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A God Shaped Life - A Study of the Book of Proverbs (Chapter 11)
Without good directions, people lose their way
Chapter 11 of Proverbs continues contrasting and comparing good and evil characteristics and the outcome we can expect from each lifestyle. The opening verses of Chapter 11 give clear directions to the business man and those dealing in the business world.
The first verse of Proverbs 11 is clear and concise;
“God hates cheating in the marketplace; he loves it when business is aboveboard.” (Proverbs 11:1 TMB)
There is no doubting that this verse tells us God will not tolerate unscrupulous business practices. No grey areas, no fuzzy lines, God will not bless a business that operates outside the law of the land, and far from godly wisdom.
There are two words that oppose one another, those are pride and humility. In verse 2 we see what happens when a person chooses to be prideful instead of humble.
“When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2 NKJV)
“The stuck-up fall flat on their faces, but down-to-earth people stand firm.” (Proverbs 11:2 TMB)
It is easy for a successful business person to fall into a prideful attitude. People tend to heap praises on those who are successful and sometimes that success can go to their heads. It is important that all, regardless of our position in life, remain humble and keep in mind that we are only successful because of the blessings of God. I’ve seen many successful people let pride take over only to watch their success fall flat and their businesses, and even their lives, end in disappointment and ruin.
Again we see in verse 3 two words that juxtapose one another to show the outcome of godly living as opposed to the ungodly. Those two words are integrity and perversity;
“The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.” (Proverbs 11:3 NKJV)
“The integrity of the honest keeps them on track; the deviousness of crooks brings them to ruin.” (Proverbs 11:3 TMB)
I like how The Message Bible uses the word “devious” in this verse. There are many in the business worlds that are devious, and whether you use perverse or devious, the outcome is still the same . . . destruction and ruin.
Regardless of what some may think, the Bible does not promise us a life free of difficulties or trials. Life is full of them. The challenge is how we face these tests and trials. As those seeking wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, we are given the tools to face whatever happens in life without being destroyed. The goal is not to ever fall down, but to get back up when you do, and be a better person for it.
“Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright, but the wicked will fall by his own wickedness. The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but the unfaithful will be taken by their own lust” (Proverbs 11: 4-6 NKJV)
“A thick bankroll is no help when life falls apart, but a principled life can stand up to the worst. Moral character makes for smooth traveling; an evil life is a hard life. Good character is the best insurance; crooks get trapped in their sinful lust.” (Proverbs 11: 4-6 TMB)
Everyone, godly or ungodly, have dreams and plans for their life. But what happens to those dreams and plans when life is over?
“When the wicked die, that’s it – the story’s over, end of hope. (Proverbs 11:7 TMB)
But the righteous man’s dreams and plans will be fulfilled in his lifetime, and his hope will live on.
“The righteous is delivered from trouble, and it comes to the wicked instead. The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor. But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered. When it goes well with the righteous the city rejoices; and when the wicked perish there is shouting.” (Proverbs 11: 8 – 10 NKJV)
Mind Your Tongue
It is very important that godly people watch what they say, how they say it, and to whom they say it. It is the power of our words that build up or destroy ourselves, our families, our church, our communities, and our nation.
“By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted, but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.” (Proverbs 11: 11 NKJV)
Have you ever known someone that talks bad about everyone behind their back? Here in the south we say they “dog cuss em”. They may be a member of your church, your hair dresser, or someone you work with every day. You hear what they say about everyone else and you know, that when you’re not around, they are “dog cussing” you too.
“He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his peace. A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.” (Proverbs 11: 12 & 13 NKJV)
“Mean—spirited slander is heartless; quiet discretion accompanies good sense. A gadabout gossip can’t be trusted with a secret, but someone of integrity won’t violate a confidence.”(Proverbs 11: 12 & 13 TMB)
Seek Wise and Godly Counsel
By nature, human beings don’t like being told what to do but Proverbs tells us that without good directions our way gets cloudy and confusing. The important thing is to seek wise and godly counsel. There are many voices in life trying to give directions, make sure the directions you are getting stand up to testing by the Word of God.
“Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.” (Proverbs 11:14 TMB)
“Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:14 NKJV)
Be careful of making deals with anyone. If it looks too good to be true, it usually is. Walk in gentleness and grace avoiding those who are greedy and grab for anything and everything.
“Whoever makes deals with strangers is sure to get burned; if you keep a cool head, you’ll avoid rash bargains. A woman of gentle grace gets respect, but men of rough violence grab for loot.” (Proverbs 11:15 & 16 TMB)
A God-Shaped Life
To have a God-Shaped life there are two traits to strive for, kindness and mercy. Those who show no mercy or kindness will have a life filled with strife and bitterness; a life of sorrow that will affect everyone close to them.
