How do you respond to advice and instruction you are offered in life?
Do you give it weight and due respect or choose rather to neglect or disregard it?
Do you feel you can learn from the experience and wisdom of others or do you feel you are okay without their input in your life?
Of course who you are offered it from and the nature of the advice offered will determine the kind of reception it’ll find in you. But what tends to be your instinctive response to instruction and advice in general? Would you say you are receptive and responsive or resistant and unresponsive?
The book of Proverbs tells us that the latter, i.e. to resist and reject wisdom and instruction, is the exclusive preserve of fools while the former rings true of wise people.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
And again in Proverbs 15:31
The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise.
Differentiating between foolishness and wisdom, this constant contrast and comparison between the wise and the fool dominates and pervades the entire book of Proverbs. One of the key identifying factors of wisdom is to heed advice, listen to reproof, take instruction from the learned and experience on board.
But what all together constitutes wisdom?
The pursuit and acquisition of wisdom in one’s life begins squarely with the fear of God.
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
This is the starting point. Wisdom is unthinkable and non-existent without the fear of God as its primary reference point. This is where wisdom is conceived and birthed – in the fear of God. It is from here alone that it can mature and grow into becoming fully functional and advantageous for the present life and the life to come.
The author lays down the groundwork for us for everything that is to follow. Here is where it all starts so get the starting point right. Whatever else wisdom may be it is to be built and sat on this one thing – a healthy reverence, and reverential respect of God, the Creator honouring Him for who He is and understanding that He sees all (every action), knows all (our heart’s motives/intentions) and we will one day have to answer to Him for all. Having a reverential respect of God is honouring Him for who He truly is – all seeing, all knowing, and always just God who shows no partiality and before whom all of us will be held accountable for all our words and actions.
2 Corinthians 5:10
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
Take care not to fall into the category of fools by despising wisdom and instruction, either by openly dissing it or simply quietly disregarding and having no respect for it.