Biblical wisdom is designed to protect lives. As the Proverbs teach, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, fools despise wisdom. Wisdom is not neutral or passive. Wisdom thrives on passion and love for God. Wisdom without passion is useless.
Joseph demonstrated a passionate love for wisdom when Potiphar’s wife attempted to seduce him. The woman provocatively grabbed Joseph’s clothing with such force that it was clear that only one thing was on her mind. Joseph’s response was also swift and passionate. He tore himself away, leaving her holding on to his cloak.
Such a passionate response is not simply an academic decision. Joseph’s response was like Job’s. Job feared God and shunned evil. Wisdom driven by passion protected Joseph. This same dynamic is true for your children. If there is not a passionate desire for wisdom, they will not be protected from evil.
These three factors protected Joseph:
- A passionate love of wisdom—so much so that Joseph was driven to flee from the grip of sexual temptation.
- Joseph was passionate about honoring God. If something was not righteous, it was morally repugnant to him.
- Joseph was intensely aware of God’s presence in his life.
Without these things being active in the hearts of your children they will be easy prey for the temptations of sexual sin.
Joseph knew that God was present with him. God was not an abstract idea that his parents believed in. Joseph was aware of the very presence of God in his everyday life. God was real to him. Joseph knew it was foolish even to consider sinning when he was always in the presence of God (Proverbs 5:21).
The Proverbs teach that wisdom is a choice. It is a choice to do what brings honor to God as opposed to yourself. It is a choice not so much based on following a rule, but a choice to honor the integrity of God. To be wise is to live by principle. Wisdom is not checking an approved list of do’s and don’ts. Wisdom is making a choice that resonates with a heart given over to God.
This was the choice that Joesph made. His passion for God was greater than the temptations of lust. Live this reality out before your children. Let them see your passion for God’s wisdom. Only the passionate pursuit of wisdom will lead to life.
This heart perspective is what underlies Proverbs 8:35-36. The warning of this passage is sobering. Failing to find wisdom leads to death. The passage is written as if wisdom is speaking:
For whoever finds me finds life
and receives favor from the Lord.
But whoever fails to find me harms himself,
All who hate me love death.