Friday, September 07, 2012

Some do's and don'ts for a successful life

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Proverbs 22:1-29

TO CHEW ON: "Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise,
And apply your heart to my knowledge;
For it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you;
Let them all be fixed upon your lips,
So that your trust may be in the Lord..." Proverbs 22:17-19


Even though its wisdom is ancient, the advice in Proverbs is as relevant today as ever. The issues addressed in today's reading are wide-ranging—from bringing up children to having a good work ethic. Yet the theme of SUCCESS runs through them all. The writer is telling us, to have a successful life you must do some things and refrain from doing others.

DO:
  • Seek to have a good reputation - Proverbs 22:1
  • Understand your times and guard yourself against possible catastrophe - Proverbs 22:3.
  • Live humbly and fear God - Proverbs 22:4,5.
  • Train children from the earliest age - Proverbs 22:6
  • Be generous and give to the poor - Proverbs 22:9
  • Remove cynical contentious people as partners or associates - Proverbs 22:10.
  • Love purity and speak with grace - Proverbs 22:11.
  • Actively seek wisdom and knowledge - Proverbs 22:17,18.
  • Trust in the Lord - Proverbs 22:19
  • Work hard to be the best you can be - Proverbs 22:29.

DON'T:
  • Live a wilfully sinful life - Proverbs 22:8.
  • Be lazy - Proverbs 22:13.
  • Ignore the foolishness that is found in your child's heart - Proverbs 22:15.
  • Take advantage of the poor and downtrodden - Proverbs 22:23.
  • Become intimate with angry people - Proverbs 22:24,25.
  • Borrow money or underwrite someone else's loan - Proverbs 22:7, 26, 27.
  • Move the borders of your property to increase the size of your plot - Proverbs 22:28

Though living by these do's and don'ts may sound like common sense, some are anti-intuitive—at least anti-intuitive to our 21st century minds. To put them into practice we need to have faith in God and that what He says through Solomon is really wise.
- Being generous makes you rich?
- Gracious speech has more impact than bullying, angry words?
- Borrowing and going into debt is bad?
- Innocent little children need correction and discipline?

Especially when God's wisdom clashes with our modern 'wisdom' we need to cling to Him as we resist going along with the crowd:
"Let them all be fixed on your lips
So that your trust may be in the Lord.
"

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to trust You and take seriously the wisdom in Your word, especially when it goes against what my peers think, believe, and live by. Amen.

MORE: Are you foolish enough?

"When looking back on the lives of men and women of God the tendency is to say - What wonderfully astute wisdom they had! How perfectly they understood all God wanted! The astute mind behind is the Mind of God, not human wisdom at all. We give credit to human wisdom when we should give credit to the Divine guidance of God through childlike people who were foolish enough to trust God's wisdom and the supernatural equipment of God." - Oswald Chambers, from the October 26th reading of My Utmost for His Highest.

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