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male announcer: “In Touch”
with Dr. Charles Stanley,

celebrating 45 years
of God’s faithfulness

and sharing the
gospel worldwide.

Next on “In Touch,”
“Acquiring Wisdom.”

Dr. Charles Stanley:
Well, we have come from the

agricultural age to industrial
age and now information age.

We’ve got more information
than we know how to deal with.

Some of it’s good;
some of it’s not so good.

But there’s plenty of it.

In fact, if you want to know
anything about anybody

all you have to is sit
down at the computer,

you can tell where they live,
what the house looks like.

In fact, you can tell more
things about more people than

more people want you
to know about themselves.

And so there’s no secrecy
and no privacy.

It’s a crazy, mixed-up age
in which we live.

Lots and lots of information.

But there’s one thing missing
and that is while there’s plenty

of information and
all kinds of knowledge,

there’s a great
absence of wisdom.

Because you see, we don’t have
the wisdom to be able to handle

that kind of
knowledge, it seems.

Look where we are as a nation.

Look where we are
as individuals.

Many people can boast of their
knowledge and education and

degrees, but are very unwise
in the way they live out

their life.

Would you consider
yourself a wise person?

Or would you say, Well
I’m wise about some things,

not very wise about others.

Wisdom is very important.

And what I want you to see
in this message is this.

Not only how important it is,
but how to acquire wisdom;

because there are many verses in
the scripture that encourage us

to be wise–not a lot of
scriptures that encourage us

to have a lot of
information about things.

And a person can be very
educated and make a disaster

of their life.

Very famous–make a
disaster of their life.

Great position and authority
and power and make an absolute

disaster of their life.

Would you consider
yourself a wise person?

Well in the book of Proverbs,
God tells us exactly how

to acquire wisdom.

So I want you to turn if
you will to the second chapter

and let’s look at
that for a moment.

And, want us to read
these first,

first seven verses of this
second chapter of Proverbs.

He says, “My son, if you will
receive my words and treasure my

commandments within you, make
your ear attentive to wisdom,

incline your heart
to understanding;

For if you cry for
discernment, lift your voice for

understanding; If you seek her
as silver and search for her as

for hidden treasures; then you
will discern the fear of

the Lord and discover
the knowledge of God.

For the Lord gives wisdom;
from His mouth comes knowledge

and understanding.

He stores up sound
wisdom for the upright;

He is a shield to those
who walk in integrity.”

Now, so what is wisdom?

Well the world would say it’s
a right use of knowledge

and information.

But the issue that you and
I want to answer is this:

What is godly wisdom?

Godly wisdom is the capacity to
see things from God’s viewpoint

and, look, and respond according
to the principles of scripture.

Godly wisdom is to be
able to see things,

to view things from God’s
viewpoint–the way He sees them.

And then to respond to
them on the basis

of scriptural principles.

Lot of difference in that
and the world’s wisdom.

So when we think about that,
and we think about the whole

idea–that is, how does
a person become wise?

It is a process.

It is both a process
and a result.

It is a process because it
takes time to become wise.

It is a result because we learn
and become wise by the results

we see in decisions that we
make and decisions that

other people make.

If I should ask you today would
you be considered a wise person,

what would you say?

Well you could look around
and say, Well I’ve made this

good decision or
that good decision.

But have you made the most
important decision in your

you’ll spend eternity?

Who is going to be
the guide of your life?

How are you going
to invest your life?

What are you
going to do with it?

In other words, there are
some questions that demand

far greater knowledge and
understanding than man’s

human wisdom.

So when we think about
understanding God’s ways

and seeing things from
His point of view,

how do we acquire wisdom?

So what I’d like to do is to
give you a number of steps.

And if you’ll
follow these steps,

you will become a wiser person.

And so, let’s start with
the first one–that is,

we acquire wisdom by seeking it.

That’s step number one.

If you don’t want to be wise,
you don’t have to be wise.

You don’t have to seek wisdom.

So when it comes
to seeking wisdom,

does that mean that I just
sort of think about it

once in a while?

Or read the
scripture once in a while,

but–or diligently,
diligently seek it.

That is, God, give me wisdom.

Show me how to be a wise person.

