Principles for Godly LivingAugust 22-26
Honesty is the Best Policy
A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight. – Proverbs 11:1 (ESV)
A newly promoted colonel had moved into a makeshift office during the last Gulf War. He was just getting unpacked when out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a private with a toolbox coming his way. Wanting to seem important, the colonel grabbed the phone: “Yes, General Schwarzkopf. Of course, I think that’s an excellent plan.” He continued: “You’ve got my support on it. Thanks for checking with me. Let’s touch base again soon, Norm. Good-bye.” “And what can I do for you?” he asked the private. “Uhhh, I’m just here to hook up your phone.” (Becoming a Contagious Christian).
Proverbs teaches us that honesty is always the best policy. In ancient days, an evil merchant kept several sets of weights in his bag. When he was buying a pound of wheat, he’d pull out his heavier “pound” to weigh out what he was buying. When he was selling a pound of wheat he’d pull out his lighter “pound” so he wouldn’t have to sell as much and make a better profit. This was called an “abomination” by God. But this is not just about buying and selling. It’s also how you treat people. We ought to treat people fairly and equally, without partiality or discrimination.
When was the last time someone tried to deceive you? When was the last time you were tempted to tell a white lie, or shade the truth but chose to be completely honest instead?
Praise God for being a God of truth. Ask God to help you identify and remove any dishonesty from your life.
Spread the Wealth
One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. – Proverbs 11:24-25
In Canada, a believer operated a large grain farm. His spread included some twenty-five hundred acres. When asked how he planted the seed, he reached into a bin and pulled out an ear of corn. Then he proceeded to pop out the kernels one by one as he walked along, demonstrating the planting process. Do you believe that? No sir! That’s not what he said nor is it what he did. He pointed to a distributor that was some thirty feet wide. “We take that double tandem truck, fill it with certified seed, back it up to the distributor, open the slots, and pour in the seed.”
He went on to say, “If you’re ever going to be cheap, don’t be cheap with the seed.” One bushel of seed invested yields thirty bushels of grain harvested in a good year. Thirty-to-one is not a bad return if you are ready to believe and willing to invest.
Proverbs 11:24 refers to the generous man or woman who scatters, yet not in the sense of wasteful distribution. This is Biblical generosity, which is like the scattering of seeds that will later bring a great harvest. We never lose when we give generously to God and His work. There is one who withholds more than is right: The person who is stingy ultimately ends up as the one in need.
Some say that you can’t outgive God. How have you seen God bless your giving with His own generosity? Who have you seen that was selfish but still in need?
Thank God for the blessings He has showered out on you in return for your generosity. Ask God to lead you to someone who has a need today that you can help meet.
Winning Souls Is Wise
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise. – Proverbs 11:30 (ESV)
One Sunday evening, William Booth was walking in London with his son, Bramwell, who was then 12 or 13 years old. The father surprised the son by taking him to a tavern! The place was crowded with men and women. Some of them were drunk. Some of them were loud. And the air was filled with the smell of alcohol and tobacco. And Bramwell said to his dad, “Can we go now? Why did you even bring me in here?” And General Booth said, “Son, these are our people; these are the ones I want you to love. These are the people I want you to live for. These are the people I want you to bring to Christ.” Years later, Bramwell wrote, “That was a lesson I never forgot.” (Mark Axelrod)
Proverbs 11:30 uses the picture of capturing or winning souls as a picture of leading people to Jesus. One of the greatest exercises of wisdom is to win souls to God and His kingdom. It takes wisdom to love, give, and winsomely answer those who have yet to come into God’s kingdom. We use the word win in romance; to win souls, you must love them. We use the word win in war; to win souls is a battle. We use the word win in sports; to win souls is a competition. (Spurgeon)
Why do you think the Bible uses the phrase “win souls” or “capture souls” to describe leading people to Jesus? Are you wise when it comes to soul-winning?
Thank God for winning your heart and mind. Ask God to help our Second family in the battle for souls in our community.
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. – Proverbs 12:1 (ESV)
Charlie Brown was complaining because his team always lost their games. Lucy attempted to console him with, “Remember, Charlie Brown, you learn more from your defeats than from your victories.” Charlie Brown responded, “Then I must be the smartest person in the world!”
Proverbs 12:1 teaches us that people who learn from mistakes are the wisest people in the world. Wisdom tells us to keep learning and to love instruction and knowledge. A humble willingness to be taught (instruction) shows a true love of knowledge. “If we find that we are upset when our faults are pointed out to us, that shows we lack not only grace but understanding. We are behaving as if we were foolish…. Oh, for a teachable spirit to sit at the feet of our divine Master and learn from him.” (Bridges)
Most people don’t enjoy being corrected. Why is it hard for us to receive correction from others? What is the benefit of learning to appreciate correction?
Thank God for loving you enough to discipline and correct you when you have strayed from His best for you. Ask God to give you a teachable heart when He wants to use others in your life to grow you.
Watch What You Say
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. – Proverbs 12:18 (ESV)
When the employees of a restaurant attended a fire safety seminar, they watched a fire official demonstrate the proper way to operate an extinguisher. “Pull the pin like a hand grenade,” he explained, “then depress the trigger to release the foam.” Later an employee was selected to extinguish a controlled fire in the parking lot. In her nervousness, she forgot to pull the pin. The instructor hinted, “Like a hand grenade, remember?” In a burst of confidence, she pulled the pin …. and hurled the extinguisher at the blaze. How are you responding to the fires around you? Are you just pulling the pin and throwing the extinguisher? Or putting out the fire? Are you throwing water or gasoline on the flames?
Proverbs 12:18 teaches that our words can be used to create damage or to bring healing. The person who responds quickly often cuts like a knife with their words. But the person who responds wisely brings healing with their words. The closer we get to somebody, the more “buttons” we uncover in their life. Those big red buttons marked “Warning, do not push except under nuclear attack!” Those areas are extra sensitive in a person’s life. Resolve not to push other people’s buttons.
Today we might say someone is “gaslighting” when they use their words to make someone angry. Is there anyone in your life who would say you have a tendency to “gaslight”?
Thank God for someone in your life who tends to speak words of healing into your life. Ask God to help you to use your words wisely and in a way that heals others.