Proverbs – Life Skills
After three months of “stay at home” without our regularly scheduled lives, we have been left to our devices and bad habits. These bad habits of biting into our favorite snacks in mindless large quantities while binge-watching Netflix and Prime has come back to bite us. We get up from Spring’s inactivity to go for walks and wonder what is dragging behind, only to figure out it IS our behinds! Yikes!
All the diets “that will save our lives” are coming out in full force. The Keto craze is on all our social media feeds taunting us about what our bad habits have done to us and how to fix it. People are crying out for help, seeking comradery in fixing the problems we did to ourselves. You would think it was January!
We seem to be weak, as a general rule, in restraint. So it is fitting that we come upon this timely Proverb today! (Sigh, I needed this.)
Proverb 22, The Message, Part Two
1-3 When you go out to dinner with an influential person,
mind your manners:
Don’t gobble your food,
don’t talk with your mouth full.
And don’t stuff yourself;
bridle your appetite.
4-5 Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich;
Riches disappear in the blink of an eye;
wealth sprouts wings
and flies off into the wild blue yonder.
6-8 Don’t accept a meal from a tightwad;
don’t expect anything special.
He’ll be as stingy with you as he is with himself;
he’ll say, “Eat! Drink!” but won’t mean a word of it.
His miserly serving will turn your stomach
when you realize the meal’s a sham.
9 Don’t bother talking sense to fools;
they’ll only poke fun at your words.
10-11 Don’t stealthily move back the boundary lines
or cheat orphans out of their property,
For they have a powerful Advocate
who will go to bat for them.
12 Give yourselves to disciplined instruction;
open your ears to tested knowledge.
13-14 Don’t be afraid to correct your young ones;
a spanking won’t kill them.
A good spanking, in fact, might save them
from something worse than death.
15-16 Dear child, if you become wise,
I’ll be one happy parent.
My heart will dance and sing
to the tuneful truth you’ll speak.
17-18 Don’t for a minute envy careless rebels;
soak yourself in the Fear-of-God—
That’s where your future lies.
Then you won’t be left with an armload of nothing.
19-21 Oh listen, dear child—become wise;
point your life in the right direction.
Don’t drink too much wine and get drunk;
don’t eat too much food and get fat.
Drunks and gluttons will end up on skid row,
in a stupor and dressed in rags.
Buy Wisdom, Education, Insight
22-25 Listen with respect to the father who raised you,
and when your mother grows old, don’t neglect her.
Buy truth—don’t sell it for love or money;
buy wisdom, buy education, buy insight.
Parents rejoice when their children turn out well;
wise children become proud parents.
So make your father happy!
Make your mother proud!
26 Dear child, I want your full attention;
please do what I show you.
27-28 A whore is a bottomless pit;
a loose woman can get you in deep trouble fast.
She’ll take you for all you’ve got;
she’s worse than a pack of thieves.
29-35 Who are the people who are always crying the blues?
Who do you know who reeks of self-pity?
Who keeps getting beat up for no reason at all?
Whose eyes are bleary and bloodshot?
It’s those who spend the night with a bottle,
for whom drinking is serious business.
Don’t judge wine by its label,
or its bouquet, or its full-bodied flavor.
Judge it rather by the hangover it leaves you with—
the splitting headache, the queasy stomach.
Do you really prefer seeing double,
with your speech all slurred,
Reeling and seasick,
drunk as a sailor?
“They hit me,” you’ll say, “but it didn’t hurt;
they beat on me, but I didn’t feel a thing.
When I’m sober enough to manage it,
bring me another drink!”
IT’S NOT TOO LATE!
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE!
God will help us with the profound hard changes in our lifestyles that we need to make. It is up to us to say yes to His powerful intervention. God created us, knows everything about us and loves us beyond our human thinking. He knows our weaknesses and longs to be our strength. He knows our willpower and longs to be the Power from within. “Be still and know God” says the Psalmist, who meant let go of doing life on our own and let God help us, guide us into what is best for us. To know God is to listen to God speak to our hearts.
The power of God’s Holy Spirit will restrain us and if we ask, will help us avoid what is bad for us. Jesus taught his disciples to pray a prayer that included, “Lead us not into temptations but DELIVER us from evil.” Evil wants you to remain chained and bound to his devices of all that will make you unhealthy until you die. Pretty sure that’s why Jesus included that in his prayer. Jesus spent 40 days and nights being tempted by Satan in the desert with food, drink with taunts of “I will give you…” which he had no power to give.
As believers we have the power given to us by Jesus to help us restrain ourselves and live well, at His best. Our temporary bodies are His temple of residence until we meet Him face to face and get a new body. Yes, I’m ready to have a new body, too. But in the meantime, let’s take care of this one as a great investment to healthier living.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” I Corinthians 6:19-20, NIV
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
Romans 12:1-2, NIV
Dear Heavenly Father,
We joke about overeating but inside we are saddened by our lack of restraint. Help us to tap into the power you give us to live wisely with skills that help us to live at our spiritual, physical, mental and emotional best. Help us get up and move. Help us to judge only ourselves by listening to your Holy Spirit’s guidance and correction who resides in my body, Your Temple. Help us to live a quality life that is ready to quickly join you in your work when invited by you.
In Jesus Name, Amen