Next Steps

unsplash-logoAaron Burden

One of the things I started a few years back and recently picked back up is writing out the book of Proverbs by hand. Because everything is digitally available, I don’t necessarily need to write out the book of Proverbs, but it’s so incredibly beneficial! It forces me to slow down enough and digest the timeless wisdom found throughout the book. There are so many priceless gems in the book of Proverbs, but here are five that have impacted me recently:

The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished (Proverbs 16:5). This is such a needed reminder, one that is repeated throughout the New Testament as well: God hates pride. James quotes another proverb and states that God actively opposes the proud (James 4:6). There is absolutely no place for pride in the Christian life. When you sense it you need to kill it before it kills you. Unfortunately pride is very difficult to see in the mirror, so you need trusted friends and loved ones that have permission to speak into your life. But be sure of this: if you’re prideful, your downfall is coming.

He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding (Proverbs 15:32). This is just one of numerous proverbs that Solomon wrote about the need for correction and discipline. One of the biggest dangers that pride leads you to is the place where you don’t think you need to learn anything from anyone. It should mean something when Solomon (the wisest person to ever live) talked more about the need for seeking wise counsel than anyone else. If you walk with the wise you’ll grow wise, but that means you need to actually listen to them. If you think you’ve got it all figured out and don’t need to learn anything from anyone, well then that’s pride and we know how that will turn out.

All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty (Proverbs 14:23). It’s amazing how much luck tends to look like hard work. The reason that people waste billions of dollars every year on the lottery is because people are looking for a quick fix. They want to solve their problems without doing any of the hard work. Whether it’s becoming financially successful, building a strong marriage or simply mastering a skill you’ve always wanted to master, talk is literally cheap. Roll up your sleeves and actually do something productive each day. You’ll be amazed at how much further you’ll go in life.

A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense (Proverbs 19:8). We live in a society today that is perpetually offended. Just get on social media or listen to the cable news network and you’ll find ample reasons to be offended about something. But wisdom yields patience. Be better than society. Don’t yield to anger and allow yourself to become offended by everything. Be better than that.

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones (Proverbs 14:30). At the end of the day, we are all looking for peace. Envy leads to the opposite of peace. So if you spend your days looking at everyone else’s perfect life (whether in real life or online) and secretly wishing for more, you’ll end up being discontent and bitter. Rather than envy, cultivate strategic thanksgiving into your life. Thank God and others often for anything and everything. Thanksgiving leads to contentment which leads to peace, and peace is what we’re all looking for.

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