Teaching Series
Wisdom That Works
Wednesday—How to Gain Velocity

Series: Wisdom That Works
Message: How to Gain Velocity
Preacher: Jenniffer Ogden
Reflection: Mark Witas
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Jessyka Dooley
Live Beyond: J. Murdock
Live Purpose: Emily Ellis
Editor: Becky De Oliveira

Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.

Read: Proverbs 2:1-22  in the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB). Note 1–3 insights or questions. 

Reflect: “Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you” (Proverbs 2:11). 

According to the Google Dictionary provided on my computer, this is how we should define discretion: “1. the quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offense or revealing private information. 2. the freedom to decide what should be done in a particular situation.”

There’s an old saying that goes, “Loose lips sink ships.” I never understood what it meant as a kid. But now I understand it to mean that when a person in the military speaks casually of a naval command’s plans, the enemy can load up and shoot a cannon ball through your galley. Maybe even through your poop deck. (Sorry, sometimes my inner fourteen-year-old comes out). 

Having discretion, keeping a secret, not having to be “in the know” because you know you can’t handle the information, is really, really, really important. (Is that too many reallys? I really don’t think so.) 

Keeping secrets is an important quality that can make or break trust. I’ve learned through the years that you should never tell a four-year-old what you got his mom for Christmas. I’ve also learned which of my friends loves gossip. I don’t tell them anything important that I want held confidential. You know who you are. 

Some secrets are so heavily guarded that even Jesus wasn’t privy to them. When asked about the Second Coming He had to shrug His shoulders and say, “Beats me!” (MRV—Mark’s Revised Version). 

On the flip side of four-year-olds and gossip are the friends who are closer than brothers, those people who can know the good, the bad, and the ugly about you and your life, who will hold your confidence and keep your secrets locked forever in the safe of their hearts. 

I have a few of these kinds of friends. I treasure them more than just about anything in my life. Discretion. If you don’t have it, go get yourself some.

Recalibrate: Have you ever betrayed a confidence? How did it make you feel? Have you ever had your confidence betrayed? How did that make you feel?

Respond: Pray these words: “Lord of truth, keep me from gossiping lips. Keep my ears from things I shouldn’t know. Keep my heart pure. Help me to keep the confidence of my friends and family.”

Research: Read Why We Gossip: It’s Really All About Ourselves by Tom Jacobs. 

Remember: “For the Lord gives wisdom and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6, NIV).

Mark Witas is the lead pastor at Sunnyside Adventist Church in Portland, Oregon.

Play Show and Tell with your little one. Invite them to bring something from their day and you bring something that will interest them from yours. Take time to listen and ask questions about your child’s item. Put everything else aside and model what listening looks like. While they will probably not be able to give you the same attention that you gave them, know that this is what Jesus does with us all the time. We listen not because we know what to do—let alone how and when and all the other stuff. We listen because we love. Cherish every opportunity to listen and love well.

We know that God will always protect and guard us, but the Bible also tells us that good sense and understanding will protect and guard us too. How do you think those things can keep you safe? Would it be good or bad sense to wear a helmet when riding your bike? Definitely good sense! What about eating just ice cream for breakfast? Although that might sound really yummy, it’s probably bad sense because you would probably have a tummy ache for the rest of the day. Can you think of any other “good sense” things that can keep you safe?

Yesterday I related the story of  mining for gold on a school field trip and how it relates to our search for wisdom. But I left something out of the story when quoting from Proverbs. You see, the verse we looked at actually goes like this,

If you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

I left the bolded part out on purpose, because maybe you wouldn’t think  looking for treasure would be worth it if all you found was the fear of the Lord! But let’s talk about that as this isn’t the first time Solomon has mentioned the fear of the Lord (and it won’t be the last!)

Fear sounds like a pretty serious thing to go looking for. And it probably isn’t high on your list of things you want to find when you search for God. Before you give up the search, think about this: do you remember the first time you got caught doing something you were so sure no one would find out about? My uncle once caught me after I’d broken the side view mirror on his car while throwing a ball around in the driveway. How could he possibly know it was me? I left no trace. And yet, he figured it out!

From that day forward, I always had a fear of my uncle. Not that I was afraid of him, but I suddenly respected how powerful he was because of his ability to see through me and know things he couldn’t have possibly known. 

It’s kind of the same with God.

Once you know what God knows, it’s hard not to see what it means to understand the fear of the Lord. God sees right through us into our every thought before we even speak it! How could you not be a little bit intimidated by that?

How do you understand the fear of the Lord? Have you ever had an experience that led you to fear and respect someone? How might thinking of God this way change how you relate to Him?

Often, when it comes to making decisions, it’s not about what is right or wrong but about what is wisest. Whether you are talking about asking someone to prom, grabbing a meal from Taco Bell, or even spending your birthday money, it is easy to go back and forth between two different options, but I have found that a good way to filter through life’s biggest questions is to ask yourself, “What is the wisest decision?” There may be times you need to go hang out with friends because you’re too preoccupied with studies, and there will be other times you have been socializing too much and you need to hunker down on your studies! Proverbs 2:1 says, “Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.” So next time you are confronted with a decision, instead of thinking about what is right or wrong, ask yourself, “What is the wisest decision?”

Zan Long is GRC director for faith development for ages 0-17. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Jessyka Dooley is assistant youth director for the Rocky Mountain Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Denver, Colorado.
J. Murdock is associate pastor at Boulder Adventist Church in Boulder, Colorado, where he focuses on youth and young adult ministry.
Emily Ellis is a senior studying theology at Walla Walla University in College Place, Washington.

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