Ten Characteristics of Wisdom


The author shares his top ten list of wise words for life from the book of Proverbs.

How to walk in godly wisdom, according to the book of Proverbs.

Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings that'll guide you through just about anything life might throw your way. The book is packed with good advice. So, from Proverbs, here's our Top Ten List of wise words for life:

1. Guidance (Proverbs 3:5-6)
 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
This might be the most quoted passage in all of Proverbs; maybe you've memorized it. But wherever you're headed in life, these words will always remind you who directs your steps.

2. Discernment (Proverbs 14:12)
 There is a way that seems right to a man,
but in the end it leads to death.
 Yeah, that verse ends on kind of a downer. But you get the point: Sometimes something seems right, but it might be the wrong choice after all. That's why we've always got to ask God to help us make wise decisions.

3. Confidence (Proverbs 3:25-26) 
Have no fear of sudden disaster
or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
for the Lord will be your confidence 
and will keep your foot from being snared. Finishing high school can be kind of scary. You might not feel as confident as you did before. But remember: "The Lord will be your confidence."

4. Work (Proverbs 6:6-9)
 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.
How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
 When will you get up from your sleep? 
Life lessons from an ant? Yep. Ants might be the hardest-working critters alive. They're always busy, always planning ahead. Being on your own—whether in college or at a full-time job—is hard work. It's tempting to get lazy—especially in college, where it's easy to sleep through those early-morning classes. Mom won't be there to tell you, for the 14th time, to get out of bed; there will be "no commander, no overseer or ruler." You'll have to kick yourself into gear, because nobody else will do it for you.

5. Relationships (Proverbs 12:26)
 A righteous man is cautious in friendship,
 but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
 Here's a great verse on choosing friends wisely. As you begin to develop new friendships after high school, ask God to point you to people who won't lead you astray.

6. Sexual purity (Prov. 6:25-26, 28)
 Do not lust in your heart after her beauty
or let her captivate you with her eyes,
for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread,
and the adulteress preys upon your very life. …
Can a man walk on hot coals
without his feet being scorched?
You might be saying, "Prostitutes and adultery? That doesn't apply to me." But these verses are about much more than that. They're about the strong temptation of sex, a temptation that affects us all. This passage clearly says sex outside of marriage is also outside of God's perfect plan. When we violate that plan, we walk "on hot coals"—and get burned.

7. Money (Proverbs 11:28)
 Whoever trusts in riches will fall,
but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf. 
Whether you're off to college or a job, it's easy to think that money will bring happiness or solve your problems. But the Bible is clear that money doesn't do those things. If you wanna "thrive like a green leaf," pursue righteousness, not riches.

8. Parents (Proverbs 23:22, 25) 
Listen to your father, who gave you life,
and do not despise your mother when she is old. …
May your father and mother be glad;
 may she who gave you birth rejoice! 
It's perfectly natural to want independence—and, ultimately, to break away from Mom and Dad. But don't rush that process. Even when you're on your own, your parents are still your parents and deserve your respect. Do what you can to make them proud and glad you're their kid.

9. Compassion (Proverbs 19:17)
 He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,
and he will reward him for what he has done. 
We all tend to get so caught up in our own lives that we sometimes forget there are hurting people all around us. But God always wants us to share his great love with others. Volunteer with a local ministry. Take short-term mission trips. Make time to reach out and touch someone.

10. The future (Proverbs 23:18)
 There is surely a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.
 You're probably wondering what your future holds. But this verse says you don't have to worry about it: If you follow God, he'll take care of it—and he'll take care of you. Nothing can cut you off from his love. He will carry you through, all the way.

Written by Mark Moring

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