Christian Living

Wisdom vs. Technique

Author Melinda Penner Published on 09/20/2013

You may know that one of the topics Greg teaches on is “Decision Making and the Will of God.” Greg shows that the Bible teaches us not to listen for God’s voice in order to make decisions, but to develop wisdom. (If you’re not familiar with it, you can read out it here.)

Nancy Guthrie make a good observation the common practice of hearing God’s voice to give us guidance:

Does it really make a difference when we expect God to speak to us through the Scriptures rather than waiting to hear a divine voice in our heads? I think it does.

When we know that God speaks personally and powerfully through his Word, we don’t have to feel that our relationship to Christ is sub-par, or that we are experiencing a less-than Christian life if we don’t sense God giving us extra-biblical words of instruction or promise. When we know God speaks through his Word we are not obligated to accept—indeed, we can be appropriately skeptical toward—claims by any book, teacher, preacher, or even friend when they write or say, “God told me...” We don’t have to wait until we hear God give us the go-ahead before we say “yes” or “no” to a request or make a decision. We can consult the Scriptures and rest in the wisdom and insight the Holy Spirit is developing in us and feel free to make a decision.

We’ve heard from many people over the years after they’ve heard Greg teach on this that they are relieved because they thought something was wrong with their relationship with God because they didn’t hear Him.

I think there’s a further problem when someone is waiting to hear God’s voice. They never engage in the activity the Bible does teach is meant to help us make good decisions—becoming virtuous and wise people. By focusing on a technique rather than becoming the kind of people who know how to apply Scripture to our decisions, Christians don’t grow into the kinds of people Proverbs describes.

I heard a quote by C.S. Lewis recently that summed this point up:

For the wise men of old, the cardinal problem of human life was how to conform the soul to objective reality, and the solution was wisdom, self-discipline, and virtue. For the modern, the cardinal problem is how to conform reality to the wishes of man, and the solution is a technique.

We need to be focused on trying to become virtuous, wise people rather than learning a technique the Bible doesn’t teach.