Is it possible that as worldly knowledge increases, wisdom decreases? Humanity has accomplished much and has many clever sayings, such as “knowledge is power.” But it’s a spiritual paradox of sorts.
Let’s consider Scripture. Standing amidst an assortment of pagan altars, Paul stood up at Mars Hill and said: “Men of Athens, I see how very religious you are in every way” (Acts 17:22). Paul spoke to them at their spiritual level. He didn’t look down his nose and walk away. He didn’t say, “Your idols are outrageous and need to be destroyed.”
He may have screened his thoughts and practiced diplomacy. Paul found a way to tell them some good news about his merciful, all-powerful God, using a sliver of wisdom he found among these knowledgeable Athenians: “I found an altar where you worship with the words written on it, TO THE GOD WHO IS NOT KNOWN. You are worshiping Him without knowing Him. He is the One I will tell you about” (Acts 17:22-23).
Wisdom can be found anywhere God chooses, whether we hear it or not: “Wisdom cries out in the street; she utters her voice in the markets” (Proverbs 1:20). We may cry out in prayer for understanding and seek it as treasure, but Scripture cautions about misplacing our focus on knowledge: “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2).
God’s Word offers direction for the times we lose our way on the road of wisdom: “What does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8). Communication and signs are navigation tools. Ask for wisdom and observe the fruit borne from that request. “Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly” (Proverbs 3:18).
Connecting the dots on this spiritual treasure-seeking quest will help us stay on target for the heavenly wisdom of James 3:17 and our true, living God.