Check out a few more practical reminders from the book of Proverbs.
5. Be Honest
Proverbs 11:1 (NASB) says, “A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight.”
According to one survey 90% of children have grasped the concept of lying by aged 4. According to another survey, of those who replied affirmative to lying, 86% of those lies are told to parents, 75% to friends, 73% to siblings, 69% to spouses. Crazy right?
We’ve convinced ourselves that a “little white lie” never hurt anyone. Here’s the problem with a culture of dishonesty. We cheat ourselves out of the process of becoming fully developed Christ followers. What we’re looking for when we lie is a shortcut. We’re looking for a way to basically have the same outcome with less effort and we do this because we’ve bought into the bigger lie that, “that’s just the way the world works”.
Christian read these next words slowly, "As a Christ follower you don’t operate in the same economy as the rest of the world. You are called to something higher."
“Well Andy, you don’t understand, things were getting tough at work and I had to fudge a little here and there to make the numbers match.”
Or maybe you've rationalized it this way, “My kid was getting a little out of control so I had to promise them some things I had no intention of actually doing, but they were just so aggravating, I told them what they wanted to hear.”
You see we’ve convinced ourselves that lying is a healthy method for dealing with stress and getting out of a pinch. But listen to what Romans 5:3-4 (NASB) says, “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope…”
Dishonesty is a short-cut that will only serve to cheat us from developing into the men and women God has called us to be.
6. Surround Yourself With Wise People
Proverbs 14:7 (NASB) says, “Leave the presence of a fool, or you will not discern words of knowledge.”
This is the heart of the words I heard from my mother on countless occasions as a teenager, “Andy, you are who you hang out with.” It’s a lesson that we as parents likely share with our kids on a regular basis. Our goal of course is to protect our kids and teenagers from falling in with the wrong crowd, we want to shield them from a lifetime of heartache and wrong choices so we closely monitor our kid’s friends, we scroll their text messages and social media feeds keeping a close eye on any activity that might indicate that they are hanging with the wrong crowd or getting into something that they shouldn’t.
But I wonder how we’re doing at applying this same principle to our lives as adults? How are we doing at discerning words of knowledge? You know sometimes we read a verse like this and we focus in on the, “leave the presence of a fool” portion and that’s true, we should surround ourselves with wise people. But how do we know if we’re being influenced by foolishness? How do we know if we’re in the presence of foolishness?
The litmus test for whether or not foolishness is present is whether or not we are discerning words of knowledge. What’s the word of knowledge? The word of knowledge is God’s Word
"If we’re not discerning words of knowledge, if we’re unable to discern God’s Word, if we’re not hearing from God, if we’re not perceiving the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives perhaps we’ve allowed foolish people, foolish ideas and foolish ways of thinking into our hearts and minds and that foolishness has started to outweigh the wisdom that comes from above."
What do I mean by foolishness? When compared to the truth of God’s Word, foolishness is the latest personality test. When compared to the truth of God’s Word foolishness is the latest magazine article that’s supposed to revolutionize our marriage. When compared to the truth of God’s Word foolishness is the endless stream of social media opinions telling you how you should feel about what’s happening in our world.
Everything is foolishness when compared with the truth and righteousness of God’s Word. We spend countless hours safeguarding our kids and teenagers and reminding them that they are who they hang out with but allow me to remind us as adults that we are who and what we allow into our hearts and minds.
Be encouraged and keep moving forward.