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Are you “Wise as a Serpent Gentle as a Dove”?
Being wise is almost always associated with age. The older you are, the wiser you get because of the accumulated experiences learnt throughout your life.
So are all elderly folks wise? Unfortunately no.
Old age does not automatically make you wise. Your attitude towards life does.
But the good news is that anyone who wants to, can learn to become wise. Today we will discuss what Christian wisdom is and how to attain this wisdom in your lifetime.
Basic Christian Wisdom
Let’s look at the bible..
Jesus told His disciples, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless (gentle) as doves.” Matthew 10:16 NKJV
Jesus used the phrases “wise as a Serpent” and “gentle as a dove” as contrasting similes to illustrate the point of how anyone can be wise and grow in wisdom in this world that we live in today.
Serpents are generally considered wise/shrewd since they are extremely sensitive and understands and react quickly and appropriately to changing environment. In contrast, the dove is a symbol of purity and gentleness.
Jesus had instructed his disciples to go out and preach the good news and do God’s works. He cautioned them that they will be persecuted by the people in this world and hence instructed his disciples to guard themselves from harm by being truly wise, like a:
- Serpent, one who is sensible, wise and not gullible, and at the same time, as a
- Lamb, one who is righteous, humble and upright at all times
Being wise means to embody and display these sets of important traits in life.
In the bible, people who are wise also fear the Lord and keep His commandments. Almost all wise men are considered upright and will do the right thing at all times.
“The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom” Proverbs 9:10 NKJV
Is it possible for one to be truly Wise but Not Righteous?
According to the bible - No.
And I have yet to see a person, considered wise by many but is cruel and unrighteous. If you have, please let me know in the comments below.
But first, what does it mean to be wise? How is it different from knowledge and intelligence?
In the Oxford dictionary,
- Knowledge is defined as “facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.”
- Intelligence is defined as “the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.”
- Wisdom is defined as “the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.” Some people have defined it aptly as having “expert knowledge about the practical aspects of life”
As you can see, fundamentally, being wise requires a person to have knowledge (possibly acquired through experiences) and to be able to apply that knowledge in life situations appropriately. Furthermore, it also means that wisdom requires both knowledge and intelligence in order to be sensible and with good judgment.
What are the Benefits of Wisdom?
Here are 6 of them. A person with true wisdom can :
- Avoid a lot of painful trouble with the law. With good judgment, a wise person will not be tempted or fall into traps of going afoul with the law and ending up in jail.
- Avoid much loss of money & wealth. Instead, with good judgment, a wise person may even gain wealth by his actions of investing and not squandering them on useless pursuits in life like gambling or buying into scams.
- Avoid loss of family and friends. With good judgment, a wise person does not harm but appreciates the people who support him and shows his/her gratitude to them in kind. In doing so, he builds his family relationships and widens his circle of friends.
- Avoid loss of limbs or bodily harm. With good judgment, the wise person does not harm himself by excessively indulging in worldly pleasures, like drinking, smoking or drugs. Instead, he doesn’t take unnecessary risks, which will ultimately result in him living a good long life.
- Gain a good reputation & improve social status. His good judgment will give him good standing amongst his peers, making him the go-to person for good advice all the time.
- Achieve his personal goals with his good judgment. His wisdom brings joy and happiness into his family, friends and personal life.
Traits of Foolish People
Wisdom is an important aspect of living a good life. But unfortunately, there are many in the world who are foolish. These foolish people are generally loud, haughty, violent, unthinking, lawlessness, disrespectful, deceitful, self-centred and unrighteous. Prisons are filled with many of them.
While we associate wisdom with old ages, we tend to associate foolishness with teens. There are many teens in the world (especially those without maturity) that do foolish things in their lifetime. Many perished but there are also many who chose to seek wisdom and lived.
In order to be wise, one must bear the following traits.
What are the 7 Characteristics of Wisdom?
- Always Curious and always asking the question “Why not?” and “Why can’t it be done?” in all situations
- Always Respectful, Humble and Teachable at all times.
- Open-minded to anything new and receptive to criticism
- Always looking for new ways to do things more efficiently and effectively.
- Resilient and probably a perfectionist. He always reflects, learns from mistakes and tries to be a better person after every failure he encounters.
- Careful and thinks before he acts. He will consider all possible outcomes and weigh the pros and cons before committing his plans into action.
- Always ask others for their opinions before carrying out his tweaked plan.
Do you have any of these traits of wise people?
Does it mean that if I don’t find all these 7 traits of wisdom in me, I am not wise?
No. There are various degrees of wisdom. A truly wise person will always strive to inculcate these traits or characters into their life because they want to improve themselves and help others, if they can. Anyone can learn to attain these characteristics of wisdoms as long as they have the strong urge or desire to be wise.
Tip#1 - always see others better than yourself in order to gain humility and start learning.
Tip#2 - always remember that there is always a solution to any problem.
Tip#3 - put away your pride and always ask questions.
If you do have at least half of these traits, congratulations!
You are on your way to becoming a very wise person. These traits are the basic key indicators that define wisdom in a person.
So What Should You Do to Gain Wisdom?
Here are 7 Steps on how to gain wisdom and be “Wise as a Serpent gentle as a Dove”.
Step#1 - Be Humble and Teachable - always remember that there’s always something you can learn, even from a child.
Step#2 - Be open-minded to different new approaches and ways in doing things.
Step#3 - Read widely and understand how things work around you. Having a good education will help you on your way. But importantly, you must have a strong desire to gain knowledge and understanding so that you would not be ignorant about laws of nature or risked being fooled
Step#4 -Able to interact with people from all walks of life, especially the elderly, and learn about their life experiences. You can gain valuable insights by learning from their past mistakes. You only live through ONE lifetime. But by listening and learning from people with vast experiences, you can multiply your learning a hundred fold, as if you have learnt and lived through their lives as well.
Step#5 - Reading Proverbs and Quotes from people all over the world will help you understand how people live their lives and how they coped with their failures. Words of wisdom from highly regarded people in society or successful people can help inspire you to seek wisdom and understanding. Here at proverbsquotes.com, we are constantly growing and curating proverbs, quotes and wise sayings to inspire you.
Step#6 - Actively do new things and gain new experiences. Dare to be different in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
Step#7 -Always reflect on every experience gained. Then learn from past mistakes and celebrate success.
These are the steps of how you can learn to be Truly Wise - “Be Wise as a Serpent and Gentle as a Dove” - in our decaying world today.
Does this mean that I will be wise forever?
No. There are wise people out there who occasionally do foolish deeds in error. But since they are resilient, they tend to bounce back quicker and learn from their mistakes.
Do any of these steps towards gaining wisdom resonate with you?