“Blessed is he one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding” – Proverbs 3:13
Wisdom has to do with how we respond to God’s revelation and it includes understanding. It involves practical decisions and prudent actions in our lives which are in line with what is pleasing to the Lord God.
We need to emphasise that the proper ground for wisdom and understanding for believers is the authority and revelation of Scripture. Tradition should not be dismissed lightly but tradition in the history of the church does not constitute a separate authority from the Scripture; it is helpful in helping the believer to understand what Scripture teaches but it needs to be tested and even corrected by the Bible if it is found to be contradictory. What we acknowledge as authoritative is not necessarily what reason says or even what the church teaches. The church’s teaching should not be lightly ignored as the Holy Spirit has been involved in guiding the church into an understanding of revealed truth over many years. Reason acts as the servant of the written Word and it does play a part in helping the believer to discern the application of Scripture. But the final authority is the Scripture as taught and revealed by the Holy Spirit.
We need to be aware of the danger of so -called “holy hunches”. Bad decisions can be made based on “impressions” and “feelings” masquerading as messages from God. In the matter of guidance from God, “I feel” is a red flag and signals real danger may be forthcoming. Remember that the evil one is a formidable enemy and he is expert in deception and manipulating feelings and impressions. God does sometimes gently nudge His people, especially those who know Him well, and are used to recognise His “voice within”. But this is not the norm and not the starting point to seek guidance from God.
We must not make the mistake into concluding that healthy decision-making is just a matter of thinking what we want to think; it is equally not based on following our feelings. Wisdom and understanding imply that believers must start with the written Word of God which serves in a way as the guidebook from the hand of the Lord. The Word and wisdom are the first two basic resources for good understanding and healthy decision-making.