What is your source of wisdom?
How can anyone resist the pull of peer pressure? It’s easy to say, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything!” But resisting the influence of others is not so easy.
At times, the forcefulness of other people intimidates us. Some people sound so convincing when they present an opportunity or plan as an adventure or a sure bet we need to get in on.
Sometimes, we don’t want to be left out of a group of people who seem to have something special. These are some of the ways we get pulled along in a way we should not go.
Here’s where wise counsel comes in but where to find it? God’s design is for parents to be a source of wisdom and guidance for their children. But not all parents are suited to do this nor do all children have parents present to do so.
The Proverbs of Solomon provide one source of wisdom, often given as a father to a son or in the figurative sense of a woman calling out to anyone who will listen. Here is a father’s admonition to an older son—
My son, listen to your father’s discipline, and do not neglect your mother’s teachings,
because discipline and teachings are a graceful garland on your head and a ⌊golden⌋ chain around your neck.
My son, if sinners lure you, do not go along. (Proverbs 1:8–10 GW)
This exhortation to pay attention to the discipline and teaching of parents includes two important points.
A warning and an encouragement
- First, it’s a clear warning against the foolishness of trying to gain riches the wrong way with the wrong people. This is illustrated by the allegory that follows (Proverbs 1:11–19).
…these people set an ambush for their own murder. They go into hiding only to lose their lives. (vs 18)
- It’s also an encouragement that discipline and wise teaching are much more valuable than any riches gained through violence or a supposed shortcut to success.
…discipline and teachings are a graceful garland on your head and a ⌊golden⌋ chain around your neck. (vs 8)
Parental guidance needed
It’s a natural stage of development for young adults to throw off the constraints of parental guidance. The emphasis of these verses in Proverbs points to the need for a strong foundation for godly living established at home as a guide for later life.
As we grow older, we need other people in our lives who are able and willing to warn us and encourage us. These can be mentors like guidance counselors or something on the line of Big Brothers and Big Sisters or organizations like the Boys and Girls Club of America.
A community where integrity and respect are valued is also a place where wise counsel can be found. This may be some type of peer group with whom you share these values like a Mastermind group or longtime trusted friends.
This is also God’s original plan for a church community. Although not everyone experiences a healthy supportive environment in church, they do exist. Oftentimes a small group within a church community will be a safe and supportive place.
We can also be mentors for others who need wise counsel and guidance, especially when we’ve been mentored by others. But we need to do so based on godly wisdom.
God is our best source for gaining wisdom. The Scriptures are our resource to draw out God’s wisdom and the Spirit of God will help us understand it.
We are responsible to live our lives in accordance with this wisdom, for our benefit and as an example for others. We need to be around people who will hold us accountable in a healthy way, as well as our accountability to God.
The glory of riches and fame are empty and useless compared to the glory of a disciplined and godly life founded on the wisdom of God. It brings blessing in this life and assurance and hope for eternity.
Some questions and encouragements to consider…
What is your source of wisdom?
What is the moral and spiritual foundation for your life?
When you have a solid foundation of truth and wisdom for your life, you’ll be able to withstand the pull of others towards destructive behaviors and be a help for others.
Ask God to help you build, rebuild, or firm up a godly foundation in your heart and mind based on His word of truth and the guidance of God’s Spirit.
Pray for opportunities and a willingness to mentor and encourage others.
Was this encouraging or helpful to you? Got a question or two? Let me know and thanks for reading!