Why is it so difficult for me to arrive home from work at the time I promised to my wife? I love her passionately, and I have no intention to deceive or discourage her. Yet I persistently fail to arrive on time. Not only that, but every time I do it, I have a really good reason. “I was wrapped up in this significant project that had to get completed before I left the office.” Or, “I was having a very fruitful counseling meeting, and I couldn’t just cut it short.” Or, I can achieve ultimate vindication with: “You’re rarely on time when I’m waiting for you.”
The one thing that I find most excruciating is simply to admit, “I should have set aside what I was doing and returned home on time for dinner. Will you please forgive me? Can you also please help me figure out how I could make a better choice next time?” It feels so right to make my excuses. But when I make excuses, I am not fearing the Lord; therefore, I am not acting wisely.
One thing we can be certain of, both from Scripture and experience, is that we are sinners by nature, and thus prone to play the fool. We need to be rescued. We are selfish blame shifters who will stop at no length to justify our own choices and values. This habit is the essence of folly. If we hope to be wise, we must tread a different path. In fact, we cannot be wise until we do.
In the last few Proverbs posts, we pieced together a definition of wisdom: a continual striving to know and do what the Bible says. In the next few posts, we’ll consider three things that enable us to begin this journey of wisdom. First, hope in the right thing: the Good News of Jesus, not your own goodness (Prov 1:7). Second, do the right thing: listen to the Lord, not your own heart (Prov 1:8). Third, help others do the right thing: be an agent of godly influence, not another boring authority figure (Prov 1:9).