. If you have a proper belief, it will move you and affect your behavior. At the same time, if you have the right behavior, it will move you toward the area of correct thinking. Attitudes and actions, then, are reciprocal in that regard. This is a way of looking, a perspective, that we are called to embrace in a world that offers us a radically different alternative.

You will notice that the nine chapters that precede the proverbs themselves continually rehearse two invitations, or two offers, that are made in public to a person passing by. One is the invitation to folly, and the other is an invitation to wisdom. These represent two philosophies, two value systems, and two mindsets that are constantly in rivalry with one another—the divine and the demonic. And you will be constantly pulled, in the world system, to embrace the earthly and the natural, in contrast to that which transcends the earth and is supernatural.

The danger we are going to have walking in this world is that it is visible, which naturally seems more real to us, and it can overcome the invisible in our minds. In addition, we are wired to pursue control, and we want to be able to measure, to count, and to manipulate. God says you can’t do any of that; you are going to have to trust Him, in a relational way, for all of this. But that trust is based upon what He has already done for us in Christ.

The relationship of wisdom to the Lord Jesus Christ is that He is wisdom incarnate. He is the One who personifies wisdom—and more. He personalizes God’s wisdom, and He humanizes it as well. Jesus puts a face to infinity and eternity. He presents the good life in a way that we can see. So, if you want to know about wisdom, if you want to know about character, and if you want to know about God’s real desires for your life, look at how it is incarnated in Christ. Look at His dialogues, notice how He responds to various kinds of people and their situations. Study how He responds to people who are trying to trip Him up—as opposed to the way He responds to those who are trying to seek Him without any hidden agenda. He is the perfect incarnation to the maxim He Himself gave: to “be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). You see in Jesus the One who knows the heart of man and doesn’t entrust Himself to that (John 2:24–25); but at the same time He is not cynical and continues to serve and to love, in spite of the fact that people are often being duplicitous.

God’s Sovereignty

Let me now pull out three verses, as we consider God and His character, and the sovereignty of God behind all that is wisdom.

1. In Proverbs 19:21 we read, “Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the Lord will stand.” Note the contrast between “many plans” and “the counsel.” Many are the plans of people, but God has one counsel. Our counsel is always tentative and temporary, in contrast to the unity and permanence of God’s plan. What we plan often lacks realization. But God’s plans will always be accomplished, in spite of attempts to hinder them, because they are certain. In other words, all is clear above, but it is cloudy below. All things are ultimately a part of His sovereign plan, and because of that foundational truth, wisdom tells us to align ourselves with that which will last. If we orient ourselves around our own plans—independent of God—they will ultimately not be established. You may establish them on a short-term basis, but in the long run, they will let you down.

All things are ultimately a part of [God’s] sovereign plan, and because of that foundational truth, wisdom tells us to align ourselves with that which will last.

2. Proverbs 21:30 affirms, “There is no wisdom and no understanding and no counsel against the Lord.” God desires that we desire His plan because it is holy and good; it is the best thing for us. He invites us to receive it; but just as Israel as a nation and as people rejected the offer, we have the same options for our lives now. We can submit to His desires or we can resist them. The more we resist God’s plans, the more we harden ourselves to God working in our lives. It is easy, for example, for us to sear our consciences and become more and more hardened and callous—and less capable of listening to the convicting Spirit of God.

One of the things that marks a believer from an unbeliever is this: The next time you catch yourself doing something that is a direct violation of God’s commands—and you know it—note well if you become convicted about it. Are you able to do it with impunity, with no sense of conviction? If you can continue to act in disobedience to what you know is God’s mandate, you must seriously question whether you have the Spirit of God in you. If you find yourself continually engaging in areas that you know are disobedient to Scripture, and you lack repentance, Scripture indicates that you have no real basis for having any sense of assurance at that time.

The experience of assurance is based upon obedience and responsiveness to God’s Word. These are patterns that are critical for us to take into account, because they are not trivial issues. In 2 Corinthians 13:5–6, Paul writes, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test.” The point here is that we need to be sure that Christ is personal in our life. Are we playing games? Do we really trust in Him? Do we just believe about Him, or are we really surrendering our lives and putting our trust and hope in Him and in Him alone?

3. Proverbs 21:31 assures us: “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord.” Apart from God’s activity, there will not be victory. Our confidence must be in the sovereign Lord and not in our own human means and endeavors. Even if we have a great army, if we put our confidence in our own endeavors rather than God’s, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. Again and again, we see this in the lives of various individuals in Israel’s history as well as in the nation of Israel as a whole.

Understanding Humanity

Concerning humanity in general, Proverbs teaches us that all of us receive our biological life from God. And since God is our Creator, all of us have both value and dignity. Proverbs does not embrace any social-strata mindset that would tell us that some people have less worth and dignity than others because of occupation, or because of race, or because of birth. The things that we amplify into big concerns, the Scriptures say are not issues at all.

The highest pleasure of wisdom, as we see in Proverbs 8, was in the creation of humanity. Wisdom delighted in that moment—and we are the climax of God’s creation. We have a moral and rational nature that was created in the imago Dei; but all of us must realize that there is something in us that is now distorted and that we continually have a way of deluding ourselves. We are experts at rationalizing our own position and own viewpoints. Part of our fallenness is that we justify our disobedience and our autonomous choices. As a result, we need an objective body of revelation by which we can judge our lives. Ultimately, we must realize that while we may deceive ourselves, we cannot hide our character; it will finally come out.

Proverbs 27:19 tells us, “As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects man.” The fact is that our character will come out, and God observes all. So, the focal point of Proverbs is that while we have this tremendous dignity, there is something in us that is distorted because of the Fall. There is something in each of us that we inherit that is fundamentally in opposition to God and His ways. There is a need, therefore, for us to return, to receive, and to embrace God’s light, life, and love.

