You know that person. The wise one. It may be a friend, a parent, a pastor, or someone that you’ve thought about asking for help in a critical time. The one who seldom gives advice or opinions, but when asked, provides steady, astute and sage counsel.

What does it take to be a person of wisdom? How can we make wise decisions?

Spend time with God in prayer. Direction in life is often found in quiet moments of reflection with God. Life is noisy, and we do well when we shut out the clatter and, in quiet solitude, ask the Lord for his guidance and wisdom.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
— James 1:5

Spend time with people that spend time with God. As we engage wise people, we benefit from their life experiences and their understanding of God. These people offer carefully considered words that instill confidence and peace. If you hunger for wisdom, sit among wise people and listen. And listen closely, as I’ve noticed that the wisest people are seldom the loudest talkers.

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
— Proverbs 15:22

Spend time with God in his Word. There is no substitute for Scripture in our search for wisdom. The roadmap of life is filled with shortcuts, detours, distractions and closures. When facing a fork in the road or a dead end, the Bible often provides clarity and confidence in moving forward. It may provide guidance for only the next step and not the final destination, but each step increases our faith and our wisdom.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
— Psalm 119:105

The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
— Psalm 19:7

Spend time in review of your life. Wisdom is increased when we live purposefully. It is deepened when we honestly and deeply evaluate our journey. These days, information is only a click away. Knowledge can be bought, but wisdom is gained on the installment plan of life choices — heroic, cowardly, harmful, selfish, well-meaning, and even terrible choices. And all of our choices to this point can provide guidance as we consider our decisions, today and tomorrow. Many people get an annual review in their job to evaluate past performance, plan future advancement, and objectively measure successes and failures. Should we do no less in our lives?

The one who gets wisdom loves life; the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper.
— Proverbs 19:8

Sometimes, we just have to make a decision. When sitting on the fence about a decision, the most uncomfortable place is on the top! We may be unsure as to the outcome, but if we have pursued wise counsel, sought the Lord in prayer and through his Word, and weighed the potential outcomes with patient deliberation, we may need to step out in faith. Whether it is the right decision or the wrong one, we will know shortly, and can make course corrections as needed. Often, it is the stumbles of yesterday that teach us to walk well today.

Wisdom is the timely and able application of truth and knowledge to life situations, gained from an honest and diligent appraisal of life experiences, counsel and divine inspiration. The church needs people growing in wisdom. Classrooms, offices and courtrooms need incisive decision makers. Our families need steady, consistent and prudent leadership. Consider this a challenge to pursue wisdom today!