Wise people are not wise because they are prophets who see the future. Wise people are not wise because they can look into men’s hearts and discern their thoughts and motives. Wise people are not wise because they are better at learning from experience. Wise people are not those who’ve been blessed with superior intellect.
Wise people are those who treasure the lamp of God’s Word, seeking out and crying out for the light of truth. In other words, wise people are simply prepared people—biblically prepared and equipped for whatever might come along. People become wise when by God’s grace they are humble enough to accept how unprepared they actually are in themselves. Sacrificing the false god of their own independence, they run to the one place where actual certainty can be found. Then they’re able to live hopefully, productively, and courageously. Then they’re prepared for whatever comes along—not because they saw it coming, but because they’ve been students of the Word of God. They don’t know more about the future than anyone else does. But God, through the wisdom of the Bible, has made them ready for it.
In one sense, this is the secret of “going with the flow” that many people think they are pursuing. In the light of Scripture, however, the nature of all that going and flowing is completely different. It isn’t passive. Its grounded in truth, it understands the real nature of this existence, and its active and attentive.
I call this the principle of prepared spontaneity. You don’t need God-like powers to live a God-honoring life in this fallen world. The perspectives, commands, principles, and promises of the great redemptive story of Scripture will provide all you need to live as you were designed to live; yes, even in this broken world.
You can respond spontaneously and biblically to a myriad of things you didn’t see coming, because God’s Word makes you wise about you, about others, about the meaning and purpose of life, about God and his plan, about basic rights and wrongs, about why things are the way they are and what to do about it, about how we function and how change takes place, and about a host of other things. And because the Bible has made you wise, you’re then ready to face what you neither planned nor expected. You’re ready because you are trusting in what is sure rather than reading the tea leaves of your own viewpoint or passively going with the flow.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Follow a Bible reading plan in the new year. Check out BibleStudyTools.com’s free Bible Reading Plans, decide what pattern you like, and pick your start date. Sign up to get started!
Paul Tripp is the president of Paul Tripp Ministries, a nonprofit organization whose mission statement is “Connecting the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life.” Tripp has written many books on Christian living that are read and distributed internationally. He has been married for many years to Luella, and they have four grown children. For more information, visit www.paultrippministries.org.