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The Alex McFarland Show-37-The Characteristics of a Wise Person

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland
The Truth Network Radio
December 28, 2022 8:00 pm

The Alex McFarland Show-37-The Characteristics of a Wise Person

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland

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December 28, 2022 8:00 pm

The Bible has no shortage of things to say about the importance of wisdom. Proverbs 3:5-6 promises Christians that if we submit our lives to God’s wisdom and leadership, then He will keep our paths straight. On today’s episode of the Alex McFarland Show, Alex unpacks that scripture along with others, to help listeners gain a clear understanding of what godly wisdom looks like in the lives of believers. Tune in to hear the significance of stewarding the mind, and the characteristics of a wise person. 

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The spiritual condition of America, politics, culture, and current events, analyzed through the lens of scripture.

Welcome to the Alex McFarland Show. Proverbs 3, verses 5 and 6 is a scripture that I've shared with so many people over the years. It says very famously, Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Hi, Alex McFarland here. And as I record this particular show, I want to talk about the discipline of wisdom. And the reason I'm doing this is because, for my own benefit, and hopefully for the benefit of listeners, you know, as one year draws to a close and another year looms before us, should the Lord give us another year. You know, it's important to come back to the things that really matter most, that are the cornerstones, the anchors of life. And I've shared with literally thousands of young people over the years this verse that really for Angie and me has become kind of our life motto, Proverbs 3, 5, and 6. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him. Acknowledge God in all that you do, and what your priorities are, and your plans, and every day. And really like Matthew 6, 33 says in the New Testament, seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.

When you acknowledge the Lord in all of your ways, what a promise of Proverbs 3, 6, that he will direct your paths. Now Proverbs 3, that chapter really deals with wisdom. And not just intellect or being smart, but wisdom. Now what is wisdom? We're going to talk about that, and I want to share some research from Jordan Peterson about the mind and IQ. And I'm going to talk about how I believe potentially Christians that are indwelt by the Spirit of God and feeding on the Word of God, a born-again Christian potentially can increase their IQ. Now I'll come back to that, but let's define wisdom in this way, because if ever there were a time to live wisely, and to choose wisely, and to have priorities that are in line with God, and not only to seek to be pleasing to the Lord, but to be blessed by God, to be in a place where God can bless you.

What a time. To orient our lives to the things that God says matter most and are real and are true. And so as we look toward a new year, may God grant that we all commit ourselves to do these things. But wisdom is the ability to think through the mind of God, see through the eye of God, hear with the ear of God, and live through the heart of God.

Now that's not original with me. I've heard it said in a number of ways, but really wisdom is seeing life from God's perspective. And we certainly need to do that, and through the Word of God, you can do that.

Proverbs 3 talks about wisdom as being this thing of great value, by which God built the world. And it goes, if you want to read the entire chapter, I would encourage you to do that. But it says, And it goes on, it talks about the heart, the mind, the behavior. So we put God's law in the core of our soul, the real core of who we are. And His commandments will bring blessing to our lives. It says length of days, long life, peace, shall they add to thee. And it talks about all of our thoughts, our motives, humility before God. It says in verse 7, Be not wise in thine own eyes, fear the Lord, depart from evil, and it will be health to your body, marrow to your bones.

And it talks about even our substance in verse 9 of Proverbs 3, in other words, honoring God with our money that we earn. So discipline of wisdom, the discipline of wisdom is really something that touches all of our life. Now Webster's Dictionary defines wisdom as moral excellence and firmness. In other words, moral excellence, having values and priorities that are upright, true, good, moral.

And firmness, the old Webster's Dictionary, says it really means consistency, that we're living it out on a daily basis. My goodness, how unique it is for Christians nowadays at a time when so many people deny moral absolutes, that we would prioritize, we could call it truth, we could call it morality. But really the Bible often speaks of it as righteousness. Now what is righteousness?

It's the holiness and character of God, the nature of God. And we are called to be righteous. Now when you become a Christian and you put your faith in the Lord Jesus, Romans 4 says that God declares us righteous. Positionally, we are in Christ, we are seen by God the Father as righteous.

