“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” - William Shakespeare
"Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates reproof is stupid." - Proverbs 12:1
"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
but a wise man listens to advice." - Proverbs 12:15
"Listen to advice and accept instruction,
that you may gain wisdom in the future." - Proverbs 19:20
I only chose a few. Proverbs and Psalms are covered in verses regarding wisdom. They are also incredibly straight-forward and hard to hear. Yes, Proverbs 12:1 is a Scripture. I didn't insert the word, "stupid," on my own. I didn't insert the word, "fool," on my own. And I certainly didn't insert the word, "accept," on my own.
I'm a firm believer in the power of self-awareness and being honest with yourself. I've never been able to love people more deeply than when we can be honest with one another about our deepest flaws and greatest strengths. As college-ageish people, we have to be aware of this - we know nothing. We have passion and energy, but we lack in wisdom and knowledge, we lack it a lot. BUT... we don't think we do... Proverbs 12:15.
Western culture has done its best to eliminate our greatest sources of wisdom, the elderly. How? We detest the idea of being old. We hate the idea of skin that doesn't fit the way it used to or walking a little more slowly. Eastern cultures are much different, they celebrate the elderly. They listen to them and seek their knowledge.
Proverbs 16:31 says, "Gray hair is a crown of glory, it is attained in the way of righteousness." Undoubtedly, someone is looking at 1 Timothy 4:12 and thinking, "DON'T LOOK DOWN ON ME BECAUSE I'M YOUNG." And we often use this verse as a license to do whatever we want. Ironically though, when we don't know the context of the verse, we're playing the part of the fool. The older Paul is mentoring the younger Timothy and telling him, let nobody look down on you because you're young. This is good and true, but it also comes from listening to someone older, wiser, someone near the end of his life who has walked the path of righteousness with God.
I cannot recommend strongly enough that you seek a mentor or two in college. I will tell you this about college and life - the difference between 18 and 22 is wild. The difference between 17 and 23 is exponential. The difference between 16 and 24 is mind-blowing. You aren't even the same human between 15 and 25. Guidance is necessary.
Everyone on social media is fo the mindset that they are a theologian, politician, or relationship expert - whatever that means. And for the most part, we aren't. You will never, ever, ever, EVER, hear me give marriage advice. There is nothing to give. I have no clue what I'm doing. I'll talk to you about being single or dating because I've ran that race, but I always say to Lindsey, "If I ever write a marriage book, it'd be on my deathbed." The only reason we ever felt prepared is because we sought the advice of the wise. We talked with couples that have been pursuing the Lord on mission together for 15, 25, 35 years.
Young Christians feel this incredible urge to teach without ever sitting under teaching. I'm not trying to suppress that passion. I LOVE IT. I hope you go far beyond anything you imagined for yourself, but you will crash and burn if you attain a position you aren't prepared for. We have to humble ourselves, embrace the challenge of patience, and relish the opportunity to learn. That's what you're in college for anyway. Learn to love the opportunity of listening to the advice of the more seasoned saints.
Be aware of this, my friends, there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. Allow me to put my cards not the table, I love school. I absolutely adore it (I know what a weirdo). I love reading and learning and my head hurting from studying, I love going for a drive and coming back to the material later with a firm grip on the knowledge that I've gained. But knowledge is just the information I have, wisdom is knowing how to use it. Knowledge is how the doctor knows what the scalpel is and what it can do, wisdom knows when to cut and when to draw back.
Everything we learn is for nothing if we don't know how to use it. There is a responsibility we have that the world takes too loosely as information is more readily available than ever before. Francis Bacon once said, "knowledge is power," and like Peter Parker's grandfather said, "with great power comes great responsibility," with knowledge comes the responsibility of the wisdom to use it well.
I love knowledge because it can't be taken from you. Everything can be taken from us except for knowledge, my health can be taken, Lindsey or I could die and our marriage would be no more, my finances can be drained, but the only way we lose knowledge is if we lose our life. The height of knowledge is to know the Scriptures and study God's Word, the height of wisdom is to love Him and love people, applying what we know from His Word into everyday life, in our work and relationships.
This is why we need to humble ourselves and seek the wisdom of others. They've been learning and applying for far longer than we've even been alive. That passion that you have is great, the wisdom to use it well can turn it into greatness.
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