Listen to advice and accept instruction,that you may gain wisdom in the future.
(Proverbs 19:20 ESV)

To seek wisdom is necessarily to look to the future. Any young (or relatively young) person claiming to be wise is more likely to simply be arrogant.

A clear sign of such arrogance is not heeding advice from others. This needn’t be restricted to important, profound or religious things. Accepting instruction is as simple as actually doing what the person in the hardware shop told me was the best way to do a job. Listening to advice extends even to a man asking for directions when clueless regarding where he has transported his family to.

Notice also that this proverb exhorts face-to-face verbal learning. Technology may have changed a little over the 3000 years since  Proverbs 20:19 was written, but they certainly knew how to read and write. Yet it says “listen to advice and accept instruction”. An important element in learning wisdom is the humility to admit to others that I am ignorant, to actually ask for instructions (or directions).

I’m often too proud to admit I don’t know what I’m doing so have become proficient at finding information on the internet or in books to help me feign wisdom. But all I actually gain is knowledge (which puffs up, 1 Corinthians 8:1), and feed my pride.

The seeker after wisdom asks another person for advice, not a book or website. They accept their limited knowledge, accept instructions and sow the seeds to gain wisdom in the future. Wisdom encompasses all areas of life. What will I do today to lay the foundations of wisdom?

Think of wisdom like good coffee – instant just won’t do!