That's positional sanctification. But perhaps you've heard preachers talk about progressive sanctification, that through each day we are to grow and we are to subordinate ourselves to the will of God, the Word of God, the leading of the Holy Spirit, we're to mortify the flesh. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians that I die daily. And so we are in the eyes of God declared righteous, but in our growth, in our progression through life as a believer, in other words everything post-salvation, we are to pursue righteousness. Now Proverbs 3, fascinating, because it gives us the characteristics of a wise person. And I'm challenging myself, my commitment to God, and to myself, my commitment to you, and hopefully your commitment to the Lord as well, that in 2023 we would seek wisdom as God defines it. Now a beautiful thing, and I'm going to circle back to this when we talk about IQ, James 1, verse 5, one of my favorite passages. I mean, one of my life verses, James 1, 5, says, if anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives abundantly and God does not withhold. You can ask God for wisdom, just like Solomon did.

Isn't that an amazing thing? You might ask God for a lot of things, and God always in the life of his children, he does the best thing. He will save you. He will grow you spiritually. God may not allow you all of the material things in life that we Westerners often crave, but one of the greatest, most priceless possessions that anybody could seek, God says he will give abundantly, and that is wisdom. Have you ever asked God for wisdom? So in the spirit of James 1, 5, Proverbs 3 talks about the characteristics of the wise person. Now we've got to take a brief break, and when we come back, I want to talk about Jordan Peterson and IQ, not just smartness, intelligence, but wisdom. And as we build our lives wisely on God's principles, God's truth, for the year ahead, it will be blessing.

And not only blessing in our lives, but our ways will honor and please God, our Savior. Stay tuned. We'll be right back right after this with more truth for a new generation on the Alex McFarland Show. Don't go away. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert.

Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. In recent years, our nation has suffered greatly, and we seem to be on a rapid moral decline. We've rejected God, morality, and we've almost completely lost our sense of patriotism. It's no wonder that many are asking the question, is this the end of America? Hi, Alex McFarland here, and I want to make you aware of my book, The Assault on America, How to Defend Our Nation Before It's Too Late.

You know, our nation has seen politicians that are corrupted by greed, and they've got a vested interest in power, and many of our elected officials seem to care little about the country that they've been appointed to serve. Read my book, The Assault on America. We can stand up for our great nation and defend America before it's too late.

It's available everywhere. You can learn more on my own website, which is Read the book, The Assault on America, How to Defend Our Nation Before It's Too Late. He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show. Welcome back to the program.

Alex McFarland here. Thank you so much for listening. We're talking about Proverbs 3 and the characteristics of the wise person. Now I'm going to give you these characteristics, then I'm going to come back and unpack each of them a little bit.

We'll talk about IQ, according to Jordan Peterson. The wise person, according to Proverbs 3, follows God's word, verses 1-4, seeks God's will, verses 5-8, acknowledges God's ownership, verses 9 and 10, submits to God's correction, maintains God's perspective, is secure in God's protection, fulfills their obligations, and lives not by convenience but by principles. Now I'm going to come back to these because in the middle of all of these things, really verses 13-20, there are two poems.

Now scholars call these bridge poems. One is the benefits of wisdom to man, the other is a benefit or use of wisdom by God. I'll explain that. But wisdom. Okay, now in Proverbs 3 here, we're talking about the characteristics of the wise person. But first of all, I want to talk about something Jordan Peterson said, and if you listen to my programs, you know I'm a big fan of Jordan Peterson. In fact, Jordan Peterson, I believe, is just one of the most important intellectuals speaking in the world right now. He is a Christian, he is a believer, and he's said a lot of things against the woke culture.

He's said a lot of things against this enforced diversity and inclusion. And frankly, if we don't have a big spiritual turnaround in the Western world, and if we continue to digress and go farther and farther down this slippery slope towards socialism and Marxism and a police state, and we lose our constitution based on natural law, someday people are probably going to look at Jordan Peterson's videos, and they're going to say that he was as prescient in his warnings to America as Bonhoeffer was to Germany during the time of Hitler. Just as Churchill and C.S. Lewis, and later than Lewis, Malcolm Muggeridge, and people like Will Durant, you know, some of the heroes that I reference a lot of times, they warned America and the West that we would be right where we are if we didn't have a moral compass.

