Knowledge, Instruction, Wisdom

To know wisdom and instruction,
To discern the sayings of understanding,
To recieve instruction in wise behavior…
Proverbs1:2-3a

I remember as a  young mom when I would give my children knowledge and then get frustrated that they did not make wise decisions based upon that knowledge.  Then I realized that knowledge does not lead to wisdom without instruction.  I am doing a Bible study with a lovely young lady who has such a love for God and His Word.  She was raised in a Bible believing church and memorized a lot of Scripture and even the Apostles’ Creed and Catechism, but she was never instructed what these things had to do with her.  It is amazing watching her put the pieces together.  As I instruct her in God’s word she is excited to see that God’s Word has so much to teach her.  She realizes that she would have excaped so many sins and heartaches if someone had instructed her when she was younger. 

The very young, from birth to age 2 or so are in a time of great knowledge gathering.  These little ones are not able to recieve instruction, just information.  But as they turn 2 and continue to gather information they are also able to recieve simple instruction.  Around the age of 7, children are ready to be able to recieve more complicated instruction and are able to think abstractly enough to realize the connection between some instruction and different situations.  For instance, they are instructed about the Renaissance and they are able to put Christopher Columbus and Leonardo DiVinci into that time frame.  Ages 7- 12 or 13 is a time of great instruction and great understanding.  After the age of 12 or 13, and for some as late as 16-18, children are able to apply wisdom to instruction.Wisdom is being able to discern situations and apply Biblical principles.  Wisdom is the ability to judge correctly and use our knowledge to avoid trouble, solve problems, reach goals, and succeed in life based upon God’s principles.

Expecting our kids to go from knowledge to wisdom without instruction is frustrating for them and is setting them up for failure.  Knowing the fact that God is love is wonderful, and I do need to know that.  But if no one ever instructs me how to recieve His love then I can never make the wise decision of accepting that love.  If I haven’t been instructed on how a Chrisitian ought to view the body and sex then I may know that “…the body is a temple of God and I have been bought with a price…” but not know what that means in terms of dating, especially if I see other Christians misusing their bodies.

This is true in all areas of our lives.  I know how to put gas in my car.  I have not been instructed on the different mixtures and grades of gasolines.  I can not make wise decisions in this area when it comes to what gas to use when we are going on a road trip versus around town.  I have to call and ask my husband who gives me the knowledge that I need for the moment, but without instruction, I will have to call him again the next time.

Stop and think for minute the next time that your child does not make a wise decision.  Does he have the correct information?  Has he been instructed on how to use that information?  Many parents go astray teaching their children what is in the book or on the computer screen, but without input and instruction, they are only recieving information and cannot make wise decisions.

Hint of the Day: When speaking to your children about what they have learned at school, in a book, or on the computer, after getting the facts of what they learned ask questions that instruct them with the knowledge.  For example, Sally learned how to add.  Instead of saying, “That’s nice.  How much is 3+5?”  Say, “That’s nice.  If we went into the store and I wanted to get an apple and an orange and each one cost 3 cents, how much money would I need?”  That’s over simplifying things a little, but hopefully you get the gist.  If they learned that they are a new creature in Christ Jesus, you might ask them what that means.  Make sure they understand that that puts all shame into the past, that they now have a choice to sin or not to sin.  Instruct them in the need to renew their mind as a new creature and how to do that.  Just saying, “That’s nice.” will not instruct them about the new creation that they have become.

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