Like nitroglycerin, what the word “if” lacks in size, it makes up for in potency. The pursuit of wisdom is not a trivial one; its possession is not accidental. The promise it offers—”Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:5), is conditional upon some might big “ifs”—”My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures” (Proverbs 2:1-4).
The conditions of wisdom are sobering and challenging:
- A mindset of meekness that receives the words of one who is wise;
- A value system that recognizes the authority of wisdom and prizes its commandments;
- An ear that is attentively tuned to wisdom’s voice and is disinterested in the noise of foolishness;
- A heart that diligently seeks understanding;
- A sense of extreme urgency in the pursuit of discernment and wisdom;
- A passionate search for the precious commodity called wisdom.
Lip service and lethargic indifference will never result in wisdom. You gotta wanna.