We live in an age of experts. Self-reliance rules. And Christians are not immune. The problem is, following our own way does not lead to life. In order to get the most out of this life we have to first realize that we don’t know how to get the most out of this life. That’s where the book of Proverbs comes in. Proverbs is a large bucket of ice water over your head if you are an independent type like me. It’s filled with practical advice on living. There is so much depth in each chapter that you are forced to pour over each verse slowly and deliberately. Nothing here is easy to apply and everything here is life changing.
The main point of Proverbs is simple: wisdom is the way to life and success in this world. The wise seek out wisdom from its source (God’s word) and live by it. The foolish assume they know what is best themselves and live accordingly. The wise get the most out of this life and enter into eternity with their Lord. The foolish fall short of the best in this life and miss out on an afterlife with the Lord in paradise. Like Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.” (Matthew 7:13). Proverbs illuminates the narrow gate.
Proverbs takes us beyond being justified by Christ through faith into practical everyday life. The choices we make each and every day are Lordship choices and they are either wise or foolish. In other words, choosing to obey our Lord comes in the form of everyday choices and these choices have real implications on our quality of life. For example, Proverbs 12: 9, “Better to be lowly and have a servant than to play the great man and lack bread.” This is a lesson on how to use our wealth and resources. It is telling us that it is better (more wise) to live within our means because when we use our resources to chase an image we end up overextending ourselves and go into nasty debt with very little real return. The Lordship choice is not just obedience for obedience sake. The right choice leads to a better quality of life. This is wisdom.
It all comes down to our own ability to accept instruction. Our own teachability is what stands in-between us and an abundant life now. Submitting to God through His word will lead to happiness in this world. And this doesn’t mean selectively obeying the parts we like. It means submitting to everything. True wisdom is admitting that God is a lot smarter than us and His ways are not just right but also best.
Will we seek out Godly correction and live God’s way or will we insist on following our own way? How we choose will literally shape our lives. It all comes down to teachability.