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The Beginning of Wisdom

New Year. New challenges. New hopes and dreams. And questions about what the year ahead holds for each of us. I don’t know about you, but I feel like wisdom may be my biggest need for 2018, and so, I choose it as my word. I’m sometimes unwise; my words can hurt or wound. I may ask questions when all someone needs is to be listened to, or know I’m praying for them. So where do I begin?

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10 NKJV) Since the book of Proverbs mentions the fear of the Lord being the beginning, or foundation, of wisdom four times within the first ten chapters, it must be important. This kind of fear is not a quaking mentality, afraid something bad will happen. Instead, it is a reverence for God, an awe or respect, knowing He is holy and righteous and knows what is best, not only for me but for those in my circle of influence.

Several years ago I was offered something seemingly good, something that could open new doors, provide additional income, and be fun and exciting. But suddenly, in the middle of the conversation, my spirit revolted and I felt a loud, inner “NO!”

So I spoke the “No” aloud.

“Are you sure you don’t want to pursue this?”

“Yes, I’m sure.”

And that ended that opportunity. But I believe the Spirit of God was letting me know, with great certainty, that this was not God’s best, and not a wise choice for me.


In order to experience God’s wisdom and direction, we need to know Him, to know how He works and what wisdom looks like. The apostle James described that kind of wisdom: “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.” (James 3:17 NLT)

If wisdom starts with reverence for God, we need to spend time with Him. Romans 12:2 says “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” We are transformed as we focus on Christ through time in the Word and in prayer.

And the good news is, it’s not all up to us. Our generous God promises to give wisdom as we ask in faith (James 1:5-6). So I plan to ask, to see, to rely on my loving Father for wisdom, trusting Him to provide what is needed as I lean on Him. How about you?

QUESTION: Do you have a word for the year? I’ve not done this before so would love to hear of your experience and learn from you.

 “Choose my (wisdom’s) instruction rather than silver, and knowledge over pure gold. For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can be compared with it.” Proverbs 8:10-11 NLT


  1. Karen O'Connor says:

    Hi Carol: Thanks for asking about a word for the year. I’ve practiced this habit for many years. For 2018 my word is KINDNESS. I’ll be writing about it in my blog in a week or so. This practice has been very helpful to me. A I say the word daily and pray about it, I am reminded to act on it and it is then a blessing to me and I hope to those to whom I am kind.

    1. carolnl says:

      Thanks for responding, Karen. I like hearing what you’ve done for many years…wonderful. I pray mine will be a blessing to me and also to others throughout this year. Look forward to reading your blog about kindness.

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