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The book of Proverbs as we know is all about wisdom but wisdom without God will never end well.


12 There is a way that appears to be right,
   but in the end it leads to death. (NIV)


Even the writer King Solomon when faced with becoming king knew to ask God for the wisdom to lead and that pleased God (1 Kings 3:9-10).


At the same time though the practicality of Proverbs is what makes it so appealing to those seeking advice for life.


15 The simple believe anything,
   but the prudent give thought to their steps.


So, which is it?  Well… both.


This chapter has a lot of practical advice like; watch who you hang out with (v7), watch what you say (v3), mind your temper (v17) and hard work pays off (v23) amongst other things.


Some might say that this practicality lacks spirituality but in fact it’s addressing the core issue of impulsive selfishness.  Being driven by self is the essence of sin.


In ‘spiritual’ terms we might say the ‘flesh being subject to the spirit’ or to put it more plainly ‘acting versus reacting’.  To give thought to one’s steps is seeking God’s wisdom above our own for the direction we need to take.  It’s pausing and acting in God’s love rather than just going with what ‘feels’ like the right response.


In fact, if you look for themes relating to the fruits of the spirit in the chapter, you’ll find Love (v22), Joy (v27), Peace (v30), Patience (v29), Kindness (v21), Goodness (v14), Faithfulness (v22) & Self-Control (v16). 


It’s also clear in several verses that life is in the Lord.


27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
   turning a person from the snares of death.


There’s nothing more spiritual than that.


So, the perceived separation between practical wisdom and being led by the spirit isn’t real.  To be led only by what we ‘feel’ spiritually isn’t that different to being led by what we ‘feel’ physically and emotionally.


Proverbs provides a great framework for how to respond to the things we face on the regular, how to approach life and how we interact with those around us.


Always remembering that any path we take without the Lord at the centre is a path we’ll need to come back from at some stage.


Blessings, Marcelo “Oakbridge” Encina

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