“When you walk, their counsel will lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up, they will advise you.For their command is a lamp and their instruction a light; their corrective discipline is the way to life..” – Proverbs 6:22-23 NLT
The life of godliness or Christlikeness was never meant to be impossible or impractical. It is impossible only if we attempt to live it in our own strength or on our own terms. It is impractical is we fail to apply its lessons to our daily lives. We can become so heavenly minded that we’re no earthly good. Righteousness is highly practical. It is to be visible to those around us. It is to impact every area of our lives, changing the way we live, altering the way we think, and influencing our decisions. Righteous living is wise living. It is living according to God’s standards, and God is a highly practical God. Solomon took what he knew about God and applied it to everyday life. He warned his son against the dangers of co-signing on a loan for a friend. He is really warning against presumption, taking a risk based on a hope that all will turn out well. We don’t know the future. Only God does. So why risk the well-being of your family by putting your finances at risk. This could be applied to all kinds of investments, get-rich-quick schemes, business ventures, etc. And Solomon knows that pride plays a huge factor in so many of our decisions, so he warns, “Now swallow your pride; go and beg to have your name erased. Don’t put it off; do it now! Don’t rest until you do!” (Proverbs 6:3-4 NLT). Fear of man keeps us from living according to God’s terms. We make decisions out of pride and out of a fear of being rejected, judged, ridiculed, or thought less of by others.
Solomon also warns against laziness or the lack of discipline in our lives. Righteous people are hard-working, diligent people. They are good stewards of their time, talents and resources, including the hours given to them in each and every day by God. So they don’t waste and squander them. Laziness seems so innocent at first. What harm could there be in a few extra hours of sleep? But the life of laziness leads no where good. The godly are diligent, hard-working, and faithful to perform their daily responsibilities well.
Solomon goes on to give his son (and us) seven things the Lord hates. Once again, these are highly practical, everyday life things. He warns against pride, lying, murder, the intent to do harm and the desire to do wrong, false witnesses, and trouble making. Every one of these is a real life issue that each of us struggles with at some level. Even murder, or killing of the innocent, is something each of us is capable of. Solomon’s point seems to be that we need to know what God hates and learn to hate those things as well. We need to avoid them like the plague. We need to listen to wise counsel, from parents, peers, friends, and from the Word of God. Piety that is not practical is useless. It becomes hypocrisy. Our beliefs must impact our behavior. Our righteousness must result in right living. The way we live should reflect the God in whom we believe.
Father, You have called us to live different lives. We have been set apart and given a different agenda for our lives. We are Your children and are to reflect Your character to the world around us. Help us make our religion real and our beliefs practical. Don’t allow us to make them purely academic. Your Son died so that we might have life and life more abundantly. May our relationship with You radically alter the way we live on this earth. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men