For I too was a son to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother. Then he taught me, and he said to me, “Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
I'm not a very good swimmer. In fact, I don't know much about swimming at all, but I have been to a number of swim meets and I've even watched Olympic swim events on TV. I've seen people compete in the backstroke, the breaststroke, the butterfly, freestyle and many other events. But you know what I have never seen? I've never seen a water treading competition. I even Googled it earlier this week and I can't find a single, major water treading competition. Why?
It's no secret that treading water doesn't get you anywhere. Apart from its use as a survival technique, it's kind of pointless. Plus, it's boring! You aren't moving forward or backward, you are simply maintaining...keeping the status quo...keeping your head above water. Who wants to watch that competition?
This pretty well sums up what many of us do in our day-to-day lives though doesn't it? We aren't really improving ourselves or increasing in knowledge or wisdom, we're just keeping our head above water. We work hard enough to pay the bills and have a little left over for fun and that's all we really want out of life. But the book of Proverbs challenges us over and over again to push for more, not in a materialistic sense, but rather for more knowledge of God, more wisdom and understanding by which we might direct our lives for His glory. This world is a tricky place to live. Jesus calls our enemy the Father of Lies for good reason (John 8:44). The Deceiver is cunning and skilled at leading us into confusion. We need God's wisdom and understanding to live life the way we were intended to and thus to enjoy our lives to the fullest!
Proverbs 8:10-11 says,
Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.
Think of the great gold rushes of the past in the United States. Men picked up, left their homes, and traveled clear across the country in search of riches. Imagine if we expended even half that effort in our studies of God's Word and His world! Proverbs 4:7 tells us to "Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding."
Assess your life. Have you grown complacent? Are you merely treading water? Heed God's advice and seek after wisdom with eagerness and urgency. Turn first to the fountain of wisdom: His Word. Pour over God's written Word in Scripture and meditate on God's revealed Word in Jesus Christ. Second seek out godly men and women who can help you understand the mysteries of God's Word and creation. Be sure not to underestimate the gift of your parents in this regard or the gift that you can be to your children. I know that some of us had parents who were flawed at best, parents who excelled at exampling what not to do. But remember God gave you those parents for a reason and we never outgrow the lessons our parents teach us, positive or negative. Rather use those lessons to guide your life, and focus your energy on instructing your children in the way of wisdom and understanding.