(#145) The Proverbs of Solomon 20:6-Don’t Ask Me!

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 20:6: “Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, But who can find a faithful man?”

People who boast of their own good deeds, usually are without the works to back it up! “Who can say, ‘I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?’” (Proverbs 20:9). Even the Apostle Paul, with humility before God, said, “I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord” (1 Corinthians 4:4).

The good way to prevent this creeping arrogance is to: “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips” (Proverbs 27:2). Self-praise is no praise! Beware of those who are in the business of promoting themselves! “A man’s pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor” (Proverbs 29:23). Under New Testament Law, Christians must: “Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion” (Romans 12:16). The reason is that “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble. Therefore submit to God” (James 4:6-7).

Everyone else can see through such boasting, as other proverbs declare: “Even a child is known by his deeds, Whether what he does is pure and right” (Proverbs 20:11); “Whoever falsely boasts of giving Is like clouds and wind without rain” (Proverbs 25:14); “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Proverbs 26:12).

If you were to ask: How good am I? Don’t ask yourself! Ask Jesus Christ: “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21). “For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another” (Galatians 6:3-4). “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #boast, #humility, #obedience, #pride, #proverbs

A Puffed Up Church

A young man was being interviewed for a job. The employer held a glowing letter of reference and complimented the potential employee on such an impressive letter. With modesty came the reply, “I’m glad you liked it. I wrote it myself” Pride goes before destruction (Proverbs 16:18), and it also goes before a lot of hot air. The world is filled with puffed up people who hold themselves in the highest esteem. But in 1st Corinthians 4, the apostle Paul is addressing a puffed up church! “Now some are puffed up” (verse 18; also verses 6, 19). The Greek word is phusioo (pronounced `foo-see-o’-o”), defined by Strong’s Concordance as “blowing; to inflate, make proud (haughty); puff up.” The Corinthians were a proud, haughty, puffed up bunch. They felt good about themselves. As a matter of fact, they felt better about themselves than the Lord did! They had written their own glowing letter of reference, had read it, and were very impressed with what it said. In 1st Corinthians 4:7-13 Paul gives a pointed portrayal of just how puffed up they were. They saw themselves as “full, rich, reigning as kings, wise, strong, distinguished.” Study carefully and you will find this is a case where an inspired Bible writer uses sharp irony (an expression in which the intended meaning of the words is ‘the opposite of their usual sense). Paul employs this technique in an effort to puncture their puffed-up pride and jerk them back to spiritual reality.

The point, of course, is not to suggest we ought to feel bad for feeling good about the church. The problem was not that the Corinthian church was rich and full. Christians, after all, enjoy what Paul called in another place the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8). The problem at Corinth was what they were full of — themselves! Church pews can be occupied by puffed up people who, spiritually, have become as snug as a bug under a rug. Nice jobs, nice homes, a nice income, a nice building, a nice budget, nice preachers, nice elders, nice worship services, and a nice membership can puff us up with a sense of accomplishment and pride to the point that we become stagnant and complacent in our spiritual lives and work for the Lord. When this happens, we begin to “keep house for the Lord” instead of storming our neighbors and the world with the gospel. Words from Revelation 3:16-17 ought to puncture the pride of any Christian or congregation puffed up with self-conceit and pride — “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’; and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” When we feel better about ourselves than the Lord does, we are puffed up with pride.

Dan Gulley – Smithville Church of Christ

#1-corinthians, #church-problems, #lessons-for-the-church, #pride

To Him Who Thinks He Sits Take Heed Lest He Fall!

But when you come, go and take the lowest seat, so that when the giver of the feast comes, he may say to you, Friend, come up higher; and then you will have honour in the eyes of all the others who are there.” (Luke 14:10 – BBE)

Taking a seat and being given a seat aren’t always the same thing. While they both can be a preference, only one can be done with presumptuousness while the other will only be done with prudence.

It was never Jesus’ goal with his lessons to get a person to think less of themselves per say – his goal was to get people to think rightly of themselves. A failure to think rightly was, and still is, a driving force behind many our decisions that are made wrongly.

While he is better known for saying, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12 – NKJV), to this situation the apostle Paul may have said, “To him who thinks he sits take heed lest he falls.

Jesus had no problems with people who wanted to RSVP in the kingdom of God, for that he required; the problem was with people who wanted to proclaim themselves a VIP in the kingdom of God by seating themselves at the table!

Let us all learn the lesson that says pride may lift us up in the eyes of others, but it is the Lord who will sit us down at his table.

And in the same way, let the younger men be ruled by the older ones. Let all of you put away pride and make yourselves ready to be servants: for God is a hater of pride, but he gives grace to those who make themselves low. For this cause make yourselves low under the strong hand of God, so that when the time comes you may be lifted up;” (1 Peter 5:5-6 – BBE)

#humility, #jesus, #kingdom-of-god, #parables, #practial-lessons, #pride, #religion

(#34) The Proverbs of Solomon 11:2-The Shame of Pride

Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Judgments Solomon made about individual cases brought to him for Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10), or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 11:2: When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom.

Humility is not thinking less of oneself that is deserved, but simply the recognition that God is far greater than we’ll ever be. The more of God’s Wisdom we possess, the more we realize how humble we should be. Moses was the humblest man on earth (Numbers 12:3); who led the Israelites 40 years to humble them (Deuteronomy 8:2, 16); a lesson Solomon was called upon to repeat (2 Chronicles 7:12-14); and the Apostle Paul would show the church of God at Corinth (2 Corinthians 12:20-21). “Modest” also describes the “humble,” as someone who does not need self-promotion. It is true today, that we should: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10).

