With these things in mind, I cannot help but think that there are three kinds of people.
- There are hasty and impulsive people. They act on impulse, which means that they act and react according to the emotions and desires of their heart. Rather than considering the long-term effects of their choices, they make decisions based on immediate gratification and selfish desire.
- Then there are those who are deliberate and apprehensive. They have desires and whims like everyone else, but have disciplined themselves to make choices based on logic and reason. Other traits that come to mind are mature, patient, and principled.
- Finally, there are those who are in-between (1) and (2). They are not malicious, nor do they make bad decisions deliberately or intentionally. Perhaps they are just naive or ignorant.
In this article, I'd like to review a selection of key verses from the book of Proverbs. All of these verses address the manner in which we make choices, how we react to circumstances...and ultimately, whether or not we are foolish, simple, or wise individuals.
Here are the verses:
"The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray" (Prov. 12:26).
"He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord" (Prov. 17:15).
"He who mistreats his father and chases away his mother is a son who causes shame and brings reproach. Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge" (Prov. 19:26-27).
"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise" (Prov. 12:15).
"There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death...The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps. A wise man fears and departs from evil, but a fool rages and is self-confident" (Prov. 14:12, 15-16).
"Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established" (Prov. 15:22).
"A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment" (Prov. 18:1).It deeply disturbs me that so many Christians, based on the wise sayings of Proverbs, are living foolishly, rather than with a spirit of wisdom and prudence. There are religious people who go to church regularly and call themselves Christians, and yet they pay very little attention, if any, to these principles of wise living - which is why I am of the belief that there needs to be a lot more teaching rooted in the book of Proverbs.
Having said that, how do you measure up? Are you a fool, or are you wise?
The first three verses have a common message: we need to rightly identify people for who they are and respond accordingly to the things they say and the advice they offer. For example, we should pay more attention to advice that is offered by Christians and even family members. Our spiritual and physical families care deeply for us and generally-speaking, only want what's best for us. They will offer us sound advice.
And yet there are many Christians who want to distance themselves from church-members, parents and family, instead choosing to turn to non-Christians for advice and support. This is indicitive of a selfish, carnal disposition: "I am going to do what I want to do" and "I'm only going to listen to those who tell me what I want to hear." When you're making choices, do you seek the advice of brethren and family-members? How do you receive their advice? Or do you keep them OUT of the loop because you know what they'll say and you don't want to hear it?
The last four verses cited above contrast an impulsive, emotionally-driven person and a person who is more analytical and apprehensive.
The former, because they are not interested in wise counsel, remove themselves from the company of the wise - they "isolate" themselves. When someone does try to help them or offer advice, they respond angrily. They do what they want to do because they want to do it regardless of how it will impact their relationships, and regardless of the long-term consequences.
The latter simply want to do what is right. So they are more receptive to counsel. They may not like what they hear from the mouth of a wise counselor, but in the end, they'll do what is right, or at least what they believe is right. Rather than distancing themselves from family and other Christians, they keep them close, are in regular communication with them, and are more open about their struggles.
Again, how do you measure up? How do you make decisions on a daily basis?
You may go to church and identify yourself as a Christian, but that doesn't mean that you're not stupid...or, to use Solomon's terminology, "foolish."
Don't be a stupid Christian.
Strive to be a wise, prudent Christian. Your life will be so much better and easier, and you'll grow in your faith and have confidence before an all-wise God who does demand that we live wisely.