We all live under the sovereign will of God as the moral governor of the universe. There is no human being outside the matrix of the womb of God’s will.

Individuality and Community

We also discover in Proverbs that each of us is an individual—a solitary being—who experiences joy and sorrow.

One facet of Proverbs focuses on our individuality while another focuses on our community. As individuals, Proverbs 14:10 tells us that “The heart knows its own bitterness, and a stranger does not share its joy.” There is something about us where we cannot fully enter into another’s life. We can move fairly close to that from time to time, but even in the most intimate of unions there is still going to a component in each of us that will be separate and individual, and that only God Himself will know. The final occurrence of that is the moment of death when we are alone with God. We say our goodbyes—if we are able—and finally, if we are believers, we turn our thoughts to God Himself.

Proverbs also stresses, however, that we are humans in community. As individuals we need time to be alone with God. We need to order our path so that we nurture that personal walk with Him. As individuals who are part of a community, we also need to realize that the body of Christ helps us to sharpen one another, as we see in Proverbs 27:17, and to keep each other accountable. Accountability and the encouragement of one another are extraordinarily important. You cannot grow completely in the spiritual realm in isolation. We desperately need community.

The beauty of the biblical ethic is that it is always other-centered. The ethics that we come up with, apart from divine revelation, turn out to be self-centered. We may do things for others, but it always falls back upon the self to enhance our position. The biblical ethic says you can be other-centered, even to the point of personal sacrifice, even a kind of voluntary kenosis (emptying of oneself). And the reason you can do that is that God is the One who will ultimately provide your needs—not other people. He may mediate your needs through people, but He is the One to whom you must look.

God is the One who will ultimately provide your needs—not other people. He may mediate your needs through people, but He is the One to whom you must look.

Consequently, you are in a position where you can love and serve other people even when it is not reciprocated. The rejection we may sometimes experience, though painful, need not destroy followers of Christ because their deepest identity and purpose is in Him. If our security were based upon perfect acceptance by other people, we would be very insecure indeed. People always have a way of letting us down—and we let other people down. But, there is One who will cling to you, and it is the Lord Himself.

Wisdom in Relationships

As we move to focus on the character of the wise in particular, one of the areas of importance is the relationship to one’s family. In particular, Proverbs focuses on the wise person and the spouse that God has given him or her. The wise person realizes that a good spouse is from the Lord. In 18:22 we see: “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” Then in 19:14 we also read, “House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.” This is a rich portrait of how a wise man sees a wife as a crowning glory. In Proverbs 12:4 we see: “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones.”

The Virtuous Woman

We now want to look at the marvelous acrostic of moral qualities that appear in Proverbs 31:10–31. An acrostic is a poem that moves through each letter of the alphabet, so that each line begins with the next letter. This chapter, this hymn of praise, is a marvelous description of a woman, and we discover in this person that she really personifies wisdom itself. Just as chapters 1–9 of Proverbs closes with the woman of folly, the book of Proverbs ends with this poem of the woman of virtue.

As you read this, you discover that the good wife is the very embodiment of wisdom. We must be realistic and realize that this is an ideal; if you try comparing yourself to this ideal, it might appear pretty disheartening. However, the poem seems to relate to the progressiveness in the woman’s life as well—the time before she had children, the time she had children, and the times afterwards—it represents the wholeness of one’s life. Again, these are ideal pictures, and we all experience distortion because of sin. But the wonderful thing about the Scriptures is that they take into account where we are now. If we apply these truths and exhortations over the years and decades, we will gradually move in that direction. Wherever we are, we are to retain a wise and growing relationship through the revelations we have received.

Children

As to children, the wise understand the doctrine of human depravity and know that their children are innately foolish. Proverbs 22:15 makes this very clear: “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him.” Children are self-centered; they don’t understand that love is really giving themselves to another. By the time kids really appreciate what their parents have done for them, they often have children themselves. Consequently, finding a humble teenager is a very rare event.

But the wise man realizes that children can be trained, as we observe in Proverbs 19:18. “Discipline your son while there is hope, and do not desire his death.” Then in 22:6 we see: “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” In other words, the goal is to cultivate, or create, a taste for wisdom in each child, and train them according to their unique ways. If you cultivate a taste for wisdom in them, they will ultimately embrace that wisdom. On the other side of the coin, there should never be a lashing out in anger or an abusive spirit toward your children, which will not help them love wisdom.

A wise man realizes that this discipline is also beneficial to himself, as we see in 10:1: “A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish son is a grief to his mother.”

Friends and Neighbors

Here are just a few encapsulations on a wise man’s relationships with his friends and neighbors. We learn that if you owe something to your neighbor, you should pay him immediately. You should strive for peace and help your neighbor. You should not associate with fools and become like them. And you should not overstay your welcome, as we observe in Proverbs 25:17: “Let your foot rarely be in your neighbor’s house, or he will become weary of you and hate you.” It was Benjamin Franklin who noted, “Guests like fish, begin to smell after three days.”

Concerning true friends, we read in 27:10 that, “Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend, and do not go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity; better is a neighbor who is near than a brother far away.” But Proverbs 18:24 warns us: “A man of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” The idea here is that it is better to have a few true friends than many false friends. Unfortunately, what a lot of people call friends are merely acquaintances. There are only a handful of deep and abiding friendships that one can have.

When you do have such a friend, you are constant to that friend. In Proverbs 17:17 we see: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” That level of friendship is to be treasured and valued. A friend will be candid and love you enough to tell you the truth.

A Final Prayer

My prayer is that you become a person who grows in the direction of dependence, not autonomy. If you want to summarize wisdom, it is radical dependence upon God. In all your ways, acknowledge Him.

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Footnotes

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the NASB 1995.