Motivation matters. Righteousness, for example, is not to be a casual interest; it is to be hungered and thirsted for (Matthew 5:6). A laser-like focus, a razor-sharp interest, and an insatiable appetite for wisdom are not nice sounding platitudes or over-the-top hyperbole; they are the nuts-and-bolts, the meat-and-potatoes essentials in the one who has a proper mindset towards wisdom.
In Proverbs 4:5-13, Solomon uses vibrant, vigorous, vivid verbs to describe the mindset that befits wisdom. These vivacious verbs are:
PURSUE. “Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth” (v. 5). There are some things in life that come to those who wait; wisdom is not one of them. It must be pursued.
FORSAKE NOT. “Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you” (v. 6). Loyalty matters in many areas of life. It matters if one desires to be wise.
LOVE. “Love her, and she will keep you” (v. 6). Love for wisdom does not go unrequited.
OBTAIN. “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom and in all your getting, get understanding” (v. 7). Wisdom is not a mirage or utopic illusion. Like material wealth, wisdom and understanding can be obtained and stewarded wisely.
EXALT. “Exalt her, and she will promote you; she will bring you honor, when you embrace her. She will place on your head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory she will deliver to you” (vv. 8-9). When prized properly, wisdom returns larger dividends than one’s investment.
WALK. “I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble” (vv. 11-12). Wisdom has continuous, practical application to one’s life where “the rubber hits the road”.
EMBRACE. “Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go” (v. 13). The proper response to wisdom is not a polite or formal handshake; it is a passionate embrace that refuses to relinquish.
KEEP. “Keep her, for she is your life” (v. 13). To let go of wisdom is to agree to spiritual suicide.
Now that you know what the proper motivation for wisdom looks like; do you have it?