Follow Your Heart – or Not?

Proverbs 16-18

Proverbs 16 3 4 NIV

For those of you that don’t know, I love Disney.  Like, a lot.  But one thing that often bothers me about many of the movies is the message to follow your heart.  It sounds nice, but I know if I always followed my heart, I would not be in a good place.  The beginning of Proverbs 16 reminds me of this.

If we just follow our hearts, we are likely to go the wrong way.  We need to seek the LORD, and He will establish our steps (16:9).  When we set our hearts on the LORD, then we become the wise.  When we are the wise, then we become the discerning (16:21), the ones who say what is right (16:23).  There are examples of many kinds of people in these chapters, but one thing is clear – all of the good things come from God.

A couple other of the lines of these proverbs stood out to me:

17:6 Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.

I have a daughter, and I know how much she is loved by her grandparents.  I may have even heard them say something like grandkids are better than kids.  What really struck me in this one is that parents are the pride of their children.  Am I living a life that my child would be proud of?  I mean, she is almost 2 right now – she loves everything I do.  But give it a few years – are my actions worthy of her pride?  Maybe some of you reading are parents and can ask yourselves this.  Maybe some of you are younger – direct yourselves to that first part – are you living a life that makes you a crown to your grandparents?

18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

When we talk, do we think about this big of an impact in what we say?  The power of life and death.  Sometimes we (or at least I) say the first thing that comes to my mind, and it is not always the best thing.  If I could remember this proverb, would it make me take the time to think about what I am going to say before I say it?  I hope so.

As you read through these chapters, spend some time focusing on the lines that stand out to you.  Take time to examine the parts of your life that might be calling out as you read these Proverbs.

 

~Stephanie Fletcher

 

Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+16-18&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be Proverbs 19-21 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

Your Powerful Tongue

Proverbs 18

Proverbs 18 21

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.”

Few phrases have been spoken more often and yet are so erroneous.

Words are certainly the weapon of choice for many, especially on the internet. And they hurt. And sometimes words can kill.

In 2000, Charity, a recent graduate of our local high school met some guys at a local mall. For reasons that defy common sense, she got to talking about her rich ex-boyfriend and how she was able to get around the home’s security system. Why was she telling these guys she just met all this? How does this come up in casual conversation? Was she bragging? Was she trying to appear tough? Regardless, the guys indicated they wanted to rob the place. She told these guys the family’s and the maid’s schedules and provided a layout of the property.

A few days later, she called her dad to ask him to pick her up from work. He told her to be careful because he had just heard on the news that there had been a triple murder near her workplace. According to court papers she “went into hysterics” and told a coworker she may be at fault.  She was eventually found guilty of accessory to murder and sentenced to 165 years in prison. (She was released 4 and 1/2 years later, but that’s another story.)

In Proverbs 18, like the chapters before and after, we see that our words are powerful. Verse 21 states that “the tongue has the power of life and death.”  Charity’s words brought death. I don’t know if she ever read Proverbs 18:5-7, but she certainly has lived them. Her words were partial to the wicked, denied the innocent justice, and then were a snare that trapped her, brought her strife, and invited a “beating” of sorts.

If you are reading the FUEL posts, I am confident that you are wise enough to guard your words. And I doubt any of you would ever say something to purposely lead to the death of another. I don’t even think you would purposely say anything to hurt anyone physically or emotionally. Continue to be mindful of your words.

Verse 21 also says that we will eat of the fruit of our words or receive the consequences of our words. If you are working on developing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) those fruits/consequences will be soft and safe, rather than sticks and stones.

Maria Knowlton