Think with Discernment, Part Two

Discernment is essential. Undiscerning love spawns and invites more heresy than any of us are ready to believe. One of the tactics of survival when facing “the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16) is to make certain we have cinched up the belt of truth rather tightly around ourselves. And what helps us do battle with the enemy also strengthens us in relationships with friends.

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The School of Hard Knocks

Consistent interaction with God’s Word, regular time spent with a godly mentor, and a choice group of friends all combine to give us the greatest opportunity for growth in wisdom. To these, I would add one more suggestion. Pay close attention to life’s reproofs. Wisdom shouts in the street, She lifts her voice in the square; At the head of the noisy streets she cries out;

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Keeping Good Company

In our continuing quest for divine wisdom, I have suggested, first, that we read Proverbs regularly and, second, that we gain the perspective of experienced, godly believers. We must also guard what we have. Choose your friends carefully. My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait for blood, Let us ambush the innocent without cause;

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Seasoned Citizens of the Kingdom

No source of wisdom can match the timeless, infallible, inerrant Word of God. But don’t ignore the wisdom of other seasoned believers. 2. Hear and heed the counsel of those you respect. Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching; Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head and ornaments about your neck. (1:8–9)

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An Annual Refresher Course

We have given much thought to the subject of wisdom and taken time to hear the counsel of ancient Israel’s wisest teachers. This discipline undoubtedly supplied you with lots of helpful information. Such knowledge is a good beginning, but I hope you won’t be satisfied with mere knowledge of the Bible. My first suggestion for becoming wise might seem obvious or maybe even redundant. Nevertheless, I stand by it.

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Knowledge versus Wisdom

When we first looked at the sayings of Solomon and the wise men of Israel, we began with Proverbs 1. It occurs to me that it would be worthwhile to return to it as we consider for the final time our tendency to substitute knowledge for wisdom. This is not only a daily grind; it is a lifetime challenge! How easy it is to acquire knowledge, yet how difficult and painstaking is the process of gaining wisdom.

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Sowers of Dissension

The last two abominations break from the pattern of using body parts as illustrations. The Lord finds these activities detestable, and they are linked together because they have similar effects on the community of God’s people. 6. A false witness who utters lies: Rare are the truth tellers, and many are those who deliberately misrepresent the facts.

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Becoming Numb

Solomon’s anatomy of sinful behavior concludes with a look at the evildoer’s feet. Not a pretty sight under any circumstances! 5. Feet that run rapidly to evil: This figure of speech actually has more to do with the heart than the feet. First of all, it refers to habitual sin, and old habits are hard to break. Furthermore, because we have gotten away with the sin before, the skids are greased.

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Murder and Malice

The Lord’s list of abominations—behaviors He intensely detests—continues with the hands and the heart. 3. Hands that shed innocent blood: The shedding of blood refers to killing someone, not merely drawing blood in a nonfatal injury, and the qualification “innocent” is important. First, Solomon had murder specifically in mind, an act that the Lord considers an abomination.

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Pride and Deception

Solomon’s fatherly advice to his son begins with a focus on parts of the body, starting from the head and working down: eyes, tongue, hands, heart, and feet. Today, we take it from the top. Haughty eyes: As the old saying goes, “The eyes are a window to the soul.” Did you know that five facial muscles are dedicated to each eye? Those ten muscles serve no other purpose than to express emotion around the eyes.

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