Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sound Life

“My son, don’t forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commands; for they will bring you many days, a full life, and well-being.” (Proverbs 3:1-2)

The first dozen verses of Proverbs 3 guide us to five admonitions that help us live a “full life” and a life of “well-being.”

The first admonition is to practice loyalty and faithfulness (verse 3). Loyalty is the commitment we express in our relationships with family and friends. It may also be the commitment we hold toward the values that drive our lives. Faithfulness is pretty much the same thing, but this is directed more toward our relationship with the Lord. Faithfulness is the expression of a faith commitment to God in real life terms of how we actually live our lives.

The second admonition is one that is well known from this chapter. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) These verses encourage us to place our total trust in God for everything in life, to walk with Him through life, so that He can guide us in all our decisions and actions.

The third admonition is a negative one: Don’t consider yourself wise (verse 7). Why not? Well, imagine someone saying to another person, “You know, I really am very wise. I mean, I really know a lot, and I always do everything right.” How does that sound? It sounds rather prideful. The idea is that wisdom comes not from within ourselves but from our walk with God. God is the One who gives us any wisdom we may have, so we need to acknowledge Him and follow His wisdom.

The fourth admonition is to honor God with our possessions (verse 9). That’s because they are actually God’s possessions, and He allows us to manage them. God is the Provider who gives us what we need, and we need to, therefore, honor God with everything we receive. At least part of what that means is that we should return to God some portion of what He gives us, in order to express our honoring of Him.

The fifth admonition is another negative one: Don’t despise the Lord’s discipline (verse 11). Just as sometimes a father or mother may discipline a child, sometimes God will discipline us just because He loves us and wants to show us the direction to go with our lives. God delights when we go the directions that honor Him and bring good.

It is important that we hear and understand these admonitions, and it is even more important that we implement them into our lives and actually live this way.

Lord, Help us today to apply all of these admonitions to our hearts, so that we may gain Your wisdom in living this life. Amen.

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