Proverbs 22:3-5 ESV
“The prudent sees danger and hides himself,
but the simple go on and suffer for it.
The reward for humility and fear of the Lord
is riches and honor and life.
Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked;
whoever guards his soul will keep far from them.”
A person who is prudent is one who demonstrates care and thought for the future. This is a person who is wise, cautious, sensible, levelheaded, reasonable, and practical. But a person who is simple is naïve or is one who is foolish, unwise, childish, irresponsible, and self-indulgent. So, those who are wise are discerning of evil and so they do not pursue what is evil. But the self-indulgent, who are unwise and foolish, they go headstrong right into what they know is evil, regardless of the consequences.
Now, we cannot take away from this that if we are humble and we walk in the fear of the Lord that we are going to be rich in the things of this world or that we are going to be honored among other humans. For in the New Testament, and in the Old Testament, too, we see that those whose lives are committed to serving the Lord and following him in his ways go through many hardships and they are not usually honored in this life, but many of them are being persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
But we are honored of God who walk in his ways and who serve him with our lives, and we are rich in truth and in righteousness and in the things of God and in our salvation from sin and in our relationship with God/with Jesus, so we are rich in faith. And we have the peace of Christ and the joy of the Lord directing our paths, and the Spirit of God to give us encouragement and counsel and the strength to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to God. And we have the hope of eternal life with God at the end of our lives.
Now sadly, even many people who are professing faith in Jesus Christ are walking in the ways of the flesh and not in the ways of the Spirit of God. And so thorns and snares are in their way because they are choosing to ignore God’s commands and to go their own selfish way, instead. And they will make all kinds of excuses for why they are still habitually sinning in various ways, but this is the way they have chosen for themselves, and so they are without excuse (Romans 1:18-32). They can’t say they didn’t know.
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.”
Purity of heart is evidenced by purity of thinking, speaking, and behaving. For what is in our hearts comes out through our lips, our attitudes, our thinking, and our actions. So if we have pure hearts we will live in purity of devotion to our Lord and in moral purity, too. We will be people of integrity and not be people of dishonor. We will be truth tellers and not liars. We will grieve over sin, not lust over it. We will be trustworthy and not those who cannot be trusted. And we will be those who love others and do not hate.
Those who are not pure in heart, but whose hearts are filled with all sorts of wickedness, they are going to follow after their wicked hearts and they will practice what their evil hearts desire. And if they profess faith in Christ while they continue in sin, because they want their sin more than they want God or anything else, they are sluggards who live for the sinful pleasures of their flesh without regard for God or for their spouses or children or for anyone they might hurt because they choose their sin over everything else.
And so they are traitorous to the faith that they profess and to their spouses and children when they selfishly continue in deliberate and habitual sin which they know is going to harm their spouses and their children. And they are traitors every time they confess they are living one way while they know that is not the truth of the matter, or when they knowingly tell one story to one person and tell the opposite story to another, or when they turn against those who love them and accuse them falsely of what they did not do.
Many people, even many who profess faith in Jesus Christ, are living in addiction to sexual sin. Now this addiction is not a sickness that they have no control over. This is slavery (bondage) to sin which Jesus died to free us from, and so if we continue in that sin, and we reject God’s gift of freedom from our slavery to sin, then we are without excuse. And even if you are self-deceived, you did that. You chose to lie to yourself and to accept your own lies. But it doesn’t mean you have forgotten the truth. You know!
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.”
So, there is no excuse for the addicted to continue in his or her addiction. Jesus gave his life up for us on that cross to deliver us from our slavery to sin. We just have to humble ourselves and repent of our sins (turn away from them, die with Christ to sin) and then walk in obedience to the Lord in the power of God’s Spirit now living within those of us of genuine faith in Christ Jesus. Those professing faith in Christ who are still living in addiction to sexual sin or in addiction to any sin have absolutely no excuse! None!
For so many people professing faith in Jesus Christ are just turning a deaf ear to what they don’t want to hear so that they can continue in their sins. If they hear the truth, it just goes in one ear and out the other, because if they accept the truth then that makes them responsible for that truth. And so they conveniently keep “forgetting” what they heard, and then they claim ignorance as though they did not know what they did/do know when they did know. Claiming ignorance is just so they can continue in sin guilt free.
So, we are to be people of God, the sheep of his pasture, who are listening to the Lord and who are heeding his words and who are not ignoring his commands. And we are to be following him in obedience and not be those who are still living for the flesh while claiming ignorance and while making excuses for why they are still where they are and for why they have not yet gotten victory over that sin so that they can now walk in holiness and in righteousness in the power of God.
And we need to be those who are applying the knowledge of God, and of his word that we have been given, to our everyday lives. For we cannot just give a verbal profession of faith in Jesus Christ and think that secures us heaven when we die. Jesus said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one DOING (obeying) the will of God the Father. And he said if anyone would come after him, he must deny self and take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and to self) and follow him in obedience (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 9:23-26).
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV
My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.
So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.
Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…
They know my voice, so they follow me.