Pride can really beat a person up, but perhaps you are too proud to admit it. In Proverbs 14:3, we read about a foolish person who is proud. When he opens his mouth, it is like a rod that beats him when he speaks. What a great visual!
The words of the proud many times beat those who hear; however, often the words come around and smack the proud speaker just the same. The proud speak offensive words that provoke others. The words of the proud do not only provoke others, but also blasphemy God.
The wise keep safe by the words they speak. The wise are slow to speak. The wise are Spirit-led. Today, consider if you are taking a beating from your words. Are you safe or beaten?
“A fool’s proud talk becomes a rod that beats him, but the words of the wise keep them safe.” – Proverbs 14:3 [NLT]
My daughter loves to sketch and paint. She has a lot of talent. Yes, I’m biased but you can look for yourself. Talent can get you so far in life, but experience is always necessary. God gives us all talents, but He also takes us through many experiences in life to grow us to properly use our talent.
In Exodus 18 and Deuteronomy 1, we read of the leader selection process in the Old Testament. Listed character traits include those who fear God, who are honest, who are wise, who are understanding, and who are EXPERIENCED. The wisdom and the understanding comes as we continue to fear God and walk with Him. The experiences of life, the dark valleys and high mountains of life that God leads us through, teach us and stretch us. It is through experience that we become more capable.
Each of us are leaders. We are created to be leaders. But we aren’t where we are meant to be in life, and we certainly aren’t the leaders we could be to those we lead. Allow God to use you where you are at right now. Keep your ears and eyes open. Ask for Him to use you. Don’t be selective. Allow the Spirit to lead you. Serve where He places you. Soak up the experience. Glean from what He has placed before you. God wants to teach you. He wants to raise you up. Don’t let yourself get in the way. To be a better leader in your home, at church, in your workplace, on the field, you need to humble yourself as a servant of Christ, and forever remember that He both qualifies you and places you. Always stay focused on Him; always point to Him.
“But select capable men from all the people–men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain–and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.” – Exodus 18:21 [NIV]
“Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.” – Deuteronomy 1:13 [ESV]
I got a new debit card with a chip recently. I did not know much about the chip and asked the bank representative if there was anything special I needed to do with the card. I was told I just should swipe my card like usual. Everything was going fine. Today, I went to swipe my card but the machine wasn’t working. I did not know what was happening. My son told me to turn my card and insert it somewhere else, and just keep it there. I was so confused but listened to his wise instructions. In doing so, my account was debited—the bill was paid.
As you read the Bible, one thing you can easily see is the humility of Jesus. He is the Son of God; however, as He roamed this earth, He did not walk around acting like He was better than anyone. He did not act like He had no time for people. He didn’t act like He was perfect even though He was the only One Who ever lived a perfect, sinless life. What an example He is for each of us!
It is easy to ignore the wisdom of others, especially those who you deem as less experienced or people who are younger. Remember that God reveals Himself to all He desires. He teaches and uses whoever He desires. You are never too old or so educated that you know it all. You always have something else to learn and God puts people in your life to help you continue to grow. Be open to others. Do not let your ears close to people. You may be missing out on a key that will unlock something great in your life simply because you considered you knew it all. You will never get to where God meant you to be if you do not walk humbly with God.
“Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” – Proverbs 11:2 [NLT]
“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.” – Romans 12:16 [ESV]
- “Wise minds and spirits attuned to His will” [MSG]
- “All the wisdom & understanding that His Spirit gives” [CEV]
- “God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding” [NLT]
- Practical Obedience (1:10) – Knowledge & obedience go together
True spiritual wisdom must affect daily life
Wisdom / Walk / Work – Cannot work for God unless we walk with Him, cannot walk with Him if ignorant to His will
General will = clearly in Bible Specific will = always agrees with Bible
Knowing general will makes it easier to know specific will for daily life
God wants us to:
- Know His Will (Acts 22:14)
- Understand His Will (Ephesians 5:17)
Paul prayed for ALL wisdom & understanding, COMPLETE knowledge…
Complete = Filled full Filled = Controlled by
- Filled with _______ (ex: anger, jealously)
- Filled with Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)
Controlled by full knowledge of God’s will
How? By all wisdom & spiritual insights. Understand will of God through Word of God. Holy Spirit teaches us to submit to Him (John 14:26, John 16:31)
- You will live a life that honors the Lord
- You will always please Him by doing good deeds
- You will come to know God even better
- You will be patient & strong to endure everything because of His power
- You will be truly happy
Bible Study Questions:
1) Paul prayed for the Colossians to have ALL wisdom and understanding. He grasped that God wants us to know and understand His will – and to do this would bring us closer to Him. With our reading, the words patient and strong and happy appear. What does this mean for us?
2) What is the hardest thing about following God’s will?
3) When we have this completeness (fullness), we will be controlled by it. We will then be able to determine what God wants. How do we determine God’s Will—how do we determine what He wants?
4) Let us dig deeper into God’s Word.
Read each of these verses and decide what each verse says about God’s will for us.
- Read 2 Peter 3:9
- Read Ephesians 5:18
- Read 1 Thessalonians 4:3
- Read 1 Peter 2:15
- Read 1 Peter 5:10
- Read Psalm 37:4
This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:
Every morning as I get ready for work I find myself brushing my teeth and glancing in the mirror. The mirror reflects what I look like at that moment. It is the truth. It is real. There is no façade, no clouded view, no distortion. But when I leave the bathroom and can no longer see that mirror image, the mirror is useless to me. It means nothing. My appearance will change throughout the day. Hair will stick up. I might get a scratch from my dogs. One never knows. But the mirror image is useless.
In James we read about self-deception. People hear the word of God and it goes in one ear and then out the other. The Bible says that it’s like someone who looks in the mirror and walks away and doesn’t remember what they look like. What the passage is referencing is how the mirror is useless when we walk away. It means nothing. When people hear the Word of God and walk away without acting upon it, it’s like that useless mirror. It is useless. They are deceived. The word is irrelevant in their opinion and ignored.
James spent the time speaking about self-deception because it is something we all fall prey to if we just take the Word of God and nibble on it but do nothing else. It gets us nowhere. It’s like pushing the gas pedal on a car that has a dead battery. There is no action. When you truly hear the Word of God, you act. You embrace. You love. You live the Truth.
“Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.” – James 1:22-24 [MSG]
Did you ever hear about Lady Wisdom and Sir Fool? “Lady Wisdom builds a lovely home; Sir Fool comes along and tears it down brick by brick” (MSG). How does one build a lovely home? How does a woman build a great household? Only with a strong foundation. A Strong Foundation.
We have the opportunity to build our life on the Rock or to build our life on something else. If we build upon the Rock, the storms can rage around us but the house will stand. If we build upon the Rock, it doesn’t matter what comes blowing on by because the house will not be moved. If we build on the sand, if we build our life as Sir Fool, we place our lives on the foundation of something other than Jesus. When the cookies crumble, oh how they crumble. A small breeze will knock us down. A storm will come and the house will fall, and it will be a great fall.
Folly hands are not hands that I wish to have anymore. I remember days when those were my hands. I remember when I tried to control everything. I remember when my foundation was myself. I remember when my foundation was money. I remember when my foundation was pleasure. I remember when my foundation was lies. Folly tears down brick by brick. Praise the Lord, He builds us up strong in Him. By His Truth and through His grace and because of His love, we can embrace Him and build on His Solid Foundation. Nothing will shake us. Nothing will break us. Nothing will snatch us from His hands.
“The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.” – Proverbs 14:1 [ESV]
People often tell me that it does not matter who they spend time with because they will be who they will be whether or not they are hanging around with people doing bad things. They have control. They are their own person. I have heard it again and again. And yes, some people have more self-control than others and some people do not follow the crowd as much as others; however, the people you spend time with ALWAYS matters.
