Wisdom or Folly? You Choose!

Proverbs 22:3 ESV

“The prudent sees danger and hides himself,
but the simple go on and suffer for it.”

The Simple Go On

I was reminded this evening of an old secular song called, “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” But true love is not something you just fall into, for you can just as easily fall right back out of love. “Falling in love,” also, is based in human feelings and emotions which can be fleeting and which also can be misleading. It is not good for us to follow our feelings for they may lead us to do things we should not do or to keep us from doing what we should do.

True love comes from God and God is love, so true love is what we do, it is not what we feel. And it is based in moral preference, and it prefers what God prefers which is what is holy, righteous, morally pure, honest, trustworthy, faithful, kind and loving. It considers what is God’s best for the other person and not what we can get out of that other person for our own pleasure and enjoyment. And true love does no willful harm to others.

But we live in a sex-craved and sensual culture here in America, even within the gatherings of what is called “church.” So “love” is being taught more as emotions and is based more in what we feel rather than being based in purity and righteousness and doing good to others and not harm. And so many people end up following their emotions into sinful situations because it felt good to them at the moment, regardless of the consequences.

When people follow their emotions rather than good sense they will end up ignoring wisdom and going with what is foolish. They will end up doing what they know is wrong because it feels good at the moment. They may even toy with sin by tossing back and forth in their minds, “Should I or shouldn’t I,” perhaps even asking themselves if what they are contemplating is a sin or not, even though they know it is. And they usually give in to the flesh.

So, there is the temptation to sin, the ignoring of wisdom, and the toying with the temptation, “Should I or shouldn’t I?” There is the battle of the flesh, the following of emotions, the giving in to fleshly desires, and the falling for the “wisdom” of the world instead of following the wisdom of God. And then there is the disregarding of the other person for selfish pleasure. And many professing Christians are ignoring wisdom to follow after their flesh. And in some cases, they are even being encouraged to do so.

Proverbs 22:11-14 ESV

“He who loves purity of heart,
and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.
The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge,
but he overthrows the words of the traitor.
The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside!
I shall be killed in the streets!”
The mouth of forbidden women is a deep pit;
he with whom the Lord is angry will fall into it.”

The Mouth of Forbidden Women

When we trust in Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior, if our faith is genuine God-given faith, we surrender our lives to Christ to do his will. We die with him to sin, by his grace, and he now empowers us to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to him. Sin is no longer our master but Jesus Christ is our Lord (Owner-Master). Now our desire is to please him, to forsake our sins, and to follow him in obedience.

Now that we have surrendered our hearts and lives to Jesus Christ, we love purity of heart. Now this is not saying that we instantly become perfect for we still live in flesh bodies, and we will still be tempted to sin, and we still have the propensity to sin. But Jesus gave his life up for us so that we would no longer live as slaves to sin but as slaves to God and to his righteousness, and now he has put within us that desire to serve him with our lives.

But not everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ is in genuine relationship with him. Many continue on in deliberate and habitual sin, making continued excuses for why they are still walking in sin and not in righteousness. And that is because they are sluggards who really do not want to have a change of heart and mind or behaviors. They just want forgiveness of sins and the promise of heaven when they die.

Some of them end up being liars, thieves, traitors, adulterers, unfaithful and sexually immoral, who follow their emotions and who let their feelings and the lusts of their flesh rule them instead of God and his word. And some of them make a show of righteousness on the outside in order to cover up the sins they are committing in secret. So they are hypocrites who are making a pretense of faithfulness to God while they are living in rebellion, instead.

Proverbs 22:17-19 ESV

“Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise,
and apply your heart to my knowledge,
for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
if all of them are ready on your lips.
That your trust may be in the Lord,
I have made them known to you today, even to you.”

Counsel to Listen to Wisdom

So, the counsel here is to listen to wisdom and not to folly. Apply your hearts to the Scriptures and to what they teach regarding the kind of lives we are to be living as followers of Christ. And don’t listen to liars and to the cunning and crafty who want you to believe that your sins no longer matter to God, that you can keep on in your sin, and that nothing bad will happen to you, and that heaven is still guaranteed you when you die.

Instead, listen to the truth which tells us that we must die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness. We must no longer live as slaves to sin, still under the control of sin, for Jesus died to deliver us out of our slavery to sin so that we will now walk in obedience to his commands in purity of devotion to him and in holiness and righteousness. For Jesus shed his blood for us on that cross so that we will now honor God with our bodies.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-11; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Eph 2:8-10]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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