Can a person truly walk in wisdom if all they ever want in life are positive, uplifting messages from God? There are those today who say that the church should not be negative - should not issue rebukes, corrections, and most of all should not dwell on the whole issue of sin. "Let's be positive," is their cry - and when we are, people will come back to the church!
There is a fundamental problem with this view of things. It completely ignores that whole, "fall of mankind" thing. The reason Christianity cannot be "all positive, all the time" is because man is a fallen creature given to rebellion and walking in ways that are destructive and damning. At some point the honest among us are going to have to address the fundamental flaw in human nature. If men were naturally disposed to honoring and glorifying God, this would not be necessary. But the facts are that the heart is deceitful and desperately sick - that there is none who have done good, not even one - and that unless we repent we will all likewise perish. Man is not a naturally wise creature - unless you count being wise in his own eyes.
Wisdom is personified in Proverbs quite often. Wisdom shouts in the streets, calls out in the square seeking to get our attention. What does she say? Her first words are not exactly positive. She calls mankind "naive ones" as well as "simple-minded." She refers to the inhabitants of this globe as "scoffers" and "fools." The reason this does not sound positive is because it isn't. The Bible is not into any kind of a positive confession type of tripe - instead it is honest about the condition of man. As a result, her first command is issued here in verse 23.
Turn to my repoof. That is her first command to mankind. If we are going to be wise, it will require us to turn from our present selfish and self-centered ways and turn to the reproof of true wisdom. Wisdom will require reproof - correction - rebuke. We need to grasp that our current fleshly thinking is foolish and stupid. Wisdom will not enter our hearts unless we first unseat the poser who sits there presently. That is us. We need to lay aside human wisdom and that which parades as understanding - and choose to conform our thinking to God's ways and paths.
Here is a truth that will help you gain wisdom every day. Say it to yourself several times before you leave your home for the day. "If I disagree with God's Word, I am wrong!" Wisdom calls to us and tells us that something wonderful awaits those who accept reproof. But the person who in pride refuses to admit that he is wrong - that person will remain mired in the foolishness of his own ways.
What happens when we turn to God's reproof? Here is something wonderful! He pours out His Spirit upon us. Did you know that the Holy Spirit is the personification of wisdom! He wants us to turn from foolishness - so He can be poured out upon us - and so that He can teach us. Each time we turn from self and the wisdom of this world, the Holy Spirit is waiting to make known God's words to us. Here is a shocker - wisdom is found when the God's Spirit is poured out on us and we come to know the Word of God. In that moment we know wisdom.
The way of wisdom is the way of correction and reproof. We cannot become wise until we embrace humility. We cannot become wise until we respect and honor God's Word above all other sources of truth. We cannot become wise unless God in His mercy pours out His Spirit and opens our minds to the truth of His words. When this happens, we'll know the truth - and see that truth corrects us and turns us to the right thinking and the right path. The path to wisdom may not start positive - but when the Spirit of God begins to reveal truth and wisdom to us - it surely ends positive. Be open to God's reproof - to His correction - knowing that when we turn to Him - an abundance of truth and righteousness will be our reward.