In a world where we can access more knowledge in a few seconds than the average person a few decades ago had access to in a lifetime, wisdom is in short supply. Godly wisdom is even more rare. As a result, your Bible students can easily misconstrue other less helpful things as wisdom – like tech savvy or well worded arguments disguising foolishness as wisdom. It is critical to spend time in Bible classes and mentoring conversations teaching young people how to recognize wisdom (and foolishness) and react to it as God would want them to do.
You may have gotten to the point where you have actually begun to doubt your own ability to recognize wisdom in a world of cleverly disguised foolishness. Here are some great tools to use to teach young people how to find the godly wisdom in our world.
- Scripture. All wisdom flows from God, but even people who don’t believe in God can stumble onto God’s wisdom without realizing it. The key here is actively seeking God’s wisdom placed throughout scripture, as well as His definition of the wisdom that may be found in the world, but is ultimately from Him. James 3 has a great definition of godly wisdom – pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. If something doesn’t meet those qualifications, it isn’t godly wisdom. Period. Proverbs and James are two great, kid and teen friendly books of the Bible that have lots of great information about wisdom, as do the teachings of Jesus and the other books of the New Testament.
- Prayer. How many times have you actually prayed for wisdom? Probably a lot since you are a Bible class teacher. How many times have your young Bible students prayed for wisdom? Do they even know it is something that should be high on their “prayer request” list? James 1:5-8 is a great starting point for that discussion, as well as the story of Solomon asking God for wisdom.
- People with both knowledge of scripture and Christian life experience. There are old Christians and then there are wise old Christians. Scripture is very clear that young people should seek wisdom from their elders in the Church (meaning older people, not just those in the position of Elder). We live in a world, however, that screams that older people are idiots. It takes training to convince young people that listening to the wisdom of older people isn’t necessarily totally foolproof, but will usually save them a lot of time and heartache and is more likely to keep them closer to God. Train your students to ask older, wiser Christians for advice, but also ask those people why they believe their advice is good. If it matches the description in James, then it is probably in their best interest to heed the advice – even if it sounds a bit “weird” or “old fashioned” to them.
- Logical fallacies and apologetics. Young people often fall prey to the foolishness of the world because they don’t know scripture well (comprehension as well as knowledge) and they can’t recognize a logical fallacy when they hear or read one. Granted, even Christians can use logical fallacies, but hopefully when they do so the actual original statement is still biblical and godly – passing the scripture test. When the world uses logical fallacies, the root statement will not align with scripture much of the time. Teach your students logical fallacies are a yellow flag that the root of the argument needs to be carefully compared to scripture before they accept it as true.
- Humility. Youth comes with at least a bit of arrogance in most cases. Spend a lot of time helping your students understand the critical importance of humility in their lives. Give them praise when they act humbly and encouragement to make better choices when arrogance is apparent in their tone, eye rolls, attitudes or words.
Taking the time to help your students recognize wisdom will also help them recognize – and accept – God’s Truths. It is a critical Christian life skill they will need your help learning and practicing.