Live Wisely

Observe Carefully
Proverbs 23:1-3 ESV

When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
observe carefully what is before you,
and put a knife to your throat
if you are given to appetite.
Do not desire his delicacies,
for they are deceptive food.

We should not be given to gluttony, for certain. But, what is gluttony? It is excess in eating or drinking. But, what is excess? Excess surpasses usual, but what is usual? Who sets the standard for what is a normal amount of food for anyone to eat in a day or at one sitting? How do we know our limit?

The standard in America may be completely different from that of a 3rd world country, for example. Americans, as a general rule, seem to eat way more than anyone needs to survive. The average single serving in a restaurant, for example, is at least 2 meals for me, and maybe 3 or 4 meals. So, excess appears to be “usual” in America, but is “usual” then good for us?

As Americans, we can be deceived into thinking that we need to eat far beyond what we really need. And, that is probably why obesity is such a huge problem in the USA. We don’t need half of what we think we need. We could probably survive on a 4th of what most Americans eat in a day.

So, before we take our portions, we should ask ourselves, “Do I really need this much?” “Is this really good for me?” and “Would less be enough?”

Yet, I believe there is a spiritual application to this subject of “food,” as well. For, the Bible often refers to the Word of God as food and drink, in such terms as bread, meat or milk.

So, when we listen to anyone teaching the scriptures, we should observe carefully what is before us, too, and we should examine it, as well, to make certain it is what is good for us, i.e. what will benefit us spiritually.

For, there are many liars and deceivers who are teaching what is false, and not all of the falseness is as obvious as we think it might be, which is why it is deceptive. For, they are really good at mixing lies in with the truth to make them look like truth. So, don’t be deceived! Just because it looks good, feels good, tastes good, and sounds good, doesn’t mean it is good!

Do Not Desire
Proverbs 23:6-7 ESV

Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy;
do not desire his delicacies,
for he is like one who is inwardly calculating.
“Eat and drink!” he says to you,
but his heart is not with you.

On a spiritual level, regarding our spiritual food, we need to be discerning about what we take in, and what we accept as truth. But, we also need to be discerning regarding the people through whom these words are being given to us. For, the scriptures say…

“Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 Jn. 4:1).

I used to think that this was solely referring to either the Holy Spirit or to demonic spirits. But, later I came to understand this a little more broadly. I believe “spirits” can also refer to personality, character, attitude, and temperament, as well. And, this is why…

We can confess many things with our mouths which we don’t really believe, because we don’t live what we preach. So, just because someone says, “Jesus is Lord,” it does not mean that he is truly Lord of his or her life. Our attitudes, our character, our personalities and our temperaments, as well as our actions reveal what we truly believe and what we don’t believe.

I am not saying that we must all live perfectly, though, or we are not true children of God, but I am saying that our character and our actions will speak more powerfully about us than will our words. So, not only must we test the words people speak in the name of Jesus, and against the Word of God (the Bible), and in prayer, but we must test the overall character and lifestyles of those who proclaim the Word of God, too, to be sure that who we are listening to is truly listening to God, too.

Remember that the Bible warns us about wolves in sheep’s clothing. There are many false teachers out there who, on a surface level, seem to be mouthing the right words, but they are doing so deceitfully, and for evil purposes, with the intent of slipping in lies in order to trip us up. So, this is why we must be so discerning, because much of the deception is so subtle that it can be missed if we are caught up in someone’s personality, and we are not aware that they might be telling us lies which sound like truth.

Have Wise Hearts
Proverbs 23:15-16 ESV

My son, if your heart is wise,
my heart too will be glad.
My inmost being will exult
when your lips speak what is right.

We need to be wise with regard to what we take into our minds and our hearts. We need to exercise much discernment, too, with regard to those from whom we receive messages or images into our hearts and minds. But, we also need to be wise regarding what we give out, too, i.e. with regard to the words which we speak.

We need to speak truth, and not lies, but we shouldn’t always speak everything we know. Even if it is truth, what we say may not be necessary, or kind, and it may be harmful to others, so we need to put a guard on our lips so that we don’t say what will tear each other down, rather than build each other up.

But, this is not to say that we should not speak the truth in love when it is needed, for although some may regard that as tearing down, it is actually intended to build others up. For, sometimes the truth hurts, but it is necessary in order to get us off the wrong track and back on the right road following our Lord in obedience. But, we must seek the Lord in this and ask for the Spirit of God to give us the right words to say.

Walk in the fear of the Lord
Proverbs 23:17-18 ESV

Let not your heart envy sinners,
but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.
Surely there is a future,
and your hope will not be cut off.

The New Testament speaks much, too, on continuing in and walking in the fear of the Lord, and that this is necessary in order for us to have the hope of eternal life with God.

Many false teachers these days are trying to convince people that faith in Jesus Christ is a mere intellectual assent to who Jesus is and to what he did for us in dying for our sins. Or, they say we just need to receive his forgiveness and his grace, although they don’t explain what that looks like. Or, they might say that if you just say some words after them in a prayer that you are now part of God’s family and heaven is guaranteed you.

Many of them teach that Jesus is the Son of God, and that he came to earth, and he took on human flesh, and that he suffered and died for us on a cross so that we could be forgiven our sins and have the hope of eternal life with God. But, that is only half the story. They leave out the other half.

Jesus’ blood was not shed for us on that cross just so we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. His grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return (See: 1 Pet. 2:24; Tit. 2:11-14).

When we believe in Jesus Christ, it is with God-given faith which is divinely persuaded as to God’s will for our lives. Thus, it submits to God and to his will, it repents of (turns from) sin and it turns to follow Jesus Christ in obedience. In other words, faith in Jesus Christ means death to sin and it means living to God and his righteousness (See: Ac. 26:16-18; Lu. 9:23-25; Jn. 10:27-30; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

So, to walk in the fear of the Lord means that we honor, respect, value, and obey our Lord and we do what he says as our normal practice. We live to please him in all that we do and say. And, we realize that our lives are no longer our own to be lived how we want, because Jesus bought us back for God with his blood, so we are to honor God with our lives.

His blood, shed on a cross for our sins, was so that we would be delivered from our slavery (addictions) to sin, and so we might live in the power of His Spirit according to His righteousness. This is the GOOD NEWS! It is for freedom that Jesus Christ has set us free! Amen! So, we need to walk in that freedom, in the fear of the Lord, and no longer give way to the flesh.

So, if anyone is teaching that God requires no obedience, no submission and no repentance, then we should not listen to him or to her, for they are speaking lies. The blood of Jesus washes away sin. It does not console it!

Nothing but the Blood
Robert Lowry

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Friday, June 15, 2018 – Lord Jesus, help us to take these truths to heart and apply them to our lives so that we might please you in every way. Amen!

4 thoughts on “Live Wisely

  1. Outstanding, dear Sue! I am wondering if you have found a group of younger women who would love to sit under your teaching? I can imagine you leading a group of younger women in Bible study and worship in your home weekly. I wish I lived closer to you. I would be there for sure! You have such a gift! ❤ and hugs!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glory to God, Lynn! No, I don’t. Not yet anyway. But, I believe that is coming, all in God’s timing. I am available. God just has to open that door. But, thank you for that encouragement. I will certainly take this to the Lord in prayer, and then see what he brings about. I would love to do that!

      Hugs back to you!

      Liked by 1 person

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