Loyalty and Kindness

Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
    Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
    Write them deep within your heart.
Then you will find favor with both God and people,
    and you will earn a good reputation.
Proverbs 3:3-4 NLT

I’ve been reading in Proverbs the last couple weeks. I had gone through other New Testament books and was trying to find my next read when God put wisdom on my heart. The bible is the best place to look for wisdom – it has guidance for every situation we face in life. And Proverbs is literally a book of wisdom that was written in part by the wisest man to ever live, King Solomon.

When I read over Proverbs 3:3-4, I felt a stirring in my heart. I had struck fire. King Solomon felt that loyalty and kindness were so important that you should tie them around your neck as a reminder, and write them deep within your heart. These two simple nouns are keys to finding favor with both God and people. I feel like these are two words I need to both study and put into practice.

Kindness is straightforward enough in what it means, but not as easy to practice. Never let kindness leave you. That means in whatever situation I find myself in, with whomever I may be talking to or working with, I need to let kindness be my mode of operation. I need to be friendly, generous, and considerate with everyone.

Loyalty goes a little deeper. I’m not a scholar, so I don’t know if my interpretation is completely correct, but when I think of loyalty I think of my “people”. My husband, family, friends. When it comes to them, I need to be loyal. I need to have their backs, not speaking bad about them to anyone. I need to fight through the hurt to keep the relationship. I need to give them my undying support and love. I need to defend them and be their advocate. I need to stick by their side, just as Sam stuck by Frodo in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

I can see why these two words are so incredibly powerful. Think about how relationships, how your work and home environment, might change when these are put into action.

I hope this inspires thought and action like it did for me. And I hope you’ll join me in praying that God will develop these things within us.

 

Listen to the truth

On Monday morning I was up early spending some time in the Word and in prayer. I had just read through Proverbs 31 and Proverbs 1 when I decided to close my eyes and spend some time praying. After I lifted up the days actives to the Lord and asked for his help in areas that I needed it, I dozed for a few minutes. What woke me up not long after was a strong thought. Almost as if someone spoke it to me and woke me up. The thought was this:

The problem is your ears.

I didn’t understand. It was weird to me and didn’t make any sense. If it hadn’t woken me up and felt so intentional, I would have dismissed it.

I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to say it out loud. So I did.

“The problem is my ears.”

It still didn’t make sense, but I felt sure the Lord was speaking to me. So I went back and read through Proverbs 1 again. At the very end of the chapter it says “But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear or harm”. (Proverbs 1:33 NLT)

I got it then.

The problem is my ears. The problem is what I’m listening to and what I’m believing as truth. My ears have been bent to the worries, fears, and concerns of this world. And I’ve been listening to people and their logic, Satan and his twists, more than what God says in his Word.

If we spend more time concerned with the world, we will be troubled, lost and fearful.

But if we listen to God and his Word, we will know truth. We will know wisdom. We will know his power, his love and his will.

But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear or harm. 

Listen for the Lord and set your mind on him. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. (Proverbs 2:3 NLT)

Are you looking for wisdom?

First Corinthians starts talking about wisdom in verse 18, all the way through chapter two and maybe into chapter three as well. But the verse I can’t move past is chapter 1 verse 21, which says:

God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom.

It has me thinking of examples of human wisdom versus God’s wisdom.

Human wisdom says that the only way to have enough energy for my day is to get as much sleep as possible and have a perfectly balanced routine. But godly wisdom says it starts by first abiding in Him. For we do not live off of bread alone, but by every word that comes from the Lord. (Luke 4:4)

Human wisdom says that to find fulfillment and purpose, I need to make things happen, doing everything in my power to make a name for myself. But God says that selfish ambition leads to evil of every kind, and that we must instead serve one another. (James 3:15-16, Matthew 23:11)

And how do we gain salvation? Not through daring feats, wondrous acts or perfect behavior….but by surrender.

We don’t find wisdom by looking at our own understanding of how the world works. We find it by looking to God and trusting his Word.

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. – 1 Corinthians 1:18 NLT