vs. Natural Inclinations
Seeing and responding to life’s situations from God’s frame of reference

Key Verse

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”
Proverbs 9:10

The operational definition of wisdom is “seeing and responding to life’s situations from God’s frame of reference.” A frame of reference is the way someone thinks about life, which affects how he responds to people and situations. A person tends to think and act based on his culture, experiences, education, and view of God. As you mature, you will find that others have different frames of reference and have information that you do not. For example, if a boy discovers that his bike is missing, he might run into the house, crying that his bike was stolen. However, if his mother tells him that the neighbor is borrowing the bike, he is relieved. Similarly, God’s greater knowledge and perspective can help us to better understand and respond to the situations we encounter. Ultimately, no one but God has full knowledge. To those who ask, He promises to give wisdom that is “pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17).

Like a satellite’s view of the earth, God has a greater perspective on life. He can be trusted to give us wisdom to respond well to life’s situations.
Like a tunnel offering a narrow view, our human perspective is limited to our own experiences and knowledge. Without God’s wisdom, we readily act according to our natural inclinations.

The opposite of wisdom is natural inclinations. Natural inclinations are usually impulsive actions or thoughtless reactions. Without considering God’s perspective, a person does what is “right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). He lives carelessly and foolishly, as though God does not exist. One who is governed by his natural inclinations tends to gratify his desires and disregard rules and correction. He does not care how his actions may affect others. Society reinforces this self-centered attitude through social media, television, movies, and books. In time, a person who follows his impulses will develop sinful patterns of thinking and behavior. James 3:14–16 describes this mindset as “earthly, sensual, devilish,” leading to confusion and evil.

Evaluation Questions

  • Am I reading and meditating on God’s Word daily so that my thoughts align with His perspective?
  • Do I look for ways to apply the truths that I learn in the Bible?
  • Before making a choice, do I carefully consider the potential consequences to myself and others?
  • Do I seek insights for life as I observe nature and the world around me?
  • Beyond learning at school, am I learning from situations around me?
  • Am I grateful for those who love me enough to reprove and correct me?Am I aware that God sees and hears everything that I do and say?
  • When making a difficult decision, do I seek counsel from wise people?
  • Would others say that I am teachable?

More About Wisdom

“Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise....But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.”
C. H. Spurgeon
Transformation results as we behold the Lord and yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). As we see God’s character through testimonies in Scripture, we grow in our understanding and obedience to His Word. Here are ten aspects of Wisdom with supporting verses found in God’s Word.

God enables me to:


Listen to my parents and teachers.

“Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.” Proverbs 4:1 “A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.” Proverbs 13:1

Welcome correction and change my ways.

“A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.” Proverbs 15:5

Keep company with wise people.

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” Psalm 1:1

Ask, “Will this please the Lord?”

“Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.” I Thessalonians 4:1

See His perspective.

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.” Ephesians 1:17–18

Remember that choices have consequences.

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7 “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk; the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.” Hosea 8:7

Continue learning.

“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.” Proverbs 1:5

Love His Word.

“The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. . . . More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” Psalm 19:8, 10

Fear Him.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.” Psalm 111:10

Apply His ways.

“Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Philippians 4:9

Wisdom in Scripture

Three Generations Study God’s Word

“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
II Timothy 3:14–15
During the Apostle Paul’s first missionary journey, he visited the city of Lystra. As the Gospel spread in Lystra, many trusted in Christ, including a youth named Timothy; his Jewish mother, Eunice; and his grandmother, Lois. Before hearing the Gospel, Timothy’s mother and grandmother had faithfully brought him up in their Jewish faith. Now they knew their true Messiah, Jesus, and continued to grow in the Lord. When Paul returned to Lystra, the other believers spoke highly of Timothy. Welcoming Timothy as his son in the faith, Paul invited the young man to travel with him. Timothy learned much from Paul, who discipled him. As time passed and Timothy grew spiritually, Paul believed the young man was ready to lead the church in Ephesus. During Paul’s travels, he wrote a letter to Timothy, warning him of false teachers and instructing him regarding pastoral responsibilities. Four years passed while Paul continued to evangelize. One day, from a cold, dirty prison, he wrote a second letter to Timothy. Aware that the end of his life was near, the aged apostle was eager to see his disciple one more time. What wisdom would Paul impart to Timothy? Why would it be vital for Timothy to continue studying and learning from God’s Word?

Revealed in Nature

Great Horned Owl

The ears of the great horned owl allow it to “see” from a second perspective. The owl’s ears are offset so that it can hear in all directions. This allows an owl to recognize and track its prey using only the sounds of footsteps.

For Kids

Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum

The Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum uses examples from the lives of men and women in the Bible whose walk with God resulted in good character or whose lack of faith produced poor character. Through this study, children are encouraged to study and obey God’s Word so they know how to act wisely in everyday situations.

View the Wisdom booklet sample:

Get the complete Wisdom booklet with all four lessons & activities:

Free Resources for Wisdom

Enjoy these selections from the Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum that are fun and memorable!

Bible Story Coloring Page
Verse & Definition Word Search
Related Hymn Sheet Music
“Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much; wisdom is humble that he knows no more.”
William Cowper