25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.1 Corinthians 12: 25-27
The internet is full of quick resources, words and self-help advice amidst times of calm and times of crisis. Today we talk about Anger. You can find help on literally anything on the go anytime, anywhere. But how much of it is true and actually helpful and how much of it is just click-bait and sensationalism. Thankfully, we have a book that has stood the test of time. King Solomon, the wisest man to have ever lived (excluding Jesus fully-man of course). Solomon, Son of David, when asked by God he can have anything he wants, Solomon responded “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (2 Chronicles 1:10). It is through this godly wisdom that we have the book of Proverbs today! Today we focus on Proverbs 20 – Beat yourself up!
Let’s journey through Proverbs!
Be hard on yourself!
You may disagree, but talk to anyone who has had a really good workout lately and they’ll tell you – the best thing they’ve done for their bodies is also something that tears down tissue and causes soreness.
We feel beat up.
One of the strangest Proverbs to our ears goes like this, “Blows and wounds scrub away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being.” (Proverbs 20:30)
What in the world?
The point is that self-discipline helps us get rid of stuff – sometimes forcefully – that cause us to be unwise and unhealthy.
- When people battle addiction, the early stages are often painful.
- When we battle with eating and our weight, the workouts and changing eating habits are painful.
- When we dig in and work on our marriage, the conversations and sacrifices can be painful.
In a sense, the wise thing to do is often the most painful thing.
Our bodies aren’t big fans of pain, and that’s a good thing. However, our bodies are also the vehicles that drive our lives. Sometimes acting wisely means we tell our body “no” and then our body responds with an “Oh, yeah?” of pain and discomfort.
To live our lives wisely means we allow God to give us paths to discipline our minds, hearts, and bodies. To spend time with Scripture and work to understand it can be painful, but it trains our minds to think on good things. To spend time practicing prayer is difficult, but it teaches us to hear from God and take His direction. To spend time serving other people or staying away from things like porn and abusive substances is difficult, but it teaches us how to be free of pride and self-service, and to find the beautiful path of Jesus.
So what needs to be beaten up in our lives today? Remember, we don’t do this to earn God’s love – we do this because there’s better life in wisdom that’s right in front of us for the taking.
Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise. 2 A king’s wrath strikes terror like the roar of a lion; those who anger him forfeit their lives. 3 It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel. 4 Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing. 5 The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. 6 Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find? 7 The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them. 8 When a king sits on his throne to judge, he winnows out all evil with his eyes. 9 Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”? 10 Differing weights and differing measures— the Lord detests them both. 11 Even small children are known by their actions, so is their conduct really pure and upright? 12 Ears that hear and eyes that see— the Lord has made them both. 13 Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare. 14 “It’s no good, it’s no good!” says the buyer— then goes off and boasts about the purchase. 15 Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel. 16 Take the garment of one who puts up security for a stranger; hold it in pledge if it is done for an outsider. 17 Food gained by fraud tastes sweet, but one ends up with a mouth full of gravel. 18 Plans are established by seeking advice; so if you wage war, obtain guidance. 19 A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much. 20 If someone curses their father or mother, their lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness. 21 An inheritance claimed too soon will not be blessed at the end. 22 Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the Lord, and he will avenge you. 23 The Lord detests differing weights, and dishonest scales do not please him. 24 A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way? 25 It is a trap to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider one’s vows. 26 A wise king winnows out the wicked; he drives the threshing wheel over them. 27 The human spirit is[a] the lamp of the Lord that sheds light on one’s inmost being. 28 Love and faithfulness keep a king safe; through love his throne is made secure. 29 The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old. 30 Blows and wounds scrub away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being.
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The internet is full of quick resources, words and self-help advice amidst times of calm and times of crisis. Today we talk about Anger. You can find help on literally anything on the go anytime, anywhere. But how much of it is true and actually helpful and how much of it is just click-bait and sensationalism. Thankfully, we have a book that has stood the test of time. King Solomon, the wisest man to have ever lived (excluding Jesus fully-man of course). Solomon, Son of David, when asked by God he can have anything he wants, Solomon responded “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (2 Chronicles 1:10). It is through this godly wisdom that we have the book of Proverbs today! Today we focus on Proverbs 18 – Learn to Listen.
Let’s journey through Proverbs!
Listening is one of the keys to a healthy marriage, a healthy workplace, resolving conflict. It is one of the hardest things for us to do
Our brains are constantly on the move, waiting and ready to respond to someone in a conversation. The gap between one person finishing their sentence and our reply seems to be only milliseconds, and if not, then the other person looks at us like something is wrong.
Even if we say something horrible, something thoughtless, or something unhelpful, at least we didn’t let the silence get awkward.
This isn’t just a good idea or a “tool” we use to be better at our job. Understanding requires that we listen, and listen well.
Proverbs says, “To answer before listening – that is folly and shame.” (Proverbs 18:13).
Listen to understand
One of the ways that God has given us for learning to listen is the practice of prayer. Look at Psalm 46:10 (“Be still and know that I am God”) and take seriously what it would be like to spend some time just listening to God. The verse doesn’t say, “Get your brain in gear, I am God.” It says, “Be still.” Learning to listen means we slow down our word factory and really hear what’s going on in the world we live in, and in the lives of the people around us.
Try to practice five minutes of total quiet today, just listening to the sounds around you. Do your best to turn down the volume on your thoughts and ideas and just hear what’s happening around you. Then, apply that to your conversations. See what happens.
An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends
and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.
2 Fools find no pleasure in understanding
but delight in airing their own opinions.
3 When wickedness comes, so does contempt,
and with shame comes reproach.
4 The words of the mouth are deep waters,
but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream.
5 It is not good to be partial to the wicked
and so deprive the innocent of justice.
6 The lips of fools bring them strife,
and their mouths invite a beating.
7 The mouths of fools are their undoing,
and their lips are a snare to their very lives.
8 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
they go down to the inmost parts.
9 One who is slack in his work
is brother to one who destroys.
10 The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;
the righteous run to it and are safe.
11 The wealth of the rich is their fortified city;
they imagine it a wall too high to scale.
12 Before a downfall the heart is haughty,
but humility comes before honor.
13 To answer before listening—
that is folly and shame.
14 The human spirit can endure in sickness,
but a crushed spirit who can bear?
15 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge,
for the ears of the wise seek it out.
16 A gift opens the way
and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.
17 In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right,
until someone comes forward and cross-examines.
18 Casting the lot settles disputes
and keeps strong opponents apart.
19 A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city;
disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.
20 From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled;
with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.
21 The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.
22 He who finds a wife finds what is good
and receives favor from the Lord.
23 The poor plead for mercy,
but the rich answer harshly.
24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
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