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Pitfalls to gaining wisdom

In his book Knowing God. J.I. Packer notes the following common behaviors that keep us from receiving wisdom:

Unwillingness to think. It is false piety, super-supernaturalism of an unhealthy and pernicious sort, that demands impressions that have no rational base, and declines to heed the constant biblical summons to ‘consider’ . . . (Deut. 32:29)

Unwillingness to think ahead, and weigh the long-term consequences of alternative courses of action . . . often we can only see what is wise and right (and what is foolish and wrong) as we dwell on its long-term issues.

Unwillingness to take advice . . . it is a sign of conceit and immaturity to dispense with taking advice in major decisions. There are always people who know the Bible, human nature, and our own gifts and limitations better that we do . . .

Unwillingess to suspect oneself. We dislike being realistic with ourselves, and we do not know ourselves at all well . . . we need to ask ourselves why we ‘feel’ a particular course to be right, and make ourselves give reasons — and we shall be wise to lay the case before someone else whose judgment we trust, to give his verdict on our reasons. We need also to keep praying, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts . . ” We can never distrust ourselves too much.

Unwillingness to discount personal magnetism . . . Outstanding men are not necessarily wrong, but they are not necessarily right, either! They, and their views must be respected, but may not be idolized.

Unwillingness to wait. “Wait on the Lord” is a constant refrain in the Psalms . . . [God] is not is such a hurry as we are, and it is not His way to give more light on the future than we need for action in the present, or to guide us more than one step at a time. When in doubt, do nothing, but continue to wait on God. When action is needed, light will come.

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