Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - Proverbs 12
- One of the hardest parts about gaining knowledge is it involves discipline and a willingness to be corrected (v. 1). If we rebel against correction and don’t have an attitude that is willing to learn and an openness to change our minds, we are stupid. Don’t be stupid! Work hard to listen and learn from what others say.
- A wife is either your greatest blessing or your greatest curse. Choose yours carefully. (v. 4). While a wife may play a marital role that is behind the scenes, her role is extremely important. A wife was created by God to be her husband’s helpmate. She will either make or break him. If she is an excellent wife of noble character — like the wife in Proverbs 31 — her husband will feel like a king and radiate joy. She will raise godly children, keep a joy-filled home and bless all who come in the door. If she is a bitter, complaining or self-centered woman, she is like a bad case of arthritis. Every move he makes will cause pain as she constantly complains about him or gripes against him. Too many men marry a body not a person. Carefully look at the godliness of a woman’s character. It will make or break your life.
- It is better to be a somebody but act like a nobody than be a nobody and act like you are a somebody (v. 9). Our culture has an obsession with image. This is what drives much of the debt in America. People want to live like they are rich when they are poor because they want to look important. Don’t try to look like the big shot. Be humble. Be grateful for the blessings you can enjoy. Your image in front of others doesn’t matter. All that matters is what you look like in God’s eyes.
- Don’t waste your time pursuing worthless fantasies (v. 11). It is easy to dream of becoming a professional athlete or a famous artist. The problem is most of our dreams aren’t likely to come true. It is easy to fritter away your life chasing impossible dreams. The result is a life of poverty, wasted on worthless pursuits. On the other hand, someone who works hard at an ordinary but unglamorous life (working the land) will have all his needs supplied. His life wasn’t spent chasing a fantasy, but his family is well provided for by ordinary hard work. Be careful to not waste your time in fantasies. Work hard being productive in the ordinary.
- Realize you can’t fully understand a situation. It is wise to seek advice from others (v. 15). When I was a young pastor, things usually seemed clear. For example, at one time I couldn’t understand why parents wanted their children involved in a youth choir instead of attending youth group and Bible study. I couldn’t understand why parents valued the choir. Thankfully a few caring friends pulled me aside and helped me understand a parent’s perspective, which was something I couldn’t comprehend as a 24-year-old. Today I try to seek advice from those I respect before making an important decision. There are many things in life I don’t understand. Listening to those I respect can help me see rest of the story and make better decisions.
- Be hard to offend (v. 16). This verse talks about the vexation of a fool. Vexation means anger or emotions. A fool is easily angered. She holds a grudge because her pride is offended. A wise person ignores insults and moves forward in a relationship. Be hard to offend! You will never regret it.
- Your work ethic determines your future (v. 24). If you are lazy, you will not rise above a minimum wage job and will always work for somebody. Those who are hard working will eventually own the business and be in charge of others. Do you want to be the owner or the employee? At the end of the day it is usually a question of hard work.
- Whenever you have the opportunity, speak a good word to cheer people up (v. 25). Life is full of stress. People are worried about the future and often question their ability to handle it. Whenever you have the opportunity to lift someone’s spirits by offering a word of encouragement, do it! A brief note of encouragement is also a powerful tool to help others when they are facing tough days.