The opposite of humility is “pride,” which prompts the command: “Do not be wise in your own opinion” (Romans 12:16). Pride precedes: “shame” (Proverbs 11:2), “destruction” and “a fall” (Proverbs 16:18), being brought “low” (Proverbs 29:23). It is still true that: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Jesus Christ scolded Pharisees with the statement: “”And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). Children who are constantly told they are smarter, stronger, better than their own parents or grandparents, have been pumped up with the false attitude of “pride.” The New Testament warns against this: “And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know” (1 Corinthians 8:2). Children who think they already “know it all” will never appreciate and learn God’s Wisdom!

God brought down those who became “proud:” Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar learned this (Daniel 4:28-32), Jewish King Herod learned this (Acts 12:18-24), and Roman Governor Pilate learned this (John 19:10-12). Don’t buy into the fictional belief that we are equal to, or greater than, God! If we think our country is great and powerful because we are richer, smarter, stronger, or more productive through our efforts alone, we are as proud as Nebuchadnezzar, whom God brought down for a lesson in humility! If we think our politicians, courts, and legislators are “the voice of a god, and not of a man,” we shall be brought down, as Herod, for not giving God the glory! If we think we are more powerful than Jesus Christ, we will be brought to ruin as Pilate and the Roman Empire! No “government” is greater than God, though many keep trying to be too great to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God (1 Peter 5:6).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #destruction, #fall, #government, #herod, #humility, #nebuchadnezzar, #obedience, #pharaoh, #pilate, #practical-lessons, #pride, #proverbs, #shame, #wisdom

Studies in the Book of Proverbs #8

(#8) The Wise Trust God And Improve Their Lives 3:1-12

Following God’s Wisdom brings out the best qualities in us, as we learn to have total confidence in God’s guidance. Heeding Wisdom will give one:

Verses 1-2: Longer Life. “My son” is an expression used some 15 times in the first 7 chapters of Proverbs, for it is written as if Solomon is instructing his son. The way to “not forget” law is to “let your heart keep” the commands. This is explained in James 1:21-25 and applied to Christian obedience. Obedience comes from the “heart,” as do all our words (Matthew 12:35-37), sins (Mark 7:21-23), jobs (Ephesians 6:5-8). Blessings promised include “length of days” as in good health, “long life” as in living to old age, and “peace” as assistance to abundance or prosperity. Statistics show that those who regularly go to church live longer.

Verses 3-4: Better Relations. If “mercy” (feelings for the plight of our fellowmen) and “truth” (factual and accurate knowledge of our, and others’, actions) are written on our heart, we will wear them like jewelry. These two qualities of character are appreciated (“favor and high esteem”) among men and by God. All deep friendships are based upon understanding the friend, and honesty.

Verses 5-6: Higher Direction. Total trust in God in all our ways is possible because He made us (Genesis 1:26-27), greatly loved us (Ephesians 2:4-7), gave His Son for us (Ephesians 5:1-2). Why should we not believe He wants to help us make the best decisions in our lives? Trust “with all our heart” means we give up our “own understanding” and defer to His direction. It reduces tension to know what to do.

Verses 7-8: Better Health. To be “wise in your own eyes” is another way of describing “loftiness and arrogance and pride” (Jeremiah 48:29-31), but it takes “fear” (respect, awe) of the LORD, and the desire to “depart from evil” (or leave sinful practices, also known as repentance). By listening to God, we may keep our physical bodies from the dissipation and disease of sins, and live healthier and stronger lives, just as God promised His Israelites (Deuteronomy 15:26). Humility is the way of recognizing realistically our place in this vast world, without hypocrisy.

Verses 9-10: Better Prosperity.  Thank God first with whatever we prosper, and He will think of us when we prosper. “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). God always has required that giving to Him come before any other consideration, and be freewill (Leviticus 23:37-38).

Verses 11-12: Better Attitude. A person who wants to be a spiritual “child of God” will accept some things that happen in life as God’s “chastening” (teaching) or “correction” (sometimes hurtful reminders not to stray from the path of good). No parent loves his/her child who will not “correct” (discipline) the child, when needed. These two verses are used to show Christians not to become discouraged at God’s correction, for it proves that God is dealing with them as a child whom He loves (Hebrews 12:3-11).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version,  unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #christian-living, #correction, #daily-bible-reading, #discipline, #god, #health, #life, #long-life, #mercy, #obedience, #practical-lessons, #pride, #proverbs, #sin, #teaching, #truth, #wisdom

Think You’re Perfect???

There’s a saying that says, “If you think you’re perfect try walking on water.”

It’s a wonderful saying that still carries a punch, but as I sit today typing up next week’s bulletin maybe one that would hit closer to home would say something like, “If you think you’re perfect then try turning off spellcheck!

Yah, tht’l do ti every time.

But I say to every one of you, through the grace given to me, not to have an over-high opinion of himself, but to have wise thoughts, as God has given to every one a measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3 – BBE)

#humility, #opinon, #pride, #religion, #spellcheck, #walking-on-water

Maine’s Camden Herald ran two photographs on the…

Maine’s Camden Herald ran two photographs on the same page. One was of the towns Aldermen and mayor and the other was of a flock of sheep. Under the picture of sheep were the names of the Aldermen and mayor. Under the picture of the town officials the caption read: “the sheepfold: naïve and vulnerable. They huddle for security against the uncertainties of the outside world.”Actually, there is an interesting lesson to this unintended faux pas. Even the strongest, the wisest, the most influential, and prestigious of man are weak, ignorant and powerless in many ways. Let him who sits in pompous pride be reminded that “pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” How quickly we pass from hero to zero, from “the cock of the walk” to feather duster, from Who’s Who to Who Was Who, from formidable to forgotten. This is just a minute with Ed Boggess

#humility, #just-a-minute, #pride