Proverbs – Life Skills
Proverbs 4, The Message
Your Life Is at Stake
1-2 Listen, friends, to some fatherly advice;
sit up and take notice so you’ll know how to live.
I’m giving you good counsel;
don’t let it go in one ear and out the other.
3-9 When I was a boy at my father’s knee,
the pride and joy of my mother,
He would sit me down and drill me:
“Take this to heart. Do what I tell you—live!
Sell everything and buy Wisdom! Forage for Understanding!
Don’t forget one word! Don’t deviate an inch!
Never walk away from Wisdom—she guards your life;
love her—she keeps her eye on you.
Above all and before all, do this: Get Wisdom!
Write this at the top of your list: Get Understanding!
Throw your arms around her—believe me, you won’t regret it;
never let her go—she’ll make your life glorious.
She’ll garland your life with grace,
she’ll festoon your days with beauty.”
10-15 Dear friend, take my advice;
it will add years to your life.
I’m writing out clear directions to Wisdom Way,
I’m drawing a map to Righteous Road.
I don’t want you ending up in blind alleys,
or wasting time making wrong turns.
Hold tight to good advice; don’t relax your grip.
Guard it well—your life is at stake!
Don’t take Wicked Bypass;
don’t so much as set foot on that road.
Stay clear of it; give it a wide berth.
Make a detour and be on your way.
16-17 Evil people are restless
unless they’re making trouble;
They can’t get a good night’s sleep
unless they’ve made life miserable for somebody.
Perversity is their food and drink,
violence their drug of choice.
18-19 The ways of right-living people glow with light;
the longer they live, the brighter they shine.
But the road of wrongdoing gets darker and darker—
travelers can’t see a thing; they fall flat on their faces.
Learn It by Heart
20-22 Dear friend, listen well to my words;
tune your ears to my voice.
Keep my message in plain view at all times.
Concentrate! Learn it by heart!
Those who discover these words live, really live;
body and soul, they’re bursting with health.
23-27 Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
that’s where life starts.
Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth;
avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.
Keep your eyes straight ahead;
ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step,
and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
Look neither right nor left;
leave evil in the dust.
OUR EVERY LIVES ARE AT STAKE
God has given us two choices. We are not marionettes on a string connected to His Hand. God does not force us to do anything. We decide. Wisdom, skills to do life well is one choice. Fool hardy living, going as far from God as we can, doing life all on our own, is the other choice.
CONSIDER THE CHOICES
Do we take the evil road that conditions us to be unkind, arrogant, unloving, always grabbing for what we want and what we think we deserve without consideration for anyone else? Do we listen to every voice but God’s? Do we follow feelings? Are we easily distracted and then ultimately confused?
Or do we follow God’s teaching and help with how to do life well that conditions and matures us to put others ahead of ourselves, be good stewards of all He has given us to manage, give generously knowing God will take perfect care of us? Do we follow His path that leads to more love, more grace, and more mercy for each other? Can we humble ourselves enough to know God is God and we are not? Do we sleep well at night because of the peace Jesus gives as a gift of following in God’s ways?
One choice leads to troubles and eventually death. One choice leads to life and more life.
One choice has the goal to destroy everything you were created to be. The other choice gives you all you need to fulfill your purpose on earth with life forever in heaven.
One path will bring confusion, tears, pain, fear and continuous anxiety, anger and guilt for bullying others as we seek to grab our place of importance in this world.
The other path leads to a way out and way through the pain and troubles of this earth and saves us from all guilt and relieves our anxieties by driving out fear.
One is hate. The other is relentless, glorious, reckless, unconditional Love.
What do we choose? Choose well. Choose daily. Our very lives are at stake. Our lives depend on the choice we make.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We come to you with listening hearts, minds and souls because we choose you. You chose us from the beginning of time. Your plan is for our best and for your glory. So, guide and direct our path to all that is right and good. Comfort us. We cry out for your wisdom for all of life. You are God and we are not. Why would we choose anyone else? There is no one like you! Continue to develop your characteristics in us.
In Jesus Name, Amen