“How do you know what to do?” The answer to that question is the root of true wisdom. And a father who understands that is one who walks in wisdom.
Those who know about discernment and discretion based on God’s Word and principles are wise fathers. Being wise has very little to do with being smart. What do I mean?
I have a smart father, but his wisdom is earthly wisdom – things he learned from books and experience that had nothing to do with living a righteous life. Still, the fact that my dad valued intelligence gave me a desire to be smart in the ways of the world, too. What I’ve learned in living my life: it’s more essential for the eternity of our children to give them an example of godly wisdom.
What is Godly Wisdom
I shared my personal dilemma with confusing worldly wisdom with godly wisdom to illustrate that the first step in becoming wise is knowing what target we’re aiming to hit. There is nothing wrong with earthly wisdom, but the goal of a wise father should be to impart things of eternal significance. The earth will pass away, but godly wisdom will bless the life we currently live and our eternity.
Before we go further, here are the biblical definitions of the words pertaining to godly wisdom:
Wisdom: a way of thinking and conduct that is orderly, socially sensitive and morally upright (from Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary)
Discretion: looking ahead and considering the consequences; holy reserve and watchfulness
Discernment: understanding; the ability to think through a problem or situation and see the best way to proceed
Receive instruction in wise dealing and discipline of wise thoughtfulness, righteousness, justice, and integrity, that prudence may be given to the simple, and knowledge, discretion, and discernment to the youthProverbs 1:3-4 AMP
Now that we’ve defined these terms, it should help us understand the goal of a wise father. And like anything worth having, it’s better shared and passed along than hoarded.
Walking in Wisdom
Let’s get back to Proverbs chapter one. We’ll notice the keys to walking in wisdom comes from being teachable and applying truth to your life.
To be wise in God’s ways, a father must
- Receive instruction in wise dealing
- Receive the discipline of wisdom through:
- Justice and
- Teach his children prudence, knowledge, discretion, and discernment
That’s the reason we defined these terms earlier. They are part of the package that makes up wisdom. A wise dad knows that he must show his children the right way to live by living that way.
The process of becoming wise is an experiential path. As my Aunt Betty often says, “I know to look behind the door because I’ve hidden there.”
Dad, open your heart and mind to the teaching God wants to impart. This looks like soaking up the Word in Sunday school and during the sermon, but it also looks like reading (or listening to) the Bible daily.
Once you know what the Word says, then you think about it and apply it to your daily decisions. This results in a life of integrity that’s marked by right-living. Children will see it and emulate it, making the third step of teaching them do know the difference between right and wrong and to consistently choose the right path so much simpler.
Are you teaching your children to value godly wisdom more than worldly wisdom?