To Read, To Think


When I was newly sober, I remember sitting in meetings and listening to people who had many many years of sobriety. Two thoughts always went through my head.

1. They are lying about how long they have been sober because, come on, really?

2. I wondered, if maybe, someday, I could also gain the wisdom they are speaking of.

Well, I have quite a few years of sobriety and while I may have gained experience and knowledge, I feel that I am still waiting on the Wisdom part.

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“She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.”Proverbs 3:15 KJV

The “She” in the passage above refers not to a woman but to wisdom. (The Hebrew word for wisdom, “chochmah”, is feminine, and therefore personified as a woman.) King Solomon considered one of the wisest people in the Bible, wrote the books of Proverbs as an educational manual for the youth of Israel. Solomon was saying that we have two choices in every situation. The correct, wise choice or the wrong, foolish choice. Deciding on the wise choice is more precious that rubies.

“Be very careful, then, how you walk—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Ephesians 5:15-17 NIV

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By gaining the knowledge of the Lord’s will for us, we also gain the wisdom to be able to walk on the wise path. Of course, we can only know what the Lord’s will for us by quieting our minds and communing with the Lord. It is by walking with the Lord that we are able to make wise choices and plant seeds for others. In my case, sitting at a meeting wanting to be as wise as the speaker, the seed was planted.

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8 ESV

However, If we start from an anti-spiritual standpoint, then we are going to come to anti-spiritual conclusions. I am reminded that some human wisdom can be at odds with the wisdom gained from the Lord. If I admire the wisdom of someone who is not walking the spiritual path, then perhaps I am falsely led.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference.” Serenity Prayer, Reinhold Niebuhr

At every meeting, we recite the Serenity Prayer. At first, I did so because I didn’t want to stand out. Soon it became a way to help me figure out what to do next. Now it is a reminder to me that I don’t always know the difference between what I can and cannot change.

“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 NIV

Photo: tlwhitaker