“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through me your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.” (Proverbs 9:10 – 11)
The first lesson I think we need to learn in order to run well and steadily the marathon courses God has each of us on is to learn how to run. Learning is quite exalted in all the cultures we’ve lived among (U.S., Australia, Russia) – for example, in each place, earning a university degree is held in high esteem both personally and professionally. I am all about books and learning – my mother was a librarian and my father was a professor, and I gladly embraced the plethora of learning experiences that regularly came my way. I practically grew up in libraries and laboratories. I literally read encyclopedias and dictionaries for fun. But the Bible tells us that wisdom is the thing we should strive for, not just more information. I’m appreciating that more and more as our information age continues to explode. There are so many things I wish I didn’t know – information I’ve learned that I wish I could unlearn (e.g. voyeuristic news stories containing gory details of someone’s sin with no redemptive purpose in the telling of it).
So how do we learn how to run? We can read books about the Christian life; we can listen to sermons and testimonies; we can attend conferences; we can discuss things live or online; and all these things can be beneficial . . . but if that is all we do, it’s like eating the appetizers and missing the main course; it’s like watching the previews and missing the movie; it’s like climbing the mountain and missing the view; it’s like learning the drills and missing the game! The most important thing we need is to learn from the ultimate expert, God Himself. We need to know Him in order to gain understanding. We need to know what He is like, which results in a healthy fear or reverence of Him, in order to gain wisdom. We know Him by spending time with Him in prayer (conversation) and in reading His word (the Bible). We know what He is like by studying His word. We gain understanding through being in close and authentic relationships with others who are seeking God with passion and serving others together. Without wisdom and understanding, our lives will fall far short of the beautiful plans that God has for each of us. Proverbs 9:11 in The Message says, “It’s through me, Lady Wisdom, that your life deepens, and the years of your life ripen.”
Knowing God. What a beautiful privilege to be invited into an intimate and ever-deepening relationship with our Creator, the One Who Sees Us, the Savior and Lover of our souls. Just as we seek God because He is worthy to be sought, let us know God because He is worthy to be known.