In Pursuit Of Wisdom
By sis Sara Ong
In this present day and age with its constant winds of change, we find more and more that we can’t afford to not keep up with the times. Hence, over the course of our lives, depending on our priorities at each juncture, we occupy ourselves with the pursuit of something that we perceive will be for the betterment of ourselves, our lives, and the lives of those dear to us. As youth, platonic friendships and academic excellence are common pursuits. As we mature, our aspirations organically evolve to other matters ranging from marriage, scaling up the corporate ladder, raising children, nurturing physical and mental wellness to securing financial independence. In fact, there are countless self-help books dedicated to the theme of pursuits such as “The Pursuit of Perfect”, “The Pursuit of Endurance” and “In Pursuit of Excellence”, just to name a few. Movie buffs may even recall a film about the rags-to-riches saga of a homeless father who takes custody of his son as he is poised to embark on a life-changing career, that was centred on “The Pursuit of Happyness”, which is based on the memoir of Chris Gardner.
The various pursuits mentioned in the first paragraph, namely perfection, endurance, excellence and happiness are in and of themselves desirable things we can all endeavour to achieve. But as Christians, are there specific things that we should be in pursuit of? Things that will meaningfully direct our lives to serve God’s will and purpose? The answer to these two questions is an unequivocal yes. For the purpose of this article, I will only be focusing on one spiritual pursuit even though the Bible contains many others.
In identifying a particular pursuit to adopt, I considered the wisest character in the Bible, King Solomon. When young Solomon was anointed King of Israel, he asked for “an understanding heart to judge (the) people, that (he) may discern between good and bad”. Because he sought wisdom (“understanding heart”) over longevity, wealth, and the lives of his enemies, God blessed him abundantly to be the wisest and richest King of all time (1 Kings 3:9-13). In Proverbs 2:4, we are also encouraged to seek and search for wisdom as for hidden treasure. Similarly, in Proverbs 3:15, wisdom is comparatively “more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto (it).”
By definition, wisdom is the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement. In Proverbs 2, “knowledge and understanding” equates to wisdom; more specifically, spiritual wisdom in “understand(ing) the fear of the LORD, and find(ing) the knowledge of God.” This godly wisdom is likened to a precious and invaluable commodity that we should be in pursuit of, as described in Proverbs 2:4 and 3:15.
Unlike King Solomon, we don’t need wisdom to govern a kingdom well, so how will pursuing wisdom be needful for us Christians in today’s context? In Proverbs 2:10-22, we learn that when we set our life’s purpose and direction to seek God’s wisdom,
“discretion shall preserve (us), understanding shall keep (us): To deliver (us) from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;” so that we may “walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous”.
Put simply, as Christians, if we devote ourselves to the pursuit of godly wisdom, we will be able to safely guard ourselves against potential derailers of our faith that could present itself in the form of worldly temptations, material distractions, false teachings, unsavoury influences and unrighteous conduct. A noteworthy point is that in order for us to attain wisdom, we must first seek and search for it. Seek and search are both verbs indicating that we need to be proactive and self-driven in our quest to acquire wisdom.
And finally, how do we pursue spiritual wisdom actively? As wisdom is found in God’s word, which is written in the Bible, we therefore need to invest time and wholly commit ourselves to the study of God’s word religiously.
“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.”
- Proverbs 3:13-14