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Another one of our family mottos was, "If it feels good, do it." You have to understand, my parents were hippies for in the 1960s and 1970s. The hippie movement was all about throwing off the constraints of society, rejecting social rules, and living an alternative kind of lifestyle. That made for a very colorful childhood, as you could probably imagine. It’s this motto "if it feels good, do it," that ultimately led to my parent’s marriage crumbling. Yet I lived by this motto throughout my high school years, even though it caused lots of pain and grief. Only when I became an adult did I begin to realize that it was unwise to chase every pleasure that came by, that wisdom was learning when and where to say no.
What kind of wisdom did people pass on to you? What mottos from coaches, parents, and teachers have shaped and molded you into what you are today? Some of it was probably pretty good, and some of it was probably wrong. Part of being an adult is sorting through that stuff, keeping the truly wise, and rejecting the unwise.
Today we start a new series called WISE UP ABOUT LIFE. In this series we’re going to look at God’s wisdom from the Bible’s book of Proverbs. Each week we’re going to look at what the Bible’s book of Proverbs says about one subject. For example, next week we’ll be talking about God’s wisdom about sex. Then the week after, we’ll talk about God’s wisdom about the environment. In all, we’ll be looking at about thirteen different topics.
But today we’re going to start by talking about God’s wisdom for our lives in general. Today we’re going to find out what true wisdom is, what the proverbs are, and then some prerequisites to living wisely.
1. What is "Wisdom"?
What exactly is "wisdom"? The dictionary defines "wisdom" as the ability to discern what is true or right. So our English word "wisdom" has both moral implications--discerning what’s right--and intellectual implications--discerning what’s true.
The Hebrew word translated "wisdom" in the Bible is a bit more colorful than our English word. The Hebrew word translated "wisdom" is hochma, and it usually refers to some kind of skill or ability. So the Hebrew word distinguishes wisdom from knowledge, because a person can have a mind full of facts, yet lack authentic wisdom. Often the authors of the Bible
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