Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "At Calvary"1 (Lyrics)
Proverbs 15:1 – A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (NKJV)
Whenever my mouth ran unchecked in childhood, mom always quoted today's verse. Especially as a teenager, sassing, spouting off, and otherwise behaving in an obnoxious manner warranted multiple warning lectures from dad. He repeatedly pointed to Proverbs as a good source of instruction for life's little lessons. These lessons never seemed to take hold. It was as if this big mouth had a mind of its own, refusing to be corralled.
Was this teenager foolish? Yep, certainly according to Proverbs chapter fifteen, this teen was very foolish. This chapter thoroughly warns against loose lips and other human failings. Yet, the warnings weren't heeded. Arrogance left little room for instruction and even less for truly learning life's lessons in a timely fashion. Like a song from the Kingston Trio intoned, "When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?" Certainly, this know-it-all person never did for many years, even into adulthood.
Proverbs chapter fifteen gives us practical ways to live and leave a positive impact upon others. It's as much about how to live a good life as it is about warning a person away from self-destructive behaviours. It encourages us to use knowledge in a wholesome manner for activities that honour God and serve others, and thus, avoid heaps of trouble.
The problem is, try as we might, we find ourselves in a morass of wooden moral teaching. Some of us give up because we think that it's impossible to please God — and that's right. We cannot ever hope to please God or live according to biblical principles without Jesus Christ.
But how does Jesus Christ enter our lives?
First, we must acknowledge that we can do nothing in our own strength, but need a relationship with Jesus Christ to be able to live according to the directives given in Proverbs. Next, we truly need the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives to keep our feet moving in the right direction. Without that, life becomes wooden rote.
With Christ Jesus in our hearts and lives, He amazes us with His awesomeness. He is the One Who gave His life to free us from following our own less-than-honourable path. That fact alone compels us to do everything that we can for God's glory and not our own. That fact enables us to accept instruction, to listen with an open mind, and to revel in the resulting relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Likewise, we humbly learn at Jesus' feet and come away with a cheerful spirit, knowing that we're on the right path.
Indeed, living with Christ in our lives and according to biblical teaching, and sharing the lessons learned with a sunny spirit and in a loving manner, lead to a fulfilling life. In so doing, we find ourselves living a Proverbs chapter fifteen life.
Proverbs 15:18 – A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel. (NIV)
Prayer: Loving God, Your awesome love amazes us. Come into our hearts and lives through Jesus Christ, and enable us to live in a way that pleases You and serves others, for we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.