These days, we suffer no lack of would-be coaches and advisors. While everyone needs mentors and trusted confidants, we could foolishly fill our days with coaching sessions and online courses from self-styled experts who believe they can help us with everything from our spiritual lives to our physical fitness. And that doesn’t include all of the free “counsel” we receive via social media.
In a world of unsolicited advice, today’s readings remind us where we can find genuine wisdom. We should all be thankful Job’s friends didn’t have Twitter accounts. After Bildad, Zophar, and Eliphaz go back and forth with Job in a conversation that seems to go nowhere, the young Elihu steps into the fray.
Initially, Elihu is “timid and afraid” to speak to Job, assuming the other men’s words would be wiser because they are older. But after witnessing their conversation, Elihu changes his mind, declaring, “It is the spirit in a person—the breath from the Almighty—that gives anyone understanding” (Job 32:8). The word Elihu uses for “spirit” can refer to wind, breath, the spirit within a person, or the Holy Spirit. Since Elihu speaks about a “breath from the Almighty,” we can assume he means that genuine wisdom comes from the Holy Spirit, from God Himself.
Solomon echoed Elihu’s words when he said to his son, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). Solomon recognized that human beings are naturally foolish and easily led astray. Instead of trusting in our fallen reasoning and intuition, we ought to seek wisdom from the Lord.
The Spirit reveals the Lord’s wisdom to us in a number of ways, but especially through Scripture. We make the most progress in godly wisdom when we are consistently reading God’s Word. In fact, we cannot and will not grow in wisdom without it. As we immerse ourselves in the Bible and submit to its teaching, the Lord trains our minds and shapes our character.
We also grow in wisdom from the Spirit as we walk alongside our Christian brothers, especially those of mature faith. What God has worked in their lives can be passed on as a blessing to us. In God’s kind providence, we don’t have to walk through the Christian life alone.
Do you lack wisdom? Then seek the Lord. In James 1, we’re told we can ask Him for wisdom, and He will bestow it freely (v.5). Through His Spirit, the Lord keeps that promise to us over and over again.
Written by Scott Slayton