Junior high. The place where we transitioned to adolescence with pimply faces and few social skills. A time when it wasn’t cool to listen to authority. When sarcasm and spite peppered our speech. We thought we knew it all. Now—after 20, 30 or 40 years—many of us look back with regret on some of the choices we made then. We still wince when we remember the wounds we received from cutting words; we still wince when we remember the wounds we inflicted on others. What was missing during that season of life? Could it have been wisdom?
Actually, wisdom was there all the time, but we probably ignored it. When we allow wisdom to go unheeded, we’re like a teenager stuck in perpetual puberty. In Proverbs 1, Solomon describes the unwise as those who “delight in mockery” (verse 22), reject help (verse 24) and ignore advice (verse 25). It sounds like Solomon knew more than a few spiritual adolescents, doesn’t it?
He goes on to say that those who reject God’s knowledge will “eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes” (verse 31). In other words, we will reap what we sow, or in popular jargon, “we’ll get what we deserve.” Wisdom’s warning is appropriate for all of us, regardless of our age.
Where are you on your spiritual journey? Are you stuck in perpetual spiritual puberty? Here are a few signs: You constantly worry about what others think of you. You overreact to stressful situations. You’re too proud or stubborn to listen to those older and wiser. You stay with one group and ridicule others. If you’ve found yourself in perpetual puberty, then seek wisdom.
God’s wisdom isn’t reserved for a few scholars; it’s available to everyone. Wisdom is found in the book that holds eternal truth—God’s Word. According to Solomon, wisdom comes from listening to God (one of the most frequent commands in the Old Testament) and obeying him. Wisdom comes from letting the Holy Spirit live within you. Wisdom grows when, “like newborn babies, [you] crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:2–3). If you’re stuck in spiritual adolescence, listen, learn and grow spiritually mature.
You refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand . . . you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke.