Check out two more practical reminders from the book of Proverbs. If you missed the first two, you can check those out here.
3. Run From Temptation.
Proverbs 5:8 (NASB) says,“Keep your way far from her and do not go near the door of her house…”
Proverbs 7:21-23 (NASB) says, “With her many persuasions she entices him; with her flattering lips she seduces him. Suddenly he follows her as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as one in fetters to the discipline of a fool, until an arrow pierces through his liver; as a bird hastens to the snare, so he does not know that it will cost him his life.”
Perhaps you can recall the “less than wise” years of your life where you failed to map out anything beyond point A. You saw something in front of you and you just went for it. You failed to realize that A leads to B and that B leads to C and C isn’t so good. What at first appeared to be a good idea, what at first appeared to not bring any harm to anyone suddenly takes a turn and we find ourselves being sucked into a series of choices that develops into a lifestyle, a lifestyle that certainly doesn’t bring glory to God.
Why do we flirt with temptation? I want to suggest to you that we do so because we fail to think critically about our choices.
"Figuratively speaking we keep our heads down and we shuffle along only lifting our gaze to see the heels of those right in front of us, while we never stop to lift our eyes enough to see what’s coming on the horizon."
God’s Word maps out for us a model that encourages us to identify those temptations in our lives and to not make an effort to just skirt around them but rather to completely steer clear of them all together. The passage in Proverbs 7 speaks of the stag not being killed instantly but first being trapped. Likewise, the bird is first ensnared. In the same way you and I are cautioned to avoid at all costs those things that would lure us towards evil, we are called to avoid those areas that at first seem harmless but ultimately serve to trap us and bind us up in sin. Flee from temptation.
4. Don’t Hold Grudges
Proverbs 10:12 (NASB) says, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions.”
This doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone but conflict is a normal part of our lives. We experience conflict at work, at home with our spouses, with our kids, with our crazy in-laws, with friends, we experience conflict within the church.
Allow me to suggest that the conflict we experience in our lives doesn’t have anything to do with any of those people. It’s not sourced in your moody spouse or your misbehaving kids or your jerk of a boss.
1 Peter 5:8 tells us that conflict is sourced in the adversary of our souls. 1 Peter 5:8 (NASB) says, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Learning to not hold a grudge becomes a lot easier when we realize that it’s not really about me versus them. It’s not about me getting my way or being mad that they got their way.
When we realize that it’s really about the devil’s desire to sow discord, we suddenly understand the long-term negative impact that our grudge has not just on the relationship (horizontal) but also on our relationship (vertical).
We have to figure out through the power of the Holy Spirit to sow not hatred but love into the lives of those we disagree with and that’s accomplished through realizing that our tongues carry power. James 3:5 (NASB) says, “So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!”
We must come to a better understanding of the power of uncontrolled anger in our lives. Ephesians 4:26-27 (NASB) says, “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.”
We must learn to listen more. James 1:19 (NASB) says, “This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger…”
We must learn to forgive as we have been forgiven. Ephesians 4:32 (NASB) says, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
Be encouraged and keep moving forward.