People should grow smarter and wiser as they get older, right? The notion of gaining wisdom through age and experience is nothing new, nor is it specific to any particular culture. There’s a reason why the average age of world leaders today is 62 years old. Indeed, even within Christian culture, we look to those with gray hair as having a special crown of wisdom.

When I was reading the book of Job today, I thought about Elihu, and what he said to Job and his three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.

So Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said: “I am young in years, and you are old; that is why I was fearful, not daring to tell you what I know.

Job 32:6 (NIV)

When people get older they sometimes think that there is an automatic reward of wisdom. We see the trope evidenced in television and cinema when young children look upon younger children thinking they know more, and teenagers upon younger children into adulthood and through the years.

We should gain wisdom as we go through life. We should learn as we go along.

What does this “wisdom” we gain look like? It looks very different in the world than it does within the body of Christ. Those popular tropes of “wise” children looking back on their younger years tell us we should learn from our mistakes. I see this as a common denominator of wisdom in Christianity and within the world. It’s why we laugh when we see a child on television looking back on their youth and thinking about how much they’ve grown. This is worldly wisdom.

If we look at what the Bible says about wisdom we can glean that fearing the Lord is wisdom. We can consider this type of wisdom Godly wisdom. When the Lord said to Solomon, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you” Solomon didn’t ask for wisdom (1 Kings 3:5 NIV).

“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

1 Kings 3:7-9 (NIV)

Solomon asked for a discerning heart. In Hebrew, the word Solomon used for discerning is “shama.” This means “to hear intelligently.”

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10 (NIV)

And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.” Job 28:28 (NIV)

When we read these two verses from Proverbs and Job we see that, in Proverbs, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. How is that different from what it says here in Job 28:28? Many people believe in God and His awesome majesty. Some of them are called Christians while others are not. I believed in God before I was a Christian. I believed He was the creator of all things. However, that was as far as I went except for blaming Him for everything bad that happened.

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-and shudder.

James 2:19 (NIV)

If fearing God is the beginning of wisdom then is that Godly wisdom? Is that shama? Discerning between right and wrong? Good and evil?

In Job, Elihu kept quiet out of respect for Job and the other men who were older than he. While acknowledging that age and wisdom walked together, Elihu had this to say about understanding.

But it is the spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding.

Job 32:8 (NIV)

Therefore, it is possible to have wisdom, perhaps even “Godly” wisdom, discerning right from wrong, without understanding. I think it better to call this sort of wisdom Earthly, or worldly, wisdom. Within the kingdom of God, there is only one right and one wrong. However, within the world, there are shades of gray between what is right and what is wrong. Hence, the differentiation between Godly wisdom and worldly wisdom.

When Job says shunning evil is understanding we’re seeing evidence of using the fear, the knowledge, of God, accurately.

Before Jesus was crucified, He told the disciples about the One who was to come after Him.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

John 16:13 (NIV)

This is the Holy Spirit. It is this Spirit that Elihu is referring to in Job.

This is the same spirit that is available to all who believe without any restriction on age.

Because it’s the Spirit that gives understanding, and all of those who are saved have access to the Holy Spirit, then physical age is no longer a prerequisite to Godly wisdom.

We need to rely upon the Holy Spirit and be guided by love, being aware that any age of Believer can instruct us in the ways of God. I believe there are many younger people, both in physical age and in their time as a Christian, who might believe the lie that “they don’t know anything” because they are young. However, we’ve seen today that it is Holy Spirit, not our own age or experience, that uses the knowledge we receive to grant understanding. Certainly, if God can use a donkey to speak to Balaam, then He can use Christians of any age to deliver His message.

Do you know God? God knows you and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.