Becoming a wise person is objectively the most important thing in your life. Since it is that important, it is wonderful that there are ways to pursue and gain a wise heart. The book of Proverbs is a training manual in basic wisdom. It spends the first nine chapters making the case that you should pursue wisdom above wealth and honor and fulfillment of appetites. Foremost it tells us that ‘The Fear of the LORD’ is the beginning of wisdom. There is no real wisdom without connecting to the one from whom, to whom and through whom all things exist, and we connect to God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
In that context, Psalm 16 is a wonderful commentary on the journey of a wise heart. It gives five key insights into the path of wisdom.
Insight #1 – Truth
‘All the ways of a man are pure in His own eyes, but the LORD weighs the Spirit.’ (Proverbs 16:2)
At the beginning of the journey for wisdom is truth. We often ascribe to ourselves pure motives, but whether in our professional or personal lives, we should cultivate some level of suspicion about ourselves. This distrust of our own motives is not a guarantee that we will find the truth, but it is a natural corrective against our single greatest blindness. That blindness is how our love of ourselves and our natural self centeredness keeps us from seeing the world and our situation rightly.
Insight #2 –Contentment
‘Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice.’ (Proverbs 16:8)
We all fight against a natural bent of greed. Just as our self-love can blind us to the truth, greed can blind us as to the path of justice and righteousness. The antidote for this is a contentment with what we have, and a confidence that doing what is right with a clear conscience is better than sacrificing principle for the sake a of big sale or stolen honor.
‘A just balance and scales are the LORD’s; all the weights in the bag are his work.’ (Proverbs 16:11)
If we have a content heart, then we can resist the temptation to cheat to our advantage. Dishonest scales speak to any way of misrepresenting value for personal profit in the marketplace. A content heart will care more about carrying out just transactions and plain dealing with people than shading the truth to gain an unlawful edge—whether that comes from PED’s in sports or a misleading ad campaign or warranty you have no intention of honoring.
‘Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.’ (Proverbs 16:18)