If we kept walking away from marriage and abandoning family, no-fault divorce, no legal protection for the unborn, abortion on demand. These thinkers, from Chesterton to C.S. Lewis to maybe you might have heard the name Os Genes, certainly the late Chuck Colson, a friend and colleague, they warned us that if there wasn't a moral and spiritual revival, we would wind up in a very dark place. Now, in our own time, one of the voices that's been just crying out, pleading for the church to speak up, my friend Eric Metaxas, whom you know, Ben Shapiro, he is Jewish, but I think about like Charles Krauthammer, who died, who was also Jewish, but very strong on the moral foundation of our culture. People like the late William F. Buckley, these have been some of the real prophets crying from the city walls, danger ahead, danger, we must restore a moral foundation. Well, I believe, because he is not only a believer in God, but a Christian in particular, Jordan Peterson is really at the absolute tip of the spear at the forefront of calling out and he has been crying, almost begging, for pastors to preach about moral, social, political, cultural issues, and trying to equip the church.

And Lord knows I've been trying to do that as well. So Jordan Peterson makes a cry and a call for a look at IQ. Now, intelligence quotient, and you might remember years ago there was a TV show called the High IQ Bowl, and you might watch Jeopardy and people that know all the answers and so much of the trivia, you think, wow, they're a person of high IQ, they're well-read, they're literate. Well, a lot of that can be due to brute native intelligence, and to a degree, the gray matter that we've got is the brain we were born with. And the good Lord gives us a brain, and coursing through the wires and the neurons of that brain is something we call our mind. The brain and the mind are two different things. You and I have a stewardship obligation to cultivate our mind. And it begins really with prayer and acknowledgement of God's lordship over our life. And then we pray, and we read God's word, and then we read other things, and we pursue education, and we try to cultivate discernment, and we learn fact from falsehood, and we learn to discern truth from error. Well, Jordan Peterson has a lot to say about IQ, and in a video that he recently released, he talks about the benefits of a high IQ. And sociologists note that, you know, health, longevity, educational success, even things like resistance to PTSD, resistance to stress, are some of the benefits of having a high IQ. And people tell me this all the time, folks.

I'm on the road talking, and Christians come up to me, and I know they love the Lord, I don't dispute that. But they'll say, now Alex, Alex, you have to understand, I'm not smart. Folks, don't tell yourself that. Now, you don't have to tell yourself that you're the smartest guy in the room, but oftentimes people come up to me and they'll say, you know, Alex, we listen to you on the radio, or we read your books, and I appreciate what you do, Alex, but now I'm not smart. I'm not intelligent.

Stop it. Look, very often, telling yourself how limited you are, and how much you can't do, those become self-fulfilling prophecies. Jordan Peterson, just for a moment, forget how smart or unsmart you think you are or aren't. Jordan Peterson talks about the fact that people of higher IQs, they plan, they regulate, they control. Now, let me explain.

They plan long term. They regulate behavior, and they control impulses. One of the impulses is anger or disgust, or kind of flying off emotionally. They're able to restrain themselves. Now I would submit to you, regardless of the brain you were born with, and look, maybe you're not going to become an engineer or mathematician or a surgeon, I understand that.

Maybe you are. We have a lot of medical professionals that listen to and support our ministry. But look, the one thing we do have, if you're a born-again believer, you've got prayer, you've got the Holy Spirit, and you've got the promises of God's Word. And in John 15 and 16, the Word of God promises that if we ask something according to God's Word and God's will, he will do it.

Now, I've got a couple of friends out on the West Coast. Craig Hazen, professor at Biola University. And he is often preached on John 15 and 16, and he says, look, if the thing you're asking for is good, godly, and for the Great Commission, he believes God will answer it. J.P. Moreland, brilliant scholar, he was a professor at Liberty when I was there, very famously wrote a book called Scaling the Secular City, but J.P. Moreland says that it may be Christians can do something that nobody else can do. And that's actually see a net increase in the IQ points that you've got. Because you're filling your mind with the Word of God, you're empowered, energized by the Holy Spirit of God, you're submitting yourself to the will of God, that while it's commonly believed that IQ you have can't be changed, J.P. Moreland says, well, maybe it can.