If I understand
the value of wisdom,

I’ll seek it.

If I don’t
understand the value of it,

I will not seek it.

It is a great defense.

That is, a person who is wise
will avoid many pitfalls

in their life, because they
understand what that word means.

It’s getting God’s viewpoint
about the circumstances of life

and then responding according to
the principles that God’s given

to us in His Word.

So think about this
and be honest about it.

When is the last time you ever
thought about seeking wisdom?

Is that nebulous to you?

Or do you see it
as something very,

very definite, very solid,
very clear, and very divine?

Wisdom, Godly wisdom is
your greatest possession.

You can have all the gold
and all the jewels and all

the things that the
scripture mentions;

without wisdom, you’re going
to make terrible mistakes.

And you can make the ultimate
mistake by being so unwise as

to reject Jesus Christ,
the Son of God,

who went to the cross
and laid down His life;

paying your sin
debt and mine in full;

opening Heaven for us
for all eternity.

You die without Christ is
the most unwise thing you

could possibly do.

But you say, Well,
I’m going to make it.

No you’re not, and
I’ll tell you why.

Without Jesus Christ, the
Word of God says you will not.

That’s the Word of God.

That’s not human reasoning.

That’s the Word of God.

You have to decide whether
you’re going to take His Word

for it or believe
somebody else.

You must you must
pursue wisdom.

Think about it–what a
part it plays in your life.

It determines your success or
disaster in whatever you do.

But there’s a second
one and that’s this.

We acquire wisdom by
meditating on God’s Word.

You say, Well you mean
to tell me that if I read

the Word of God,
I’m going to be wise?

Well let’s think about
what happens when you

read the Word of God.

When you focus on God’s
Word and you read it,

your eyes see it, your
ears hear it, your mind,

for example, perceives
it and what happens?

It becomes a part of you.

Well, what is
the Word of God?

It’s the mind of God
written on paper.

It’s the mind of God.
It’s the ways of God.

It’s the purpose
and plans of God.

It’s all here.

And so therefore, if I begin
to meditate upon God’s Word,

something’s going to happen.

It’s going to have
its effect in my life.

Look if you will in chapter
four and beginning in verse ten.

He says, “Hear, my son, and
accept my sayings and the years

of your life will be many.

I have directed you
in the way of wisdom;

I have led you in upright paths.

When you walk, your
steps will not be impeded;

and if you run, you
will not stumble.

Take hold of

That is, master–
enthusiastically pursue it,

“Take hold of instruction;
do not let go.

Guard her, for
she is your life.”

How many times have
you heard me say,

You should begin every day with
asking God to give you direction

for your life by
reading the Word of God.

One of the wisest things you
can do before you ever get out

of bed every morning is ask
God to give you wisdom.

We all need wisdom.

That is we all need God’s
viewpoint about our actions

and about our plans and
how we live our life,

because we don’t know
what’s going to happen.

And therefore, if we’re
operating on the basis

of wisdom, God will give us
direction and clear guidance

for our life.

He says He will, He’s
willing to give us wisdom.

And so when I–when
I think about that,

I think about of all the sources
of it–listen to what

the scripture says in the
fifth chapter of Proverbs,

verse one: “My son, give
attention to my wisdom,

incline your ear to
my understanding.”

That is, give your, give your
attention to the Word of God.

Now notice what
the definition is.

We said Godly wisdom is what?

It’s getting God’s viewpoint.

Let me ask you a question.

What is it in your life
about which you do not need

His viewpoint?


We need His viewpoint
about everything.

And then–listen–not
only getting His viewpoint,

but then responding
to God’s viewpoint.

So, where do I
get His viewpoint?

In the Word of God.

Then there’s a third way.

We acquire wisdom by obeying
the principles of scripture.

Listen, it isn’t enough
just to have knowledge

and understanding.

You can have biblical knowledge,

but if you do not act upon
that from God’s perspective,

then you’re not
going to be wise.

It’s from the Word of God,
obeying these principles.

Notice what he said.

He said: “He gives
wisdom to the upright.”

Living by the principles.

And turn if you will to the
eighth chapter for a moment

and look if you
will in this eighth chapter

and the thirty-third verse.

