Wisdom is like a house. When the foundation is unstable, walls crack, doors stick, chinks appear in the concrete, water seeps in, the roof sags—a defective foundation spoils the whole building. Jesus used the idea of building a house to illustrate that wisdom is the foundation of a godly life. He said those who act on His words are like the “wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24).
The wise Christian builds a life on these seven pillars found in Proverbs.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5, NLT).
It is impossible to build any relationship without trust, including our relationship with Christ. We can trust the One who died for us, the One who loved us while earth was still unformed (Ephesians 1:4). Daniel was a captive in an idol-worshipping land, yet he remained true to God and did not conform to his surroundings. He is our example of living a holy life in an unholy world. A wise life like Daniel’s begins with trust.
People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will be exposed (Proverbs 10:9, NLT).
Philip brought his friend Nathanael to meet Jesus. When Jesus saw Nathanael, He said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity” (John 1:47, NLT). Integrity is trustworthiness. How often the gospel message has suffered because its proponents lack integrity. Integrity stands on guard against godless philosophies and moral deceptions (Romans 2:2). Integrity is humble, dependable and faithful. It doesn’t cheat on a spouse, steal from an employer, engineer circumstances to advance personal goals or spin tales to elevate one’s importance.
In Being the Body, Charles Colson wrote, “Christians must champion ethics. Not because it is good business – the dominant pragmatic view – but because moral standards come from God.”
In light of the human propensity for deceit, let us examine ourselves and ask: Am I a person of integrity?
So follow the steps of the good, and stay on the paths of the righteous (Proverbs 2:20, NLT).
Recognizing that preachers sometimes become grandstanders, and that many reputations are ruined by the abuse of money, power and sex, Cliff Barrows, George Beverley Shea, Grady Wilson and Billy Graham drew up a personal manifesto in which they committed to living a pure life in all the areas that some evangelists who preceded them had failed.
Purity requires boundaries. These men made themselves accountable to God, to each other and to their spouses. Some mocked their pursuit of purity as something from the dark ages, but these men demonstrated, for nearly six decades of ministry, that a life of purity is a life well lived.
Sometimes no words are needed to testify of Christ; purity speaks volumes.
The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed (Proverbs 11:25, NLT).
Each Christian is an overseer of God’s goods and is expected to manage them wisely (Matthew 25:14-30). Everything we have is on loan from Him. When it comes to giving, each person should, after prayer and without feeling pressured, decide what to give and give it cheerfully. As much as possible, the wise practise secret giving (Matthew 6:2-4). God’s people give to be a blessing, not to get a blessing.
Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter (Proverbs 6:6-8, NLT).
The wise work to support themselves and their families. They do their best in whatever job they find themselves, like the woman who manages the coffee shop as if it were her own business. The Bible teaches us to “work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men” (Colossians 3:23, NASB1995).
As a student, Charles Stanley worked in the bleaching department of a textile mill, a hot, miserable place. He grumbled about the job until he decided to see it as an opportunity to share his faith. After that, the heat didn’t bother him. Co-workers responded because they noticed his demeanour. Work, unless it is immoral or illegal, is pleasing to God.
Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing (Proverbs 12:18, NLT)
Better to be silent than to speak destructive words. Some specialize in sowing cruelty. It is impossible to avoid them completely, but we can take their words to Jesus and tell Him what was said. He is an expert at taking the sting out of cruel words.
Wise words encourage.
In the heat of the moment, we can fall into the trap of speaking angry words. My daughter, a teacher, has learned to wait 24 hours before addressing a problem. The wise think before speaking and have a disciplined tongue (Proverbs 21:23). David Jeremiah wrote, “Knowing what to say, when to say it, and how to say it – that is wisdom. And that’s what we need!”
The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense (Proverbs 27:9, NLT).
A friendship between two women was broken because one had insulted the other. The offender wanted to heal the friendship and sought counsel from a wise person known to both parties. Because of the counsellor’s prayer and advice, the friendship was restored. Wise counsellors are a gift to the body of Christ. The wise accept godly counsel.
The wise Christian builds a life on these seven pillars of wisdom.
A person can know all about the solar system, history, psychology and medicine. They can have total recall of everything they read, yet a child or someone considered simple-minded, can possess greater wisdom. The reason? The lives of the wise are built on the seven pillars of wisdom.
Rose McCormick Brandon lives in Caledonia, Ont., with her husband, Doug. An award-winning personal experience and inspirational writer, Rose contributes to denominational publications, devotionals and compilations. She writes and teaches Bible studies and conducts workshops on Writing your God Story. She is the author of Promises of Home – Stories of Canada’s British Home Children and One Good Word Makes all the Difference, a book of stories and articles documenting her journey from prodigal to passionate follower of Jesus.
This article appeared in the April/May/June 2023 issue of testimony/Enrich, a quarterly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. © 2023 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Photo © istockphoto.com.
- Charles Colson and Ellen Vaughn, Being the Body (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2003), 214.
- David Jeremiah, Where Do We Go From Here? (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2021), 149.