I have seen many people who live a righteous and godly life; they are blessed and content in every aspect of their lives. Has everything always been smooth sailing? Of course not, the difference between how those on the path of wisdom and godly living face the trials of life, are in the attitude of their souls. They know in whom to trust and on what to stand. They have faith in the promises of God and are filled with a peace that surpasses all understanding.
I have also seen the path of destruction taken by those who are consumed by anger and bitterness; those who are deceptive and seek only vengeance against anyone who gets in their way. They live lives of constant turmoil and disappointment; but they don’t see that it’s because of their own attitudes and actions, they blame everyone else around them. Worst of all, the people around them who love and care for them, suffer because of their ungodly ways.
The merciful man does good for his own soul, but he who is cruel troubles his own flesh. The wicked man does deceptive work, but to him who sows righteousness will be a sure reward. As righteousness leads to life, so he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death. (Proverbs 11:17 -19 NKJV)
When you’re kind to others, you help yourself; when you’re cruel to others, you hurt yourself. Bad work gets paid with a bad check; good work gets solid pay. Take your stand with God’s loyal community and live, or chase after phantoms of evil and die. (Proverbs 11:17-19 TMB)
When the godly show kindness and mercy, even to those who show none, they are rewarded with great blessings.
Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the Lord, but such as are blameless in their ways are His delight. Though they join forces, the wicked will not go unpunished; but the posterity of the righteous will be delivered. (Proverbs 11: 20 – 21 NKJV)
God can’t stand deceivers, but oh how he relishes integrity. Count on this; the wicked won’t get off scot-free, and God’s loyal people will triumph. (Proverbs 11: 20 – 21 TMB)
Is there a situation in your life where people are standing against you? Is this causing stress and worry in your life? Stand on Proverbs 11:21 pray it every day and watch for God to move on your behalf. You will soon be shouting His praises when you are delivered from the situation.
Godly Desires Bring Blessings
Have you ever seen someone who is dressed to the nines, has all the right accessories and turns every head when they come into the room; but their behavior and everything that comes out of their mouth just erases anything good about their looks?
Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout, is a beautiful face on an empty head. (Proverbs 11: 22 TMB)
As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion. (Proverbs 11:22 NKJV)
Godly minded people look for, and see, the good in others; they look for what is righteous about every person and every situation. These people are blessed, happy and content.
Those who have wicked hearts don’t look for anything good in anyone or anything. Their only desire is to do what they think will bring them the greatest gain; they don’t care how they acquire what they want or who they hurt. What they don’t realize is, that in the long-run, what they acquire will only bring them suffering and sorrow.
The desire of the righteous is only good, but the expectation of the wicked is wrath. (Proverbs 11:23 NKJV)
The desires of good people lead straight to the best, but wicked ambition ends in angry frustration. (Proverbs 11: 23 TMB)
Generosity Leads to Blessings
There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself. The people will curse him who withholds grain, but blessing will be on the head of him who sells it. (Proverbs 11: 24 – 26 NKJV)
The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped. Curses on those who drive a hard bargain! Blessings on all who play fair and square! (Proverbs 11: 24 – 26 TMB)
Godly people are naturally generous. If they see people in need they are always willing to help. Because of that kind of response to those suffering in the world, the godly are generously rewarded. I like the way The Message Bible puts it, “The world of the generous gets larger and larger.” When you are willing to help people in their time of need, they will be willing to bless you in return. The more people you help, the more blessings will come your way.
Nobody wants to bless those who are stingy. People avoid having anything to do with folks like that. It reminds me of a local business in town. When the high school sports teams solicit businesses to sponsor them through their annual ad campaign for the year book, this particular business refuses to buy any ads. However, this same business (a health rehabilitation and sports medicine clinic) complains that the local population travels to another town for treatment.
A Good Life is a Fruit Bearing Tree
Life has two paths; one path leads to happiness and security, the other leads to frustration and destruction. Choose wisely which path to follow.
He who diligently seeks good finds favor, but trouble will come to him who seeks evil.
He who trusts in riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage.
He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.
If the righteous will be recompensed on the earth, How much more the wicked and the sinner? (Proverbs 11:27 – 31 NKJV)
The one who seeks good finds delight; the student of evil becomes evil.
A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.
Exploit or abuse your family, and end up with a fistful of air, common sense tells you it’s a stupid way to live.
A good life is a fruit-bearing tree; a violent life destroys souls.
If good people barely make it, what’s in store for the bad? (Proverbs 11: 27-31 TMB)
© 2012 miss_jkim