rejoice in the wife of your youth (Proverbs 5:18 ESV)
He dies for lack of discipline, (Proverbs 5:23)
if you are snared in the words of your mouth, (6:2) – plead urgently with your neighbor
While so much of what happens to us in life is out of our control, how it impacts our life is largely in our control.
We choose how to respond.
We choose our words.
We choose how long we linger on an offense.
We choose joy, or not.
We choose a disciplined life.
We choose to forgive.
We choose contentment.
We choose wisdom, or foolishness.
We choose surrender to God’s way, or spiraling into temptation and sin.
Proverbs does not paint a simple, easy picture of life, but it does make clear that we will be responsible for our choices. Throughout the verses we are warned against adultery, foolishness, temptation, and rebellion.
For whoever finds me [wisdom] finds life
and obtains favor from the Lord, (Proverbs 8:35 ESV)
Proverbs also shows the protection that God builds into obedience – marital faithfulness, contentment, blessing (in various forms).
Matthew 7 adds a fresh filter to these chapters in Proverbs. In all these areas, we should focus on and start with self-examination.
Establish your life on Jesus Christ, grow in Him so you bear good fruit, seek after Him, and then, you can come back to verse 5 and help your brother with his speck. First, you need to acknowledge that it is just a speck compared to the log you had to wrestle through, too.
You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:5 ESV)
I realized recently that it doesn’t say not to take out the speck as I had always kind of concluded – don’t judge, worry about yourself, stop finger-pointing, etc. It doesn’t really say that, but instead it gives a condition: remove your log first! Not only, just first.
Lord, I come to you again seeking wisdom. Show me those logs that obscure my vision, my judgment. Help me to mercilessly wrench them out of my life and thinking. Purify my heart and mind that I may be a catalyst for the body of Christ around me. ~Amen