Good advice from a wise man

Reading Proverbs 4 today this counsel stuck out to me:

20 My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words.  21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart;  22 for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.  23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.  24 Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.  25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.  26 Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.  27 Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.

Some thoughts about these verses:

20 My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words.  21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart;  22 for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.

  • Who is speaking into your life with enough authority and influence to make you stop and listen? Who could call you “My son” or “My daughter” and speak to you as a sage? Do you have that voice in your life? If not, today would be a great time to find that person(s). Start by taking them out to breakfast/coffee, etc. and expressing your admiration for them. Let them know that you like what you see in their life and would like to ask them questions about the things they’ve learned along the way. Most people are open to sharing what they’ve learned with an individual who wants to learn! Remember this, you are the student so do most of the asking and most of the listening!

When the wise man (in this case Solomon) begins to speak the first issue he address is the heart. He says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

  • Are there heart issues (e.g. anger, guilt, unforgiveness, etc.) that are squashing the life out of you? Take some time this week to reflect on this question. If you identify an issue the next question is, “What am I going to do about it today?”
  • What is on the inside (e.g. your heart) will absolutely show up on and affect the outside (i.e. your home, your job, your friends, etc.). Take care of your heart for it shapes your life!

Next, the wise man says, “Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.”

  • Ohhh… this is a big one and is absolutely connected to the previous counsel regarding the heart. Jesus said, “whatever is in your heart determines what you say” (Matthew 12:34). You will know that your heart is changing as your speech changes!
  • Beyond that, it should be our goal that as we mature the things that come from our mouth are wise, encouraging and helpful.
  • How is your speech these days? (check out this counsel from St. Paul about our words).

Again the wise man speaks, “Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.  26 Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.  27 Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”

  • I love this. He essentially says, “Get a plan and work the plan.”
  • Another way to read verse 26 would be, “Consider the paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm” (from the footnotes in the NIV). Over and over in Proverbs we read things like, “The wise man considers his ways.” Take time to think about your life, your heart, your job, your home, your body, your money, etc. Do you have a plan? Are you working that plan? Are you easily distracted or are you staying on task with the plan?
  • In November at Church180 we are going to be doing a 5 week teaching series called, “Project Me” in which we talk about a life that is “considered.” I’m really looking forward to that series!

Well, I hope you have a great day and don’t forget the counsel of the wise man, “Consider the paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.”

One thought on “Good advice from a wise man

  1. Hi Paul,
    Thank you for posting this! This was truly something I needed to read right now. I have and will be looking at some of the questions and statements you made in doing some self-examination. I am at some crossroads and decisions need to made…so this was very relevant to my life right now. I truly pray God keeps blesssing you, your family and your church.
    Brandon Switzer

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