Thursday, June 29, 2017

Train a Child

Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22-6 NIV

I usually think of this verse as an encouragement for parents dealing with rebellious children. Sometimes as a parent, I have wanted to just throw up my hands in frustration and let the children raise themselves. But over time, I did start to see that our efforts as parents did have a positive effect.  I see in some families, parents who are very hospitable, and later I see this same quality expressing itself in their children.  I see financially responsible parents raising children, who in turn, are financially responsible. I see honest, hardworking parents with their honest, hardworking offspring. Parents, extended family and friends, and Church family have a huge influence on children as they mature.

What I’ve also seen is the less cheery side of this verse.  I have seen parents with a sense of entitlement pass that on to their children.  I’ve seen proud, argumentative parents turn their children into confrontational adults.  Christians, who have tried to go it alone, are an encouragement to their children to be disrespectful of the greater church.  I am forever grateful to the extended family and friends who helped to fill in the gaps of my imperfect parenting , and were examples of godly living in a way that I was lacking.

 This should be a scary verse for any parent because while it promises that a good upbringing will last a lifetime, it also carries the underlying warning that a bad upbringing will also last a lifetime.  We all need to pray for God's wisdom in this responsibility.


The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.  Proverbs 22:3 NIV

Satan loves to try to catch me in some sin.  My emotions and desires are easily manipulated if I don’t keep my head and heart soaking in God’s word.  I need other Christians to be near me so that they can give the shout out about dangers and where I can find refuge.  An important first step is to realize that there are dangers to beware of in the first place. Sometimes Christians think that they are automatically protected from the assaults of their own desires or Satan’s attacks. We all need to keep our spiritual eyes open for the pitfalls so that we can avoid them. Blinkered Christians can fall into many traps.

Little birds often flock together to help them to stay safe.  In the winter, they will call to each other to identify food sources at birdfeeders, and they will give alarm calls if a predator is nearby.  The group works together to ensure the wellbeing of all members of the flock.  We really put ourselves at risk when we don’t belong to a flock of believers.  Our fellow Christians help to show us danger and bring us back to the refuge of God’s way.  The simple or unwise person doesn’t look for or pay attention to good advice and pays the penalty for their misguided lifestyle. At the root of this sad outcome is a proud heart. The prudent are humble; the unwise are proud and mistakenly sure of their own ideas.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life. Proverbs 22:4

The biblical definition of humility is quite different from the one accepted by society at large which is feeling that you are less important than other people. This verse reminds me that humility is all about my relationship with God.  It is remembering that he is my creator, my saviour, my Lord. As far as other people are concerned, I am their equal. They may be more talented or richer or prettier, but they are still God’s creation like me. In the most fundamental sense, all people stand level, but we are certainly not equal to God. Accepting my true position as God’s creation and now, as a Christian, his child is what my humility is all about.

The riches that I receive from this humility are the blessings of being in close relationship with God.  The honour I have is the honour of being part of God’s family.  The life I have is eternal life with God, my saviour.  That life has already begun and  will be even more wonderful when I meet him face to face. My humility is not modesty or feeling inferior; my humility is a celebration of my wonderful position in the loving arms of my sovereign Father.

Slave of the Lender

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.  Proverbs 22:7 NIV

So often I hear people declare that they can’t live in a particular house or neighbourhood, or they can’t do a certain job, or they can’t do without something. Wants are presented as needs.   I know it can be difficult to live in a challenging situation, but to say that you can’t is usually a bit of hyperbole. The apostle Paul said he could be content in any situation. He was so focused on God and building the Kingdom of God that his own comfort and security was never his priority. He lacked the selfish ambition that James warns about in his letter.

I have lived long enough to have shared life experiences with people over a period of decades. I’ve seen the choices they have made and how it has impacted their lives long term. I have seen people live within their means even if they were constrained, and I have seen people borrow to live at a standard they feel they deserve. To live within your means is to acknowledge that God is the provider and that he knows how much to provide. To borrow what you can’t afford to pay back is to second guess God and set your own agenda. In the end, heavy debt is always a burden that is never outweighed by the advantages that were bought on credit. Chronic anxiety starts to be coupled with a sense of guilt because, as a Christian, it is not God-honoring to have borrowed for selfish satisfaction. And, of course, you are a slave to the lender who can start to dictate what you can do and where you can live.