Skillful Living 101—4 Your Life is at Stake

Proverbs 4, titled:  Your Life is at Stake, shows us the intense importance of getting wisdom.  

The book of Proverbs overflows with exhortations urging us to be smart enough to grasp wisdom and apply it to our life. The Proverbs go as far as to say that wisdom will preserve our life both physically and spiritually.

In Proverbs 4:1-13, Solomon implores us to grab a hold of wisdom, telling how his father and mother educated him on the seriousness of getting wisdom. As parents we need to pay close attention and teach our children the key necessities of life.

It’s no wonder when God said to Solomon in 2 Chronicles 1 “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” Solomon answered “wisdom.” As a result of  Solomon asking God for wisdom to wisely rule His people, God gave him wealth, riches, and fame such as no other king had before him or after him.

Read Proverbs 4, his parents drilled it into him. David, his father knew the importance of making wise choices—his life was a reflection of both the good and the bad—of choosing and not choosing wisdom.

Let’s take this a step further, we have to teach our children not only to get wisdom but to get God—to make Jesus Lord of their heart and life. Wisdom has to lead us to knowing God.

The wisest choice a person can make, is to give up their life and choose a relationship with God.

If our children only know about God and never know Him in a submitted personal relationship—they can end up just as Solomon did. This is true for us parents as well. We have to teach by lifestyle example. Our relationship with God has to go beyond a quaint Sunday service—truthfully we cannot give away what we don’t have.

Unfortunately Solomon didn’t let wisdom keep him bound to what was of the utmost importance—a lifelong sold out heart.

Skillful Living Tool for Parenting:  Know God yourself. Drill the importance of wisdom into your children—pray it leads them to know God personally.

Proverbs was written when Solomon was at the height of maturity and power. Proverbs gives us worthy practical guidance. We should not down grade its instruction because of Solomon, but should use it as a skillful living tool—teaching us to always keep our heart loyal to the Lord.

Proverbs 4:14-17, warns us of the hazards that occur when associating with the wicked. What do you think happened to Solomon? Why in his old age did he turn away from the Lord God and worship other gods? Why did he associate with and marry wicked women? (Read 1 Kings 11, it tells of Solomon’s tragic fall.)

It’s hard to fathom someone of such great wisdom being foolish enough to give into idolatry. Nonetheless it happened. His own self-will overrode God’s will for his life. God warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods and marrying foreign women, but Solomon did not listen or obey the Lord’s commands. He was captivated by lust and married foreign women who turned his heart away from God and influenced him to worship their gods. Scripture says Solomon’s heart was not loyal to God.

Skillful living tool:  Keep your heart loyal to God.

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Likewise, to live skillfully we need to be very vigilant to what we allow in our home and heart. Solomon did not fall over night but slowly let foreign women into his household, and then his heart—consequently diluting his convictions and eventually persuading his heart to follow their methods for life.

It is also essential that unmarried adults guard who they allow themselves to fall in love with. Similarly parents need to teach their children the importance of marrying someone of common faith, passion and beliefs.

We have to guard what we permit in our home and heart, so we do not compromise our faith and relationship with God

Skillful Living Tool:  Guard your home and your heart.

Another skillful living tool is directed at wives. A wife has amazing influence in the life of her husband. By her words, beliefs and actions she can turn his heart and soul in a good or bad direction. As women we need to love our husbands as we love Christ. We should be an example to him of God’s unconditional love and faithfulness. Always being watchful of our actions—bridging him to Christ and not away.

Skillful Living Tool for Wives:  Be careful in what direction you turn the heart of your husband!

As a result of Solomon turning his heart from God and into idolatry, the kingdom was taken from his lineage and they were only given rule over one tribe. And worse, the people of Israel intermarried and began to worship foreign gods—living lives of idolatry—breaking the first and greatest commandment. Thus began Israel’s demise and eventual exile.

Solomon’s father sinned—but he repented. David never fully turned the worship of his heart away from God. He did suffer the consequences of his sin, yet he continually sought God and His forgiveness. In turn God poured out His grace and mercy upon David. There is no record of Solomon’s repentance, or of him destroying any of the altars he set up for idol worship in Israel.

Skillful Living Tool:  Continually seek God and live a lifestyle of repentance.

The end of Proverbs 4 gives sound advice. Verse 26-27, “Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil.”

Solomon became lax and compromising in his old age, to the point of not following his own godly wisdom. Now’s a good time to check your own heart, have you allowed anything ungodly to come along side your Christianity? Is there any form of idolatry in your life? If so—be like David—repent and turn.

Please be encouraged to live distraction free—keep your eyes on Jesus, guarding your heart all the days of your life!

Thank you for following along with this series on Skillful Living. Living skillfully is a daily choice for all of us. I hope these insights on Proverbs assist you in decision making. Please share with those who long to live skillfully!

Note:  The Skillful Living Toolbox has its own page! Check it out! To access it, click the tab at the top of this page.

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