And maybe letting God have control of your life connects some axons and some neurons that otherwise weren't firing. Now we've got to pull away. We'll be back, and we're going to talk more about the discipline and the benefits of a life of wisdom for God's glory. Stay tuned.

We'll be back after this brief break. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert. Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. Over the last several decades, it's been my joy to travel the world talking with children, teens, adults, people of all ages about the questions they have related to God, the Bible, Christianity, and how to know Jesus personally.

Hi, Alex McFarland. I want to make you aware of my book, The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask About Christianity. You know, we interviewed hundreds of children and parents and families to find out the questions that children and people of all ages are longing to find answers for. In the book, we've got practical, biblical, real-life answers that they have about how to be a Christian in this modern world.

My book, The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask, you can find it wherever you buy books or at Christian author and speaker Alex McFarland is an advocate for Christian apologetics. Working in more than 2,200 churches around the world, schools, and college campuses, Alex is driven by a desire to help people grow in relationship with God. He arms his audiences with the tools they need to defend their faith, while also empowering the unchurched to find out the truth for themselves. In the midst of a culture obsessed with relativism, Alex is a sound voice who speaks timeless truths of Christianity in a timely way. With 18 published books to his name, it's no surprise that CNN, Fox, The Wall Street Journal, and other media outlets have described Alex as a religion and culture expert. To learn more about Alex and to book him as a speaker at your next event, visit, or you can contact us directly by emailing booking at

He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to the Alex McFarland Show. Welcome back to the program. Alex McFarland here. We're talking about the characteristics of the wise person, and I want to say as this year closes and another year is before us, I want to say how much I appreciate all of the people that pray for us, that support what we're doing with Truth for a New Generation Ministries. You know, we do two radio shows, a television show, events.

I'm somewhere speaking pretty much every weekend of the year, 45 to 47 weekends a year. We're shipping out thousands and thousands of books to people all around North America and occasionally internationally. Lots of resources to inmates, lots and lots and lots of resources to students. So I want to give you three websites, if I may. For one, the website Viral Truth. Viral Truth, our campus clubs.

We've got some major news about those in the new year. You can charter a club for middle school and high school and college students. We provide you content to discuss the issues of the day from a biblical perspective, Then our upcoming summer camps, eight summer camps next summer, Equip Retreat, we're partnering with a wonderful ministry called Reasons for Hope. Last summer we were in front of 650 youth, we'll be in front of probably more than twice that many in 2023, Equip Retreat camps, coming soon to a region near you. But finally, my time at the Cove, the Billy Graham Training Center in western North Carolina,, I would love to see you there July 7 through 9.

It'll be great. We're going to go through 2 Peter, wrap up our two summer study of 1 and 2 Peter. The theme is thriving till he comes. Thriving till he comes. All of these things we're talking about biblical worldview, how you can stand strong in these times and you can be used by God to make a wonderful difference for the sake of the Gospel. I'd love to see you at the Cove in western North Carolina. It will be a life-changing, mountaintop experience, July 7 through 9, and so much more.

But it's all at my website, Well finally, before the break we were talking about Jordan Peterson on IQ. And here's something, there's a word I want to throw out here, and then we'll resume looking at Proverbs 3, but it's the word dispassionate. It's a word I use sometimes when counseling with couples and families. Because very often people are prone to anger. And it seems like people lose their temper a lot these days. We have a word now that people use trigger. People are triggered, right?

Well Jordan Peterson says that lower IQ people are more sensitive to disgust. And very often they become antsy, fidgety, and even have an angry outburst over disorder. Now in traffic, people go ballistic. They lose their temper because they're stuck in traffic.

At home, very often clutter can prompt one or more family members to lose their temper. Now hang tight here. Follow me. I very often encourage Christians, especially when you're debating with an atheist or a non-Christian, or you're discussing a point of disagreement, right? To be dispassionate. Now I'm a very passionate person. Passion means thought, it's really the intersection of thought and feeling, okay?

