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- Jacob Ninan
Life has 'n' dimensions to it, and n is not a small number! A part of wisdom is to gain understanding of more of these dimensions. Wisdom is not mere knowledge. We may have much knowledge but hardly any wisdom. God tells us that true wisdom comes only from the 'fear of God' (Pr.15:33) which is to respect and revere Him. When we respect God like that, it shows us in comparison who we are, that we are nothing and nobodies except what He has given us and made of us. That is the basis of true wisdom.
When we are young and we are full of knowledge about different things including theology it is possible for us to imagine that we are somebody. But knowledge of the n dimensions does not come from mere study, but usually through years of experience including lots of failures. We could even say that someone who sincerely wanted to live in the fear of God but made a lot of mistakes in the process has actually gained more true knowledge than others who have many theological degrees. Such a person has learned the right and the best thing to do in different circumstances, perhaps after getting burnt with many mistakes. But such a man has also become willing to acknowledge his ignorance and learn from anyone else including younger ones (Pr.9:9).
The gray hair does not always imply wisdom, because we get wisdom depending on how we have sought after it (Pr.4:7;2:4,5). Who seeks for wisdom but one who recognises that he lacks it and needs it? When we are young and zealous we may imagine that we know it all! Then we don't need anyone to teach us or correct us, because our excitement about what we have learnt makes us think we can't be wrong! We are eager to proclaim our knowledge and correct others, and we are hardly thinking of learning anything ourselves! But then we fall, and our balloon of self-esteem bursts. If we don't give up there but acknowledge that we were wrong (at least we didn't know about some of the n dimensions), that will take us on the path to wisdom.
There are things we can learn by gathering up knowledge, even from the Bible, and we can imagine they are so clear to us! But the fact of life is that there are things we can only learn from experience. For example, from a course of theology we can learn about temptations and sin. But it is only by going through actual temptations in life that we learn how to actually face them. Then we find that there are things we learn through experience that are not written there in the Bible! We may try to argue with an experienced man by quoting verses from the Bible, but we may not realise that there are truths that God reveals to His people beyond the written word, e.g., about more of the n dimensions and their linkages which are not contrary to scripture but which are not specifically spelt out in the Bible.
However experienced we are, we need to realise that we really know so little compared to what is to be learnt. Let us be willing to learn and even receive correction.