The Best Question
We struggle as Christians to constantly, and consistently, make the right decision. There is often discussion on “how far is too far,” and “is this really a sin,” or “why would God care about this,” along with a myriad of other question we ask regarding our daily behavior. While I would not go so far to presume that those who ask these questions are trying to get away with sin, this can sometimes be the case. Others might ask these questions to try and fit in with the world while still abstaining from sin.
The truth is that all of those are the wrong question. There is one question that, if asked, will guide you to the right answer every single time.
Is this my wisest course of action?
To be clear about this question, we need to define wisdom.
First, we must distinguish between worldly wisdom and God’s wisdom. God is clear that His wisdom, His instructions, His commandments are different from the instructions we will receive from any earthly source. God’s wisdom is not self-seeking, argumentative, unreasonable, or unproductive.
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3.17).
We also find that wisdom, the kind that God gives is pleasant, produces peaceful and pleasant results, and is beneficial.
“Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed” (Proverbs 3.13-18).
We find God’s wisdom begins with an appreciation of who He is, His power, His authority, and His ability to produce fear in His followers. He doesn’t desire us to fear Him, as we know perfect love casts out fear. He desires that we be in such a relationship with Him that we do not need to fear His judgment. But this fear is the beginning of this relationship we will experience with Him.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever” (Psalm 111.10).
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1.7).
Lastly, we must recognize that wisdom comes from experience.
“Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days. ‘With God are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding’” (Job 12.12-13).
One of the most amazing and probably misunderstood aspects of wisdom coming with age, is that the older someone gets, they realize there is always someone more wise than themselves. Wisdom recognizes wisdom. Wise people constantly go to others for advice, wisdom, and learning. The haughty think they know all they need to know. The wise recognize they have more to learn and experience. Wisdom is never complete, just grown.
This is why we are told we should never consider ourselves men and women of wisdom, but continue to be humble men and women of learning.
“Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil” (Proverbs 3.7).
Wise people turn away from evil. They avoid it. They abstain themselves from false pleasures. They abhor that which offends their God.
This is why the best question someone can ask is about the wisdom of their decisions and actions. If they cannot confidently say the decision they are making is indeed the wisest action they could make, or the wisest words they could say, or the wisest thoughts they can think, then they are selling themselves short of making the best decision they can make.
When we constantly live pursuing wisdom, we will grow stronger in our relationships. In our families, men will be stronger fathers and women will be better mothers. Husband will better love their wives and wives will better respect their husbands. In our churches, elders will lead with clearer direction, members will trust and follow their elders, and God will be glorified. In our worship, we will sing and pray with fully attentive hearts. We will hear sermons that challenge us to live better lives, because we will choose listen so we might pursue learning and wisdom. We will choose to take advantage of the teaching opportunities God gives us to share the good news with our neighbors.
Asking a wise question makes wise Christians make wise decisions.