He says, “Heed instruction
and be wise,” look at that,

“Heed instruction,” that is, pay
close attention to instruction,

“and be wise, do not neglect it.

Blessed is the man
who listens to me,

watching daily at my gates.”

That is, as you and I listen to
the Lord speak to our heart

in His Word,
obeying His principles,

heeding His instruction.

Anytime you and I need divine
direction about any question

about life, it is
all right here.

Wise men and women
are in the Word,

listening to God, obeying God’s
Word and watching

the awesome consequences.

Then of course, we acquire
wisdom by praying for it.

And of all the many verses
in the book of Proverbs,

the emphasis is not on praying.

But I want you to turn to James
for a moment and look in this

first chapter, because here’s
the clearest verse you could

find about wisdom.

He says in verse
five of James one,

“But if any of you lacks wisdom,
let him ask of God,

who gives to all generously,”
He’s not chinchy–He gives it,

“generously and without
reproach,” not going to come

back at you, “and it
will be given to him.

But he must ask in faith.”

And that whole
passage is about that.

So, we gain wisdom by asking.

Now for most people,
they practice this.

Well I’m going to ask
God to give me wisdom.

Just asking for it
does not get it.

Watch this.

It is asking, obeying and
watching the consequences;

observing the consequences.

And if I could
just say one word,

I’d say it over and
over and over again.

Wisdom comes not only
through gaining knowledge,

but observing what happens when
you respond in obedience

and when you respond
in disobedience.

And all of us who are believers
know that that principle is

absolutely essential.

But not just essential,
it’s a divine law of God.

Wisdom is a gift from God
and we should pursue it,

seek after it, ask for it.

Get in the Word of God, asking
God to show us from His Word

how He would like for us to
operate on the basis of His

goodness and love
and mercy toward us.

Then of course, we acquire
wisdom by observing how God

works in the world.

And if you will go
to Proverbs six, six.

Many people know this verse or
at least they know about it.

Because He says in the sixth
chapter of Proverbs in the sixth

verse, “Go to the ant,
O sluggard,” oh lazy person,

“observe her ways
and be wise,

Which, having no chief,
officer or ruler,

Prepares her food in the summer
and gathers her provision

in the harvest.

How long will you
lie down, O sluggard?

When will you
arise from your sleep?

A little sleep,
a little slumber,

a little folding of
the hands to rest.

Your poverty will come in like
a vagabond and your need

like an armed man.”

Here’s what he’s saying.

Look around.

How does God
operate in the world?

And it doesn’t make any
difference how much knowledge

we have.

The issue is how
does God operate?

And he’s giving the
ant, for example.

Well, look around you.

People who are lazy,
for example;

then they wonder–
here’s what they do.

They want to blame somebody.

People who are lazy usually
want to blame somebody.

And things aren’t
going their way;

it’s his fault, her fault,
their fault,

but never my fault.

Wisdom–seeing things
from God’s viewpoint.

Now listen.

He says He’s willing to give it;
He’s willing to store it up

for us, whatever it is.

We can have
wisdom if we want it,

but we don’t get
wisdom simply by asking.

And we don’t get wisdom by
carelessly reading the Word

of God; but by reading it and
asking God to help us to observe

the results of this action,
that action and the other.

And so we talk about how
God works in the world.

Well, for example,
look at your friends.

Look at the
people you work with.

How’s God working in their life?

You see, somehow the devil
has deceived so many people

into believing they are an
exception to the laws of God.

I’ll tell you why.

Because at the moment,
everything’s going their way.

They’re healthy,
they’re this, they’re that.

They have all these
things and so they think,

You know what?

That’s what you believe.

That’s not what I believe.

Here’s what I want you to see
and I want to say that again

and again and again.

You cannot
violate the principles,

the laws, the Word of God,
and escape the consequences

which are devastating
in a person’s life.

You cannot.

Then of course, we become
wise by heeding godly counsel.

Now let me make
something very clear.

If you’re going to
a counselor, be very,

very wise about who
this counselor is,

not simply by what you heard.

I want to give you a few
verses of scripture here,

Look in the twelfth chapter
of Proverbs and let’s look

at the fifteenth verse.

Notice what he says here.
Twelve, fifteen.

