The Good Life – First Steps
2 To know wisdom and instruction,
To perceive the words of understanding,
3 To receive the instruction of wisdom,
Justice, judgment, and equity;
4 To give prudence to the simple,
To the young man knowledge and discretion —
5 A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
6 To understand a proverb and an enigma,
The words of the wise and their riddles.
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
The ancient Chinese proverb says “the journey of one thousand miles begins with a one simple step.” The book of Proverbs teaches us that the journey toward The Good Life that God desires for each of us begins with two steps of acknowledgement. Be warned… these steps often are not simple.
The first step of acknowledgment is one of need. A step of acknowledging that regardless of how young or old, how experienced or naïve one may be in the things of life, we all need to continually gain wisdom and understanding. It is the acknowledgment that we don’t know it all, haven’t seen it all, surely have not experienced everything, and that there are sources from which we deeply need to learn.
It is the acknowledgement that my opinion and my understanding often are in error. The acknowledgement that my perception can cloud my judgment, that my emotions will lie to me, deceive me and, even with good intentions will lead me down paths of destruction. Jeremiah said “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
This first step of acknowledgment is surely a humbling one. The prideful dare not take it. To acknowledge they need to learn, and be willing to listen is a step the prideful just can't make. A wise person will hear and gain in understanding, while the fool will despise it. A fool, as characterized in Proverbs, is one who just will not listen.
Having acknowledged the need for wisdom, the next step is given in the acknowledgment of the source of true wisdom - the Lord Himself!
It is acknowledging, respecting, and revering God’s opinion and His words above anything else. It is seeking to, above all else, live a life that pleases the Lord even at the expense of pleasing myself and pleasing others.
These are the first steps to The Good Life.
Today we humbly bow before you and ask that you instruct us how to live. In every decision we face teach us to be wise. Keep us from emotional, irrational decisions. Keep us from jumping to conclusions before we have heard the whole truth. Teach us through your Word, by your Spirit and through others who have walked before us. Don’t let pride steer us down a path of destruction, but guide our steps down a humble way in order to please You!