If you spend time with someone who talks a lot about politics, you will likely hear and learn a lot about politics. You might even become more political. If you spend time with a group of people who are all Christians, you should be able to see a difference between them and the rest of the world. You may partake in more theological discussions, do more studying of God’s Word and pray more. When you interact a lot with those who listen to a particular type of music or talk a certain way or do certain things, you will be soaking in those things. Your dialect could change a bit while you are with them. You might be listening to different music than usual and start humming songs you never thought would come out of your mouth.
Some of the truths of life that I learned came from hanging out with wise people. Spending time with pastors, with ministry laypeople, with strong Christians, has taught me a great deal and has challenged me, helped me to grow, encouraged me, and guided me to who I am today. I remember a time when I was hanging out with those who many would deem “fools” and I can attest that part of my life was falling to pieces. So remember this Proverb. Remember this choice. Remember the importance of who you walk with in life. Wise walking will help you to grow and get where God wants you to be in life. Foolish walking is walking backwards. God has so much more for you. Believe me. Or better yet, believe Him.
“Become wise by walking with the wise;
hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.”
-Proverbs 13:20 [MSG]
Your environment matters. The people you hang out with matter. I’ve heard stories of undercover cops getting sucked into criminal activity because they were undercover for so long. There are also the examples of a child moving to another school and falling in with a different crowd. They start acting differently. The words they use are different. I find myself seeing this in action with myself. If I hang out with a particular group of people I begin to use slang. I return home with slang words coming out of my mouth. Or I will spend some time with those who use exquisite grammar and I end up sounding very intelligent when I arrive home.
Today’s proverb says “walk with the wise and become wise.” We are all sponges and we soak up what is around us. If we are spending a lot of time with people who are considered wise, we gain a lot of information from these people simply by being with them. At the same time, if we spend time with fools, we start learning their ways. This is the same way with positive and negative people. If you surround yourself with positive people, you’ll be more likely to be positive. If you are always around negativity, you will be just as pessimistic.
Do not think your company doesn’t matter. We are to go into the world and share the Gospel, but we must also make sure that we are surrounding ourselves with people who will edify. Make sure you have a community around you that can help you to be who Jesus has created you to be so you can benefit the kingdom.
“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” – Proverbs 13:20 [NLT]
Rules. Instructions. Decrees. Commands. Regulations. Directives. Orders. Laws. Statutes. Stipulations. Guidelines. Directions. Requirements. Ordinances. Mandates. What words that bring us joy! Not usually. Many people skip over instructions. Some people try to figure out a way to break the rules or twist the laws. Some people barely like to make the requirements. Ordinances really do not include me. But in Psalm 19, David speaks about God’s Commandments “bringing joy to the heart.”
David says many things in today’s verses. He uses the words: perfect, trustworthy, right, and clear. I love this description. There’s no twisting His commands. There’s no way to barely follow. There’s no chance that it doesn’t include me. We typically think of rules as a negative—as a way to restrict us from doing what we would like, but look at how David describes the instructions of the Lord. They REVIVE THE SOUL. They MAKE WISE THE SIMPLE. They BRING JOY TO THE HEART.
Finally, he says they are clear—they GIVE INSIGHT FOR LIVING and they BRING JOY TO THE HEART. We look at so many self-help books and watch so many videos on how to do things. But everything is right here for us—and the Lord’s instructions are CLEAR. Why do we make it so complicated? Today, consider what the Lord’s instructions mean to you. When you start seeing the reason the Lord gave them to us, you will start to have this JOY that David spoke about in this psalm. You will start to say, “He loves me THAT much” and “He cares for me THAT much” – and it will bring joy to your heart. As your love grows, you will start to find joy in all of the Lord’s commands. You will even enjoy reading Leviticus.
“The instructions of the LORD are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the LORD are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are clear, giving insight for living.” – Psalm 19:7-8 [NLT]