Now we are to be passionate, passionately in love with Jesus, passionately committed to our family and to the gospel. But whenever I use the word dispassionate, I'm talking about the ability that you have a governor on your emotions, that the emotive does not overrule the cognitive. In other words, you don't let your feelings override your thoughts. And so a dispassionate person, at least in terms of Jordan Peterson's talk about IQ, it's not that a higher IQ person is less sensitive to disorder or doesn't care.

The higher IQ person cares about things, order, making things right, but in terms of like an emotional outburst, there's just a restraint that the person has learned to cultivate. And this relates to long-term planning. Here's the thing, we don't have to fly off emotionally, we don't have this knee-jerk outburst, because we know that look, you don't move a heavy object by kicking it. You lean in and you push, and you overcome inertia, and slow movement can yield later to rapid progress, okay? So again, the Bible talks about letting the Holy Spirit rule our hearts and minds. The peace of God will rule. And perhaps one of your steps to becoming a wise person and having ways that are pleasing in the sight of God is that you yield your emotions to the control and the restraint of the Holy Spirit.

Not that we're not passionate, we're passionate, but it's an emotion informed by the love of God and the truth of His Word. I'm going to give you, with the time we have remaining, these characteristics, according to Proverbs 3, of a wise person. A wise person, again, follows God's Word. Psalm 111, verse 10, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 1, 7 says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. So first of all, a wise person follows God's Word. A wise person seeks God's will, Proverbs 3, 5-8. In other words, acknowledges God's ownership, Proverbs 3, verses 9-10. It says that we are to honor the Lord with our substance and with the firstfruits of all of our increase, and our barns will be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.

Because look, we don't own anything, we're just stewards. A wise person submits to God's correction. My son despised not the chastening of the Lord. Do not be weary of his correction, Proverbs 3, 12, for whom the Lord loves.

He corrects. You know, in the New Testament, it says this in 1 Peter 5, 6, humble yourself unto the mighty hand of God, and he will exalt you in due time. 1 Peter 5, verse 6. Now I mentioned there are two right in the middle of Proverbs 3. There are two poems, really.

They're called bridge poems. 13-18 is the praise of wisdom, it's benefits to man. Very famously, it talks about wisdom is better than fine gold, better than precious rubies, right?

Then there's another bridge poem, 19 and 20, it's use by God. God uses wisdom. It says, by wisdom, the Lord founded the earth. By understanding, he established the heavens.

By his knowledge, the depths are broken up and the clouds drop down the dew. God not only created this world by wisdom, he runs it by wisdom. The difference between God and us is God didn't have to learn anything from an external source. But wisdom and truth and knowledge comes from within himself. And so the wisest thing we can do is lean in close to God, because God is the foundation and the source of all wisdom, the standard for wisdom and truth and moral virtue and intellect.

Scholars use the word omniscient. God knows everything. Well, finally, as we close, the wise person maintains God's perspective. The wise person is secure in God's protection, 25 and 26, it says, do not be afraid. The Lord will be your confidence.

In these days ahead, let God be your confidence. The wise person fulfills his obligations, tells the truth, makes good on his word, and finally lives by principles, not convenience. So let's ask ourselves as we wrap up, are we living by feelings or principles? Feelings are emotion based. Principles are character based.

For the person driven by feelings, their life and their lips disagree. But for the person who's living by God's truth, our words and our actions are in agreement. It's been said, so a deed reap a habit. So a habit reap a character.

So a character reap a destiny. Today and in the year ahead, with God's help and for God's glory, let's sow good thoughts, good deeds, make good habits, live by good God-informed character. And our destiny, really our legacy, will be that we knew God, we represented the gospel, and our ways we're honoring in his sight. The truly wise life, the life that is truly representative of wisdom, as God defines it.

As we said earlier, it's the ability to think through the mind of God, see through the eye of God, hear with the ear of God, and live by the heart of God. For his glory, let us live wisely. Alex McFarland Ministries are made possible through the prayers and financial support of partners like you. For over 20 years, this ministry has been bringing individuals into a personal relationship with Christ and has been equipping people to stand strong for truth. Learn more and donate securely online at You may also reach us at Alex McFarland, PO Box 10231, Greensboro, North Carolina 27404, or by calling 1-877-YES-GOD1. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you again on the next edition of The Alex McFarland Show.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-03 03:17:51 / 2023-01-03 03:29:27 / 12

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