7Don't ever think that you
are wise enough,
but respect the LORD
and stay away from evil.
8This will make you healthy,
and you will feel strong.
Contemporary English Version. Copyright © 1995 British & Foreign Bible Society. Used by permission.
Our local town had the dubious honour of being selected for Oprah’s Million Dollar Neighbourhood reality show. The show is based on the premise that it will encourage and teach people how to get out of debt. The first show of the season is designed to reveal just how bad people’s finances are. Houses are about to be lost, hoarders are revealed, extreme shopping habits are exposed, etc. Watching this, the temptation for me was to self-righteously ask, “How could they?” But at the local coffee shop this morning I had to admit to a friend that actually as a family we are where we are largely because of my wife’s commitment to appropriate financial management and not because of my wisdom.
As I listened to some of our neighbours tearfully describing what had brought about their difficulties I pondered the fact that we can rationalize almost anything—material acquisitions, activities or relationships.
The Scriptures contain a wealth of advice that provides us with practical ways to live well. In fact this particular chapter and the entire book of Proverbs have some of the best. But we aren’t left with a set of instructions that is difficult to follow. The Gospels introduce to us to a life with Christ. He takes us beyond practical suggestions and into the position of our heart, challenging us to enter life in him to the extent that our natural actions and reactions will be rooted in a new creation full of love, and living in harmony and communion with him and our neighbour.
It seems that left to ourselves we often exercise a short term version of wisdom that can largely be self-serving and designed for self-gratitude. At times like this we can lack a respect for the Lord and even for how we are created. Health and strength come to those who enter into a regenerate life.
Lord, I long to be the healthy, strong individual you created me to be. I subject my wisdom to the light of Christ. Give me strength and insight that I might intentionally turn from evil and respect your way.