Life-Giving Wisdom


Life-giving leaders are wise and fear the Lord. Life-taking leaders are fools who live in fear of others not looking to them for wisdom.


The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

— Proverbs 9:10


Fear and wisdom may seem like unlikely companions. Solomon and I would beg to differ. The convergence of these two things has happened in my life many times. The Lord has been showing me in those moments that I have a shallow understanding of them. Several years ago, I had to make a very big decision in terms of the direction of Women’s Ministry in the Presbyterian Church in America. Perhaps you have been told like me, “change is hard” or “I don’t like change” by others in your life. I knew this decision would indeed require change and the change would be hard but, in the end, change would be good. 

My first default in making the decision was “what will people think and I wonder if they will still like me” if I make this decision. Those thoughts have a name, they are the twin idols called the fear of failure and the fear of man. I know these idols well because I have served them often. Forsaking them left me in a puddle of tears,, but in the wetness, a greater fear overtook me—the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is not a scary thing but rather fearing to do or say something that will keep me from fulfilling my purpose—to glorify and enjoy God. It is in fearing the prospect of losing something precious such as my joy and satisfaction in Jesus. The more I lean into this fear, the greater the sense of awe and respect for the majesty and glory of God. Wisdom is at the crux of the issue. Will I fear man or will I fear God? The rest of the story is, I made the unpopular decision and a few people got upset, but my gift was as I feared the Lord and grew in my joy in Him, I began to understand wisdom a little bit better.  

Life-giving leaders are wise and fear the Lord. Life-taking leaders are fools who live in fear of others not looking to them for wisdom. Solomon paints their portraits in the book of Proverbs. The wise man is someone who knows they are foolish in their sin and desperately need wisdom. The fool despises wisdom because they already perceive they are wise. One of my hero leaders, Charles Haddon Spurgeon (we named our son after him) said this, “Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.” What Spurgeon is alluding to is that for many of us there is a gap between knowledge acquired and knowledge applied. True wisdom is knowledge applied. We have the facts but we don’t know how to apply them in life. Wisdom is the hinge that connects the glory in our hearts to the work of our hands. Wisdom is the wonderful ability to see a person and situation from God’s perspective and with His heart and to know what needs to be done. 




Lord, You tell us when we need help to come to You and ask, seek and knock. So today I ask You to help me to fear You above all else. I seek Your wisdom in my life and ask for faith to walk in Your will. I knock on Your door to build my relationship with You in such a way that the knowledge You reveal to me may become a reality in my life. 

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