“What did you just say?”
I asked my friend, Jon, to repeat what he had just said on our phone call. He said, “We live in a world where there is too much information and not enough wisdom”.
The truth of Jon’s statement really hit me personally. I have dozens of books sitting on the shelf above my desk at home, many of which are on marriage and/or relationships. They include everything from books on “love languages” to how to improve physical intimacy. From those designed for pre-married couples to those who are in crisis. And I have more that I want to get on my “wish list”.
Those books contain valuable information for me as a married man or for anyone who wants to be married. But information alone will not change me OR my marriage.
You probably have a few books on your “shelf” at home as well and you may have hundreds of books on your Kindle or tablet. But if you are like me, you desire more than information. You want change. And transformational change is at the heart of the Gospel as God desires for us to grow more and more into the image of His Son, Jesus.
So how do I move from information to wisdom? How do I take the information-rich culture I live in and apply it to “skillful everyday living”? I would suggest that I must do three things with the information for it to truly have the ability to affect my life.
First, I must hold this information up against the Word of God to see if it lines up. Paul told the Berean Christians in Acts 17;11 that ,“They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.” If what we heard or read is not in alignment with the timeless Word of God, then we need to discard it. This is the first step.
But if the information I received passes the first step, then here is the second: ask the Spirit of God to help you apply that information to your everyday life. I believe one of the primary roles of the indwelling Spirit of God is to help us apply God’s Word and the information we received, so that we wisely put it to use in our daily lives.
I had a situation recently where this second step was helpful. I was listening to some great teaching by a Biblical Counselor on the importance of prayer and had even taken some steps to recruit some people to pray for those coming to our ministry for counseling. But as I heard the teaching and understood the information, the Spirit of God really convicted me that I was not praying much myself! Here I was asking others to do what I was not consistently doing myself. God wanted me, not to just know the information and share it with others, but to really put this wisdom into my own life so that the Lord could bring fruit through it.
This is “walking in the power of the Holy Spirit” and is a vital part of following Christ. As I surrender daily control of my life to Him, He helps me apply God’s wisdom to my everyday life, in both the big and small decisions.
Once we have moved through the first two steps, the final step is getting Godly counsel from those in the Body of Christ. Along with the Word of God and the Spirit of God, we need the “people of God” to help us move from information to Godly wisdom. As we seek out fellow Christ-followers and ask for their help, they can be used by God to help us practically apply information, many times sharing successes and failures from their own lives. This is the power of living in real community with others in the Body of Christ.
One of my favorite authors, Paul David Tripp, has something valuable to share related to this subject of information versus wisdom: “Insight is not change, but is the starting place for change.” The information or insight we are given is important, but it’s not the end itself, but a means to the end. When I recognized sinful anger in my own life years ago, that was God’s gracious insight for me so that I would stop hurting others through that anger. But that information alone could never change my anger. I must, by faith, take steps of humility to move toward the transformation He desires for me by applying Godly wisdom.
Three steps to move from mere information to skill for daily living. This is my challenge and your challenge in the information-rich culture we live in today.
Lord, thank You that You have us living in an age where information is readily available at the click of a button. Help me to discern, first and foremost, if this information lines up with Your Word. But also allow the Spirit of God and the Body of Christ to help me move this from mere information to wisdom and transformation in my life. Please continue to do Your work of transforming me into the Image of Your Son, Jesus. It is in His Name that I pray!
AUTHOR: Glen Solberg is a man who is passionate about marriage - his own and the marriages of those around him! He and his wife, Shawn, have been married since 1992 and have been investing in the marriages of others full-time since 2003. You can find out more by going to the About Page.
Written by Glen Solberg, Abiding Marriage, 2018. All Rights Reserved. If you have questions or suggestions, you can connect with us via our Contact Us page or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.