“Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.”
In Luke 2:52 we learn that “Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.” It is not difficult to understand how Jesus grew in stature – he just got taller! But how could the Son of God grow in wisdom? Did he not already have all the wisdom? Did he lack anything? Was he not perfect? Yes, he was filled with wisdom – as much wisdom as a child without life experience can have.
It may help to remember that a few ounces of milk can fill an infant boy, but it would take a few quarts to fill a teenage boy. The difference is that the teenager has increased his capacity for milk. As Jesus grew physically, he also grew in his capacity for wisdom as he learned from his experiences.
What is our individual capacity for wisdom? Could we increase that capacity?
Wisdom comes when we examine the experiences God gives us and discern what we have (or should have) learned from them. Nothing that has happened to us should be wasted. Because it is sometimes painful, we often do not take the time or effort to discover the reason for the “gift” of our personal experiences. Mostly we gain insight into our experiences only after earnest, persistent prayer. Psalm 43 is a great model of persistent prayer; it opens up to us a person searching to know what God wants to reveal about specific experiences.
Psalm 43 NLT
1 Declare me innocent, O God!
Defend me against these ungodly people.
Rescue me from these unjust liars.
2 For you are God, my only safe haven.
Why have you tossed me aside?
Why must I wander around in grief,
oppressed by my enemies?
3 Send out your light and your truth;
let them guide me.
Let them lead me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you live.
4 There I will go to the altar of God,
to God—the source of all my joy.
I will praise you with my harp,
O God, my God!
5 Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God!
We could try writing out what we have learned about God, ourselves, and life during and after an important experience. As we learn these lessons we may find that we will not need to learn them again…at least not in exactly the same way. This increases our individual capacity to learn greater lessons and gain deeper wisdom (Matthew 13:12).