By Lydia L. Riley
”Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” Proverbs 14:1
If you had the privilege of growing up in Sunday School or have worked in children’s ministries, I am sure many of you remember the song about the wise and the foolish man ... This song is based on the story Jesus told about two very different men — “The wise man built his house upon the Rock (and the rains came down, and the floods came up) and the house on the rock stood firm!” * Make sure you are providing all the hand motions now! * However — “The foolish man built his house upon the sand (and the rains came tumbling down)—and the house on the sand went “splat!”
This story of Jesus and simple children’s song remind us of the importance of the foundation of our lives — Jesus is our Rock upon which we are to build — “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” I Corinthians 3:11
The Bible has so much to say about wisdom; here are some verses that have intrigued me in my personal devotions. Proverbs 9:1 states, “Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:” Have you ever wondered about what these seven pillars might be? We have our foundation to begin building upon, Jesus Himself! But where do we go from there when building our “house?” (We can apply this “house” to our personal life, our family life, or our home.)
I believe God gives us the answer in His Word. Interestingly enough, in the New Testament, when James is writing his epistle, (on a side note, he is mentioned by Paul as a “pillar” in the church at Jerusalem) he gives us the Bible definition of “wisdom” under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit with seven elements, when breaking the verse into sections using the provided commas! James 3:17 states, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
Do you desire to build a life of beauty and grace? Do you desire a home built where others can marvel at the grace of God? Pillars on any structure can add such a depth of architecture amazement and even magnificence; beyond the beauty, pillars provide strength and stability for other layers built upon them.
As a mother of young adult children, I want my life and what I have built in Christ to be strong enough to sustain the growth of future generations. “That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; That our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace.” (Psalm 144:12) These seven pillars of wisdom, I believe, are key in fulfilling these desires! Let us look a little bit at each “pillar” as we work on our building skills together:
First—the wisdom from above is pure...The Webster definition of this word is “unmixed with any other matter (as in pure gold), free from dust, dirt, or taint, spotless, stainless, free from harshness or roughness and being in tune—used of a musical tone.” Only Jesus’ Blood can make us pure, spotless, and stainless!
Are we unmixed from any other worldly matter with our hearts fully united to the Lord? Are we living in a state of continual obedience and repentance—daily and hourly keeping the dirt and dust of the world from tainting our actions, appearance, and attitudes? What about “free from harshness and roughness?” Are we showing purity to the world by simply being “in tune” with our Lord to produce a pure sound from the instrument of our life?
Then, there is the second principle of wisdom — peaceable... “disposed to peace: not contentious or quarrelsome, quietly behaved, marked by freedom from strife or disorder.” There is a quietness and order in a life of wisdom—this can be found by living our lives according to God’s Word. I Timothy 2:2 states, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” And Romans 12:18 says, “as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”
Thirdly, another attribute of wisdom is being gentle... “chivalrous, honorable, distinguished, kind, amiable, free from harshness, sternness, or violence, soft, delicate, moderate.” The definition speaks for itself — am I a Christian known to be gentle in my words and actions? Do I consider the way in which I present truth to truly help the person with whom I am speaking or with whom I am dealing? As wise women, we must make sure we are kind and gentle to others. Does my family and those closest to me see me treating them with gentle consideration?
A fourth pillar I can add while building my life and home and family as a wise woman is with the art of being easy to be intreated... Do I “fly off the handle?” Is it easy for one to reason with me? (Intreat means to plead with, especially in order to persuade.)
I picture the spiritual leaders in my life as those who would intreat me -- for example: my pastor with each message he gives from the pulpit, my pastor’s wife or older godly ladies who care about me and approach me about something in my life that needs to be fixed, and so on. Can those whom God has placed in authority in my life easily approach me with these entreaties? Am I willing to be submissive and change my life when a problem or sin surfaces?
Fifthly, is my life full of mercy and good fruits? Notice the word “full.” Is my life full of being compassionate to others in their offenses? Full of showing favor and blessing? Full of compassionate treatment to those in distress? Is my life full of good fruits? “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance:” says Galatians 5:22-23.
A sixth pillar to strengthen my life as I seek to build as a wise woman is a life without partiality. It is so easy to be inclined to favor one person more than the other or to be biased in our opinions. Let us strive to allow the Lord to help us to live a life like Himself. He sends rain on the just and the unjust.
His Word says in Luke 6:32-35 “For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.”
How do I treat those who I know can do absolutely nothing for me in return? Let us purpose to show love to the unlovely and to be fair and impartial in our dealings.
Finally, the seventh principle of wisdom to ask myself— is my life without hypocrisy? A hypocrite is an actor; they are not real! Hypocrisy is feigning to be what one is not. Do not act like a Christian, be a Christian! Do not be religious—have a real relationship with Jesus! If you make a mistake, ask forgiveness and begin again! Do not live a play-act — be real, be genuine; we must not let hypocrisy permeate any part of our lives!
As women, we can often stumble into the snare of flattery (also a form of hypocrisy). Give genuine compliments from your heart. Do not give out empty flattery just to make someone else feel good. Live a life of transparent honesty and integrity.
I believe these seven pillars of wisdom are enough to keep me busy working until Jesus comes! “Wisdom hath builded her house; she hath hewn out her seven pillars...” “Hew” means to “make cutting blows: to conform strictly” ... It is going to take some effort!
As we seek to be truly wise women, let us cut out the things that displease the Lord and be strict on ourselves to conform to His Biblical definition of wisdom! The rewards are eternal and will be evidenced in the final verse of the children’s song: “The blessings will come down while the prayers go up! So build your life on the Lord Jesus Christ!”