Proverbs Study Day 45

Proverbs 7:1-3

My son, keep my words

and store up my commands within you.

Keep my commands and you will live;

guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.

Bind them on your fingers:

Write them on the tablet of your heart. (Proverbs 7:1-3 NIV)

Don’t huff. Hearing this message again is vital to us. Repetition is the key to remembering and some people (most of us) need it more than others.

It cannot be told enough to us that these words are important. It is not like many of the elders around us, that are just repeating themselves, probably just to hear their own voices, try to boss us around, or just to be a pain. I’m being slightly funny but mainly being serious. That is what most people who assume the elder role do. But when they become an embodiment of these very words of wisdom, and these same words are kept by them, remembered by them, treasured by them, with them at all times, and a part of everything that comes from them, how could we not listen?

I want to take this moment to revisit some comments I made earlier.

When you are the parent, grandparent, aunt, or just one of the older or more mature people, you assume a role of elder to the younger ones. Now, in a sense you are absolutely correct. You are the older one therefore the elder. But from a true Biblical standpoint, are you?

The Lord looks at our hearts and souls. Our physical age does not necessarily play into His criteria on many levels. A much chronologically younger person might be much more mature spiritually than a senior citizen who has been in church their entire lives. In that case, the elder would be the physically younger person.

Are you an Elder?

Are you an elder? Let’s see how many of these you can answer yes to (sincerely and honestly before God, mind you).

- Do you regularly spend time in the Word during personal study?

- Do you pray regularly in a manner that allows you to listen to God’s voice?

- Can others point to the fruits of the Spirit in your life?

- Are you intentionally growing and developing more Christ-like characteristics?

- Do you rely on God’s guidance in any and all circumstances instead of your own opinions?

- Do you exhibit humility?

- Are you able to control your tongue or at least realize its effects and keep that fire extinguisher handy?

- Are you teachable?

- Can you accept correction?

- Do you fellowship regularly with other believers?

- If asked, would others call you a spiritual elder?

If you can honestly before God answer “Yes” to at least 8 of these, you are an elder for Christ and worthy of dispensing wisdom.

If you were not able to quite answer that many positively, then you are on the road to eldership.

If you could barely answer “Yes” to two of them, then you are not an elder and need to more discipleship in growth.

I know that this sounds harsh. I’m being harsh to myself as well. But there are way too many people within the church family, physical family, and all other societal families that assume roles that they are not ready to assume. The Word talks about how much responsibility being a leader, pastor, and/or teacher is. James 3:1 says “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (NIV). In a sense, when you assume the role of elder you assume the role of teacher. Are you appointing yourself to this role or is God? Remember the end result of your teaching.

Sometimes a slow steady drop has a much larger impact than a flood.
Sometimes a slow steady drop has a much larger impact than a flood.
The rocks from the dawn of the ages have outlasted anything made by man.  Solid is the rock you stand on.
The rocks from the dawn of the ages have outlasted anything made by man. Solid is the rock you stand on.
A little wine is good for the stomach.  A lot of wine is bad for everything else.
A little wine is good for the stomach. A lot of wine is bad for everything else.
Purity comes in all forms.  But the one thing it has in common is nothing impure.
Purity comes in all forms. But the one thing it has in common is nothing impure.
When the storms arise and they will, where do you get your strength?
When the storms arise and they will, where do you get your strength?
Love and respect have to be strengthened as the years go by.  Don't wait until it is too late.
Love and respect have to be strengthened as the years go by. Don't wait until it is too late.
Guard the teachings.  Put up protection and grow.
Guard the teachings. Put up protection and grow.
Remember the promises.  They will help you grow in wisdom.
Remember the promises. They will help you grow in wisdom.

Characteristics of Elder/Mentor

Keeping in line with my firm belief that the Bible should be taken as a whole, let’s look at Titus 2 which lays out some more poignant guidelines for being an elder or mentor. Though many of the words are addressed specifically to men and then others to women, when the Word is taken as a whole they really apply to both sexes and I’ll look at it from that point of view. (If you are seriously wanting to grow and strengthen your walk, take out a notebook and let’s begin.)

