Proverbs

Fear Over Beauty

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In my opinion, the most beautiful of all God’s creation is woman. Not only are they beautiful on the outside, but women have the ability to be strong, nurturing, loving, supportive, and the absolute perfect companion for men. But Proverbs would attest that the best attribute a woman can have is a healthy reverent fear of the Lord. In Chapter 31, verse 30, it says.

“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

This verse is lifted from the very famous chapter often referred to as, “The Wife of Noble Character”. Even though this verse is in reference to the fairer sex, to reverently fear, honor and respect the Lord should be the goal of every believer; male or female. Charm and beauty are wonderful attributes, but they can only serve a woman here on this earth. We can’t take our charm or our beauty with us when we die. And even while on earth they fade over time. Proverbs says they are fleeting. But the fear of the Lord is useful in this life and will set our hearts in the right place when we eventually go to heaven and spend eternity with God. So remember Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

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I often think that beauty and charm are wasted when given to women of poor character; women who might use it as a weapon to manipulate men. But it is a breath of fresh air when found on a woman of noble character; a woman whose heart is set on honoring God. Proverbs says that a woman like that is to be praised. So I encourage you, even if God has blessed you with incredible charm and striking beauty, to remember this verse. Beauty and charm are universally attractive, but it is the fear of the Lord that is eternally attractive - so much so that it should be praised.

Holy Justice

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The Bible tells us that it isn’t for us to judge, because only God has the authority to judge. If we judge others, then we will be judged ourselves. The Bible also tells us that it isn’t for us to avenge. That too, we are to leave up to the Lord because in Romans we’re told, “‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay’, says the Lord”. In our flesh we may want to judge as if we know what a person deserves. We may also want to avenge as if we are the ones who have the right to deal out our form of justice. But we should never forget that the Bible tells us to leave these things to the Lord. And when we do, we should take comfort in knowing that these decisions are left in good hands, because we serve a just God. We’re reminded in Proverbs chapter 29, verse 26:

“Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the Lord that man gets justice.”

And in chapter 17 verse 15, it says:

“Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent - the Lord detests them both.”

Our God is a God of justice. He hates when the guilty are acquitted and when the innocent are condemned. And we are encouraged that it is from the Lord that a man gets justice. Our earthly justice system may be flawed. Jurys may be coerced, judges may be bribed, and people may lie on the stand. And even if our system does what it is designed to do, those who are innocent may still be condemned and those who are guilty may still be acquitted. But when we rely on God, justice will ultimately prevail, even if it is only in God’s timing and only in God’s way. If you are crying out for justice, I encourage you to bring it to the Lord - the only one who can truly give you justice. I encourage you to trust him to do what is right.

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I don’t mind confessing that I hate seeing the guilty go free or the innocent condemned. But I’m happy to know that our God feels the same way. In my strength and with my wisdom, I couldn’t make someone pay for their crimes nor could I righteously sentence someone. For that, we are called to rely on the one who does have the power, wisdom and authority to give us justice when we have been wronged. I encourage you to trust him. It would do us good to leave justice in God’s hands while we focus on forgiveness with the help of the Holy Spirit. If you are in that place today, I hope that you are willing to trust God for justice, as well as emotional healing and forgiveness with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Power of Words

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When someone used to tease you as a child, did you ever respond by saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? I heard that a lot when I was growing up, but if we are honest with ourselves, we know that those words are false. Words can hurt, and sometimes words can hurt worse than sticks and stones because the wounds they cause may take longer to heal. The Bible tells us that what we say to others is important. It tells us that our words can be used to build others up or tear them down. Proverbs, chapter 15 verse 4, reminds us:

“The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”

Also in chapter 12, verse 25 it says:

“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.”

Our words can be a weapon, or they can bring healing to those who hear them. What kind of words are coming out of your mouth? If we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, like the Bible commands us, we should use words that bring healing; words that cheer up the heart, as these parables explain. With our words we have more power than we might think. So I encourage you to use your words wisely. Consider how you can use them in a way that honors God and encourages your neighbor.

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Proverbs isn’t the only place in the Bible that warns us about our tongue and our words. There are several verses warning us about the words we choose to speak both in the Old and New Testament. The Bible encourages us to be slow to speak and quick to listen. But when we do speak, our words should be those that encourage, uplift, and build people up. Who knows, a few kind words could change the course of someone’s day. At the right time, with the right heart, a few loving words can even save a life. So please, consider what you say and when you say it, because your words can have the power to heal as well as the power to destroy.

Time Well Spent

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There are countless things and opportunities in our world that are enticing to the flesh. As technology advances and the cultural shift continues to align more with what God calls sin, the more accessible and the more acceptable sin becomes. If we ignore, or lose sight of how the Spirit of God is leading us, we might find ourselves giving into desires that we once abhorred. We might find ourselves chasing things that are fruitless or maybe even sinful. Proverbs 23 verses 4 and 5 warns us with these words:

“Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.”

When we die we will be held accountable for how we have spent our time on this earth. Are you spending time chasing things that are fruitless or are you spending your time pursuing things that are spiritually fruitful? We can spend our entire lives trying to acquire wealth, possessions or status; things that are temporary; things that are ultimately fruitless. Chasing riches is what Proverbs highlights in this portion of scripture. But we are also warned in Matthew not to store up for ourselves treasures on earth that will not last, but to store up treasures in heaven that will last forever. Right now might be a good time for us to evaluate what we are spending our time pursuing.

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Proverbs warns us not to wear ourselves out to get rich. Yes, we need money to survive, but accumulating wealth for the sake of getting rich should not be our goal. It is ultimately a fruitless pursuit. We all need to take stock of how we are spending our time. Are we pursuing things that have eternal rewards? Or are we spending our time pursuing things that are temporary; things that may one day spout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle, as this proverb says? I encourage you to evaluate how you spend your time; that at the end of the day, the Spirit living inside of you and the scriptures that highlight God’s heart will attest that it was time well spent.

Our Conduct

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Have you ever known someone who calls themselves a Christian, but their actions would seem to prove otherwise? They want to be known as pure and right, but don’t seem to conduct themselves in a way that the Bible would affirm as “pure and right”. The Bible tells us that we will know the heart of a person by their fruit, not necessarily by their words. Proverbs 20 verse 11 puts it this way: 

“Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right.”

If you claim to be a Christian; if you claim to be a follower of Christ, then your actions should reflect that claim. Are your motives pure? Are your actions pure? Would your friends be surprised to hear your claim of being a Christian? Yes, we are human and subject to fall through sin on occasion, but where is our heart? If we are only pretending, or flat out falsely claiming that we are believers, then our actions will prove us a liar. And over time, our words will also. Because the Bible reminds us that “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of”. So whatever your true motives, whatever your true intentions, your heart will reveal who you really are - certainly to God, but also to man. So I encourage you to be true to your claim of being a believer, because Proverbs reminds us that even a child is known by his actions.

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We need to be true to our testimony, or our claim that we are believers in Christ. Yes we are subject to sin, but our heart and our intentions should be towards purity and righteousness in Christ. To say that we follow him, but live in a way that is unbecoming a believer only proves us false and can be a stumbling block to those who God is calling to himself. So I encourage you to take seriously your conduct before God and also before men. Because who you truly are will be revealed whether you want it to or not.

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