Title: Put Away The Measuring Stick!
Scripture: Proverbs 3:1-35 ESV
Before the Passover meal, all the disciples forgot to wash Jesus’ feet.
And after Jesus explained how the bread and wine symbolized His upcoming crucifixion, they started arguing about who would be the greatest in the Kingdom.
Jesus also knew that within hours they’d fall asleep on Him in the Garden of Gethsemane.
And He knew Peter would deny Him.
So how did Jesus grade them?
He doesn’t grade people.
And you don’t have to either.
You’ll find wonderful rest in your soul once you stop grading people, and instead start loving them from where they are to where they need to be.
Rather than rebuking the disciples, Jesus compliments, rewards, promotes, and puts them on heaven’s honor roll.
Even after they failed to wash His feet He still desired to eat Passover with them (see Luke 22:15).
Nourished by their love, He said, “Ye are they which… continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom…that ye may eat and drink at my table…and sit on throne’s (Luke 22:28-30).
On His most agonizing night He passed out Christmas gifts, and gave His very young disciples more than He ever gave anybody in terms of honor and glory.
In His eyes they were all great.
He didn’t grade them on their performance, but on their love that motivated them to forsake all and stick with Him through thick and then.
Reimar Schultze says, “Don’t setup standards for yourself. That can kill you”.
As Jesus loved His disciples then, so He loves them now.
So stop fussing and nitpicking at yourself and others!.
3 1-2 Good friend, don’t forget all I’ve taught you;
take to heart my commands.
They’ll help you live a long, long time,
a long life lived full and well.
3-4 Don’t lose your grip on Love and Loyalty.
Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart.
Earn a reputation for living well
in God’s eyes and the eyes of the people.
Reflection: (Proverbs 3:3)
Loyalty and kindness are important character qualities.
Both involve actions as well as attitudes.
A loyal person acts responibly.
A kind person works for justice of others.
Thoughts and words are not enough – our life reveals whether we are truly loyal and kind.
Do you actions measure up to your attitudes?
5-12 Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
your very bones will vibrate with life!
Honor God with everything you own;
give him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
your wine vats will brim over.
But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline;
don’t sulk under his loving correction.
It’s the child he loves that God corrects;
a father’s delight is behind all this.
Reflection: (Proverbs 3:5-6)
When we have an important decision to make, we sometimes feel that we can’t trust anyone – not even God.
But God knows what is best for us.
He is a better judge of what we want than we are!
We must trust Him completely in every choice we make.
We should not omit careful thinking or better our God-given ability to reason; but we should not trust our own ideas to the exclusion of all others.
We must not be wise in our own eyes but not willing to listen to and be corrected by God’s Word and wise counselors.
Bring your decisions to God in prayer; use the Bible as your guide; and then follow God’s leading.
He will direct your paths by both guiding and protecting you.
This means turning every area of life over to Him.
Reflection: (Proverbs 3:6)
To receive God’s guidance, said Solomon, we must seek God’s will in all we do.
This means turning every area of life over to Him.
About a thousand years later, Jesus emphasized this same truth
Examine your values and priorities.
What is important to you?
In what areas have you not acknowledged Him?
You may already acknowledge God in many areas of your life, but the areas where you attempt to restrict or ignore Him will cause you grief>
Make Him a vital part of everything you do; then He will guide you because you will be working to accomplish His purposes.
Reflection: (Proverbs 3:9-10)
This refers to the practice of giving to God the first and best portion of the harvest (Deuteronomy 26:9-11).
Many people give God their leftovers.
If they can afford to donate anything after the bills are paid, they do so.
These people may be sincere and contribute willingly, but they are not obeying what God says.
God wants the first part of our income.
This demonstrates that God, not possessions, has first place in our life and that our resources belong to Him (we are only managers).
Giving to God helps us conquer greed, helps us properly manage God’s resources, and opens us up to receive God’s special blessings.
Reflection: (Proverbs 3:11-12)
Discipline means “to teach and to train.”
Discipline sounds negative to many people because some disciplinarians are not loving.
But God is the source of all love.
He doesn’t punish us because He enjoys inflicting pain but because He is deeply concerned about our development.
He knows that in order to become morally strong and good, we must learn the difference between right and wrong.
His loving discipline enables us to do that.
Reflection: (Proverbs 3:11-12)
It’s sometimes difficult to know when God has been disciplining us until we look back on the situation.
Not every calamity comes directly from God, of course.
But if we rebel against God and refuse to repent when God has identified sin in pour lives, He may use guilt, crises, or bad experiences to bring us back to Him.
Sometimes difficult times come even when we have no flagrant sin.
Then our response should be patience, integrity, and confidence that God will show us what to do.
The Very Tree of Life
13-18 You’re blessed when you meet Lady Wisdom,
when you make friends with Madame Insight.
She’s worth far more than money in the bank;
her friendship is better than a big salary.
Her value exceeds all the trappings of wealth;
nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her.
With one hand she gives long life,
with the other she confers recognition.
Her manner is beautiful,
her life wonderfully complete.
She’s the very Tree of Life to those who embrace her.
Hold her tight—and be blessed!
Reflection: (Proverbs 3:16-17)
The book of Proverbs contains mainly strong statements about the benefits of wisdom, including long life, wealth, honor, and peace.
If you aren’t experiencing them, does this mean you are short on wisdom?
Instead of guarantees, these statements are general principles.
In a perfect world, wise behavior would always lead to these benefits.
Even in our troubled world, living wisely usually results in obvious blessings – but not always.
Sometimes sin intervenes, and some blessings must be delayed until Jesus returns to establish His eternal Kingdom.
That is why we must “live by believing and not be seeing”
(2 Corinthians 5:7).
We can be sure that wisdom ultimately leads to blessing.
19-20 With Lady Wisdom, God formed Earth;
with Madame Insight, he raised Heaven.
They knew when to signal rivers and springs to the surface,
and dew to descend from the night skies.
Never Walk Away
21-26 Dear friend, guard Clear Thinking and Common Sense with your life;
don’t for a minute lose sight of them.
They’ll keep your soul alive and well,
they’ll keep you fit and attractive.
You’ll travel safely,
you’ll neither tire nor trip.
You’ll take afternoon naps without a worry,
you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep.
No need to panic over alarms or surprises,
or predictions that doomsday’s just around the corner,
Because God will be right there with you;
he’ll keep you safe and sound.
27-29 Never walk away from someone who deserves help;
your hand is God’s hand for that person.
Don’t tell your neighbor “Maybe some other time”
or “Try me tomorrow”
when the money’s right there in your pocket.
Don’t figure ways of taking advantage of your neighbor
when he’s sitting there trusting and unsuspecting.
Relection: (Proverbs 3:27-29)
Withholding good is inconsiderate and unfair, whether it is repaying a loan, returning a tool, or fulfilling a promise.
Withholding destroys trust and creates a great inconvenience for the other person.
Be as eager to do good as you are to have good done to you.
30-32 Don’t walk around with a chip on your shoulder,
always spoiling for a fight.
Don’t try to be like those who shoulder their way through life.
Why be a bully?
“Why not?” you say. Because God can’t stand twisted souls.
It’s the straightforward who get his respect.
33-35 God’s curse blights the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the righteous.
He gives proud skeptics a cold shoulder,
but if you’re down on your luck, he’s right there to help.
Wise living gets rewarded with honor;
stupid living gets the booby prize.