Listen to this: “The way of a
fool is right in his own eyes,

but a wise man is he,”
listen carefully,

is he who listens to counsel.”

Godly counsel.

People who want to know the ways
of God and the work of God

and how He operates.

Look in the thirteenth
chapter and the twentieth verse,

“He who walks with
wise men will be wise,

but the companion of
fools will suffer harm.”

Look if you will
in the tenth verse,

“Through insolence
comes nothing but strife,

but,” listen, wisdom is with
those who receive counsel.”

Fifteenth chapter–look
at this for a moment.

Fifteenth chapter and
the thirty-first verse.

Listen to what he says,
“He whose ear listens to

the life-giving reproof
will dwell among the wise.

He who neglects
discipline despises himself,

but he who listens to
reproof acquires understanding.”

And so, when you
think about counsel,

let me ask you a question.

If somebody, if
somebody said to you,

Well, here’s what I think.

What would determine whether
you did what they said or not?

Simply because they said it, or
because they’re wise in their

decision-making process.

And many people are very willing
and very quickly willing to give

you advice and counsel.

But one of the first things
you should do is look

at their lifestyle.

Find out what’s the
basis of their counsel.

Is it because of something
they learned in university?

Or is it because they
understand the Word of God?

They understand THE principles
by which God intends

every single one of us
to live our life.

The last one is simply this.

We acquire wisdom by
associating with the wise.

Read that passage
a few moments ago,

in the thirteenth chapter.

If a person really and
truly wants to be wise,

look at the thirteenth chapter
and the twentieth verse:

“He who walks with the wise
men will be wise,

but the companion of
fools will suffer harm.”

Do you believe that?

Did it–listen–everybody
has friends.

And, listen, and some people
are tremendous friends–

very sensitive to their
friendships and so forth.

So, the scripture says
if I want to be wise,

I’ll run with the wise people.

If I want to be foolish,
I run with them.

This is really very simple.

It’s all in the Word of God.

All I’ve done is just read
you some verses of scripture.

So think about this.

Wisdom, which is seeing things
from God’s viewpoint and obeying

the principles of scripture,
which is principles that God

has placed in the Word, that’s
what wisdom is all about.

And the questions you have to
ask is do I want to be a wise

person; because these
are just seven steps,

all of which will
make you a wise person,

if you take it seriously.

But it all begins with your
relationship to God through

His Son, Jesus Christ.

You say, You mean to tell me
that a person who is not

a Christian is not wise?

Absolutely, I’m saying it,
and I’ll tell you why.

Because if you
intend to go to heaven,

you’re going to have
to confront Jesus.

He said, “I am the way,
the truth, and the life.

No man comes to the
Father but by Me.”

That’s the Son of God who
went to the cross voluntarily;

laid down His life; shed His
blood in order to save me

and to save you.

It would be foolish
for me to doubt Him,

because I have no
evidence for doubting Him.

The whole Word of God from
Genesis all the way up to

the Crucifixion
is leading to it.

And there, all that’s
thereafter is the fulfillment

of the promises of God.

To say that a person is
wise who’s not a Christian,

no they’re not wise.

There are ultimate devastating
eternal consequences to living

your life without the Lord.

Do it now because
time’s running out.

Well, time’s running out.

And if you’ll think about it,
that’s one of the reasons

you ought to be wise enough to
get your life straightened out.

Turning it over to Jesus Christ;
let Him forgive you,

cleanse you, start
you all over again.

If you’re wise, you will.

And I think about
it in this light.

If I want to be wise, I
have to make a decision.

For example, if you’re going
to be saved from your sins,

you have to make a decision.

Today I will trust the
Lord Jesus Christ as

my personal Savior.

And from this moment on,
I want to live for Him.

If I want to be a wise man,
I want to make a decision.

Today, I’m going to follow the
teachings of the Word of God,

because I know they’re true
and I know God will enable me.

I know He will strengthen me.

I know He will defend me.

I know He will help me
in every circumstance.

I’m going to be wise–
follow His guidance,

His direction, His counsel.

Let me put it this way with
all the love in my heart.

It is foolish and fatal to
reject the Lord Jesus Christ

and the Word of God.

And the proof of that is
look around you and see

what’s happening
to people who do.