1. Temperate – not being extreme or excessive. That means in any part of your life – family, hobbies, work, church, even sports. Write down all the areas of your life that you think that you might be excessive in. Take a minute and then write down all the ones others would say you are extreme in.

2. Worthy of respect – You could make some arguments that respect comes automatically in some positions and as one grows older. I would agree. But respect as a spiritual elder does not come automatically. You have to be found worthy of that role. Do you think that others around you look at you with respect because of the wisdom in you and your strong walk with Christ?

3. Self-controlled – to be able to restrain own desires and impulses. That is a hard one for everyone. This again covers every area of your life including the tongue (James 3:1-12). Are you able to watch your words and use them only in the way God wants you to? Are you able to control how much money you spend? Are you able to control how much you eat or drink? Are you able to control your passions? Would others agree? List out what you have trouble controlling. Take time to go over what you can do to gain control of these.

4. Sound in faith – solid in trusting God and believing in His salvation. When the going gets tough do you rely on Him, or do you get angry or fall apart? Do you trust Him when you lose your job? When your children leave home? When you are diagnosed with cancer? When life throws a curve ball? Do other see this in you? List out when your faith falters. Go back and note what you can do to strengthen it.

5. Sound in love – solid in loving even the unlovely. That is another hard one for many. Can you love the drunkard? the prostitute? the foul-mouthed relative? the ones who make more money than you? the ones who just do things differently? the ones who are always in your face? Can others see that love? List out who you have trouble loving. What can you do about changing that?

6. Sound in endurance – solid in being able to withstand hardships and difficulties. This kind of goes in with the faith one but is still separate. When life seems like it is bringing all the elements against you, can you be strong and stay rooted? Can others see you bend in the hurricane but not break or become uprooted? When do you get weak here? What can give you more endurance?

7. Reverent living – making sure that your life is honoring God and His commands. Once again this could cover it all. Can others see you honoring God while you are washing dishes or caring for a disabled person? Where can you live more reverantly?

8. Avoiding slandering/gossiping – Do you open your mouth and tell others about who you saw where, when, and with who? Do you have a hard time not rushing to pick up the phone to tell the latest? Do you pass on information without verifying the accuracy of it? Does anything you say hurt anyone else? Are you guilty of this?

9. Drunkenness – Note that I’m not saying drinking right here (though for some it should be avoided totally). It goes in hand with the temperate one in saying that you should not do this in excess. Can you stop at one? Can you just not have one at all? Can you forgo just a small one?

10. Love spouses and children – Can others see the love for your spouse and/or children in you? Or do they only see the frustration and irritation (that does come with marriage and parenting also)? Where is the love????

11. Pure – containing nothing that doesn’t belong. What in your life doesn’t belong there to keep your heart pure? TV? Material possessions? Influences from others? Books? Internet? (Not all being bad, but some degrees are) Anything that pulls you from Christ could be considered impure. List out the things in life that prevent you from being pure.

12. Integrity – following ethical and moral standards. This is another one that could cover a lot of ground. What would others say about your integrity? Are you ethical? Do you exhibit good morals? Though I believe that there are basic ethical and moral standards that cross all religions and all cultures, there are also others that come into the picture when you get into new cultures. In those cultures that you live, could you be called ethical?

13. Sound words and teachings – This comes back to the point of Proverbs – to learn sound teaching and pass it on. Are the words coming out of your mouth backed by the Word? Are they guidance that the Holy Spirit has placed on your tongue? Or are they your personal opinion or need for control?

14. Subject to authority/employers – No matter how bad your boss is or how horrible you think the political leader is, do you respect their position, are you honest in your stewardship of what they have entrusted in you, and an employee or citizen that works for God?

These are just a few of the characteristics we should exhibit as elders. The fruits of the spirit should also be looked at (Galatians 5:22-23).

