"Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her." (Prov 4:7-8)
Do you realize the profundity in this verse? Wisdom is the principal thing! That means it should be first on your list of things to obtain.
Written by Solomon, the book of Proverbs is in the format of a counseling session between a father and a son. Solomon was granted more wisdom than any other man in history (1 Kings 3:12) and he says wisdom is better than rubies or anything else you may desire (Pr. 8:11). He can say this because he desired a lot and knows from experience that it's not as good as wisdom.
In the book of Ecclesiastes you can read about how Solomon sought after pleasure but found it to be empty (Ecc. 2:1). He indulged the party life with drinking, music, and laughter but it didn't satisfy. So since idleness and being carefree didn't give him the pleasure he hoped, like many men he poured his energies into work, thinking maybe that would bring fulfillment.
He became skilled in horticulture making vineyards, gardens, and orchards with effective irrigation for it all (Ecc 2:4-6). His wealth increased but he got depressed because he realized that when he died, all his hard work and fortune would just be inherited by someone else. "He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity." (Eccl 5:10).
Maybe relationships would fill that void? Solomon had "seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines" (1 Kings 11:2-3). You can imagine how much sex he had too, and all this did was turn his heart away from God and brought confusion to his spiritual life.
Pleasure and ease, power and fame, accomplishments from hard work, wealth, relationships and sex are all still things that people make the principal thing. But take it from a guy who's been there and done that. All these things still left his soul as barren and unsatisfied as before. Seek wisdom because it is a defense (a protective shade) and will give life to them who have it (Ecc 7:12).
In Colossians 2:3 we are told that in Jesus "are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Jesus is the source of all wisdom and happiness and it is only a personal relationship with Him which will fill the longings of your heart and leave you satisfied.
I'd like to share with you a few of the resources that have helped me become more intimately acquainted with Jesus and which have imparted wisdom in my life, particularly in the realm of relationships.
The Desire of Ages: If your spiritual life has become stagnant or you just want to keep your eyes on Him, this book will help you tremendously. After reading it you will never be the same. In the book of Haggai, the prophet refers to Jesus as the Desire of all nations (Haggai 2:7). God has implanted in the very constitution of man an inexpressible longing for Divine Love. In this book you will see as never before the love of God as revealed in His Son. Each chapter will make the life of Jesus come alive in a personal way.
Steps to Christ - If you've ever struggled to find victory in your Christian walk, this little book will direct you step by step, along the way of Christian living to that experience where you can know the fullness of blessing which is found in the complete surrender of self. It unfolds in simplicity the saving grace and the keeping power of the great Friend of all mankind. Every Christian ought to have this on hand.
Humility - During a 7 month "emotional funk" in my life when I felt like a huge failure, and felt far away from God, a friend gave me this book and my whole perspective changed. I realized God was trying to develop his character of humility in my life and instead of embracing it as the most beautiful and essential quality a disciple of Jesus should possess, I was rejecting it, feeling like I'd rather be a Pharisee who "had it all together." I didn't like feeling dependent on God but after reading this book I realized "nothing is more natural and beautiful and blessed than to be nothing, so that God may be all." (p. 9) They say "dynamite comes in small packages". There is spiritual dynamite on every page and has transformational power.
I Kissed Dating Goodbye - This book changed the course of my life. I had no idea there was anything wrong with dating and treating relationships like a recreation. This book made it clear to me that drifting from one romance to another would just leave me with a broken heart and that God had so much better for me. If you want to be challenged to entrust your love life to God, and live a life of sincere love, true purity and purposeful singleness, you will love this book. I will forever be grateful to my sister who gave it to me as a high school graduation gift. (see my story here)
Boy Meets Girl - This is an honest, romantic and refreshingly biblical look at relationships and dating with purpose. Joshua Harris will help you know how to journey from friendship to marriage while avoiding the pitfalls of traditional dating. In this book he articulates how to find a lifetime partner in a God-centered way, chaperoning romance with wisdom.
Passion and Purity is a very moving love story. But it's more than that. Elizabeth Elliot uses excerpts from her own journal in college to give a practical and honest example of how she committed her love life to God and waited upon Him. Through letters, diary entries, and memories, she shares the temptations, difficulties, victories and sacrifices of two young people whose commitment to Christ took priority over their love for each other. These revealing personal glimpses, combined with relevant biblical teaching, will remind you that only by putting your human passion and desire through His fire can God purify your love.
True Love Dates - I was expecting the author to give an "in-between" compromise between dating and courtship because on the back of the book it says, "Debra Fileta encourages singles not to "kiss dating goodbye" and instead to experience a season of dating as a way to find real love." But she doesn't really disagree with Joshua Harris. She encourages you to date with the intent of finding a spouse and gives great counsel on how to do that to the glory of God by using godly discernment and biblical wisdom. This book is very practical and well written.
Love and Respect Conference- If there's one thing you need to know in order to make a relationship work better, it's how to love and respect one another. The Bible defines love and respect as the two essential ingredients for a God-honoring marriage (Ephesians 5:33). But oddly enough, it doesn't come naturally for women to show respect to a man when she feels unloved. And it doesn't come naturally for a man to show a woman love when he feels disrespected. This material helps you know what love and respect look like practically. There are 5 DVD's with a total of 6.6 hours of dynamic teaching by Emerson and Sarah Eggerich. It's hilarious, entertaining, but very insightful and biblical.
Peacemaking for Families - When you hear the word "conflict" what do you think of? I bet the word "opportunity" doesn't come to mind, does it? This book helps you see that conflict is inevitable and normal, and provides you with an opportunity to glorify God, get logs out of your eyes, and help others grow too. This book offers hope and help when personal desires collide and peace cannot seem to be found. You will appreciate the practical, easy to remember truths including the 7 A's of confession, the 4 promises of forgiveness, knowing when and how to confront, learning to listen, the PAUSE principle of negotiation, what to do when the other party is in denial, and how to know when it's time to seek outside help. Instead of being a peace-faker and avoiding conflict, or a peace-breaker who attacks, be a peace maker and assertively seek to reconcile. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." (Matthew 5:9)
Telling Yourself the Truth - Wrong thinking produces wrong emotions, wrong reactions, wrong behavior - and unhappiness! How to handle your thoughts properly is what this book is all about. This book can show you how to identify your own misbeliefs and replace them with truth. If you are chronically struggling with depression, anxiety, fear, anger, self-control, self-hate and other emotions, get this book and begin evaluating your thought life and replace those lies with truth! The truth will set you free.
When People are Big and God is Small - Need people less. Love people more. That's the author's challenge. We all have a tendency to hold people in awe, to be controlled and mastered by them, to depend on them for what God alone can give. We live in shame that people will see the "real us" or we live in fear that people will reject us or hurt us. But, "the fear of man bringeth a snare" says Proverbs 29:25. Instead of fearing man, we must cultivate a fear of the Lord which is a believers response to His power, majesty and most of all his mercy. As you read this book you will see that your heart Is not a leaky love cup but an idol factory. You will certainly be challenged and have some dramatic paradigm shifts after reading this book.