“Our own heart, and not other men’s opinion, form our true honor.” Do you find the opinion of others concerning you important? If you do, you are not much different than the vast-majority of people in this country, even the western world. It is a shame, however, when God’s saint finds the opinion of another to be of greater importance than the Lord’s opinion of him (or her). The Lord’s opinion is always true and steady, never wavering (James 1:16-18). This can’t be said about the opinion of man, even one’s best friend. Your own heart, if you are wise, will be directed by the Lord’s way of thinking and not that of man who is uncertain of himself when he does think! Let your true honor come from the Lord; He loves you and is your security and has the only opinion that counts!
Ash Wednesday and Lent are two days on the religious calendar that is not recognized by the Bible. In other words, the New Testament gives no sanction to either one of these days or periods of time observed by a good many people, both religious and not. Paul, in something of a similar context, wrote to the churches of Galatia about their own desires to observe days and months. He writes, “You are observing religious days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you that my work for you may have been in vain” (Galatians 4:10-11, NET). The context in which Paul wrote relates to a great many people who desired to continue observing the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses had all the markings of religious teaching, and certainly full of wisdom. In Paul’s time, there were some who promoted it as the acceptable way to please the Lord. Paul, writing by the authority of the Holy Spirit, would have none of it. Neither should we. Let us live holy all the time, and not just part of the time.
“Our own heart, and not other men’s opinion, form our true honor” The obvious wisdom of this remark really does not need any explanation to the thoughtful person. It is almost intuitively known. Almost. There is very little wisdom gained and sustained if one finds security in self. Consider for a moment: If security is found in self, then if “self” makes bad decisions, is “self” going to be less secure? It would stand to reason this would be the case because security is associated with good decisions. But, with bad decisions, then the protective wall begins to crumble. On the other hand, if one finds security in the Lord, then bad decisions are neutralized because the Lord’s decisions relative to life have already been tested and found to be secure. It is only up to the individual to implement the Lord’s decisions for life. Paul did (Galatians 2:20), and you should also.
Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18, NKJV). “Pride” is one word in our English language that is both good and bad. For instance, when one says, “I am proud of my grandchildren because they graduated with honors from high school.” One does not hear this is any negative sort of way. The word “pride” in this proverb means, “an inordinate self-esteem, conceit” (Webster’s 1451). This is perfectly illustrated in the story of Esther, where Haman was so consumed with himself and his defeat of Esther’s guardian, Mordecai, that he failed to see clearly that his plans for the queen’s fatherly figure was actually a trap he laid for himself. P-R-I-D-E equals personal–ridicule toward other individuals wherein one’s personal destruction of ego is forthcoming! How’s that for a definition! However one might try to describe p-r-i-d-e, it will surely lead to a downfall! RT
The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who keeps his way preserves his soul (Proverbs 16:17, NKJV). Jesus said that He is the way, the truth and the life. No man can go to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). This means that if a person desires heaven, then he must listen and obey Jesus. We all travel on a highway through life; it is the desire of many to arrive at a destination that is restful and pleasant. The thoughtful person even desires that place to be heaven. But it won’t be heaven if he/she does not listen to Jesus and obey. The reason for this is simple: The Lord gave directions as to how to get there, but if a person hears nothing of those directions, then no possibility of arrival exists. Even if one did listen, but then changed her mind about listening further, the result will be straying from the less traveled path the Lord walked on, and onto a path well-traveled by many who don’t know where they are going. RT
How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver (Proverbs 16:13, NKJV). The value of wisdom above wealth is obvious to any and all mature people. The value of wisdom helps one make proper use of what is possessed. Unfortunately, there are an untold number of people who value material possessions to the point they are consumed in thinking about them. Whatever value there might be in material things, in comparison with godly wisdom it pales! How can it not pale? Wisdom is great, but godly wisdom is greater still! With godly wisdom one knows the direction of life and the destination after life is over. With godly wisdom one knows how to handle the nuances of life because the Lord has set the proper course for each of us. Yes, it is true, there are some circumstances in life where one may not know what to do, but none of those circumstances will pertain to how to live morally, because the saints know how to live. He lives for God. Wisdom and understanding is FAR better than material wealth.
It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness (Proverbs 16:12, NKJV). Any institution that desires longevity must have two things in place: a) a coherent structure, b) a moral foundation upon which it is built. Without a coherent structure (such as a community government, administrators of one sort or another, etc.), it is not long before confusion, followed by chaos begins to rule the day. Without a moral foundation, or an ethical policy, the structure will soon come tumbling down, falling in on itself. People within the structure won’t know what needs to be done, how it is to be done or even why it needs to be done. If the structure is in place with a moral foundation that is greater than the individual man, then the institution is strengthened. But if the leadership at top is committed to self-service rather than service to the community, then the community suffers. In time, the community breaks down, falling apart. How much more so about a nation?