Love
Love
Joy
Joy
Peace
Peace
Patience
Patience
Kindness
Kindness
Goodness
Goodness
Faithfulness
Faithfulness
Gentleness
Gentleness
Self-control
Self-control

Fruits of the Spirit

1. Love – this was mentioned in #5 above. Do you really love? I didn’t say like or are best buddies. Those are the easy ones to love. But I mean really love (care for the other’s well being, state of soul, unselfish concern)? Can you love the person who irritates you the most?

2. Joy – a state of happiness. I’m not talking total giddiness or having no sadness at all. I’m talking about a state of happiness within your very soul that is there even when the hurricane swirls around you. We are called to have joy. Can others see this?

3. Peace – the opposite of war and strife. We should be looking for ways to keep peace. Do not take this to such an extreme that you refuse to listen to the Holy Spirit’s (mind you – HIM – not you) guidance to rebuke, correct, and possess holy anger for confrontation. Though we are called to peace, we are called to follow God. This is more addressing our daily lives. Daily we should not have to rebuke or show God’s anger. We should strive toward peace in our lives in accordance to His will. Can others see that?

4. Patience – bearing through trials without complaint. That means through physical pain, through persecution, through loss of jobs, through loss of family members, through raising kids. Now, that everyone on the planet has just been punched….

5. Kindness – to act in love and concern. Even to the ones who you might not think deserve it. Even to those that are not kind to you.

6. Goodness – to act upright and with good intentions. Do you approach a situation or person with good intentions knowing that you are a light to them?

7. Faithfulness – steadfast in your allegiance. This ties into #4 of the first group of characteristics that we went over. Do you waffle on whether you really believe? Do you change as the winds change? Can others see this?

8. Gentleness – being soft and delicate. I’m not saying that everyone has be to be Susy Homemaker (especially the men). But you can approach delicate situations with a gentleness and not the harshness, brashness, or sharpness that most people do. Remember the passage in James (3:1-12) about the tongue. When we can control the tongue, we can be exude gentleness.

9. Self-control – Ditto from #3 above. Can you restrain yourself from buying another pair of shoes to go with the other 100 pair you have? Can you restrain yourself from buying that tub of ice cream? Can you control your desires, your tongue, your selfishness?

Summation

I’d like to pull this all together now by saying that it sounds like none of us are ever going to be elders. I admit that many of us will never attain perfection in all of these. But we are called to strive for them and make them the goals in our lives for personal development. There are some that you may naturally do as part of your spiritual DNA. That is great. But what about the ones that don’t come naturally? Those are the ones you need to focus on and grow. Then you will be the one that, even while you yourself are growing in these characteristics, are being looked as an elder and being sought out for words of wisdom. You can begin to do this by

My son, keep my words

and store up my commands within you.

Keep my commands and you will live;

guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.

Bind them on your fingers:

Write them on the tablet of your heart. (Proverbs 7:1-3 NIV)

Stay in the Word and keep wisdom close to your heart.

Other Gems to Visit

Here are few others that you might want to visit.

Proverbs Day 44 - not calling it a gem by a long shot but in case you sit scratching your head about where this day 45 came from.

Proverbs Day 46 - the next one.


Inspirational Quotes for Everyday Living - Rob brings to us a collection of quotes that you can easily take to heart.

Start to Praise God no Matter What - Childcen brings a beautiful article that you just can't miss.



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Comments 4 comments

Mike the salesman profile image

Mike the salesman 7 years ago from birmingham alabama/sherwood oregon

Good Hub! So True.. An old bitty with hatefulness in heart, yet attending church every sunday, can be farther from heaven, than a common man!


His daughter 7 years ago

WOW! Where would one begin. You have so much here (all true) that you could break each one down and add so many more comments to each one. If one just focuses on conforming to the image of Christ, we can meet all that He says for us to be in His Word (including a humble servant).


RGraf profile image

RGraf 7 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Mike, thank you. And you are so right.

His daughter, yes there is a lot there. This is could be developed into a huge study and it is something I'm tossing around. Just writing this caused me to step on my own toes and to really watching myself the remainder of the day. Thank you for stopping by and taking all that time to read it all :)


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas

Lovely thoughts and beautiful pictures! Thank you! :)

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