“To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction. The Lord approves of those who are good, but he condemns those who plan wickedness. Wickedness never brings stability, but the godly have deep roots.” Proverbs 12:1-3 (NLT)
Solomon is clear here in Proverbs 12 that people who want to be wise and disciplined are willing to learn through correction. In fact, there is really no end to the opportunity for earthly learning when you are willing to seek wisdom. Learning is not easy and having someone correct you can really sting. I don't know about you, but I don’t like being corrected. However, if I want to learn and grow then I need to be open to correction, understanding that wisdom is not far behind.
Loot and Fruit
“Thieves are jealous of each other’s loot, but the godly are well rooted and bear their own fruit. The wicked are trapped by their own words, but the godly escape such trouble.” Proverbs 12:12-13 (NLT)
Being content is sometimes easier said than done. If you spend much time on Instagram, Facebook, or almost any other website you will begin to see ads trying to lure you in to buy something new. The more time you spend online, the more companies like Amazon learn about what you like. Pretty soon, your ads become more specific and target your likes and wants. Do you talk about drinking coffee online? It won't be long before you will start seeing ads for coffee beans and accessories in your Instagram stories. Marketing companies will do their best to keep you from contentment.
Are you jealous of what someone else has? Do you think it will make your life better if you had that car, boat, or house? Each of us is tempted to want what our neighbors have, the green-eyed monster shows up quite often. Solomon reminds us, though, that we should spend our time working on ourselves, our own roots, focusing on being content with what we have. Growing roots is not glamorous; no one really sees the roots below the surface. When the winds of life come and the storms roll in, you will be thankful for those roots because they will keep you stable in the storm. You can have flashy loot or you can work for strong roots.
“The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth. The wise don’t make a show of their knowledge, but fools broadcast their foolishness.” Proverbs 12:22-23 (NLT)
Solomon says that God detests lying; He hates it when we lie. At first glance, that seems harsh. I mean, of all the terrible things in the world, why is lying so bad? Looking deeper, we’re reminded "God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all." (1 John 1:5b). If God is light and cannot be around darkness, then it makes sense that God would detest lying. The source of light and truth cannot mix with lying, darkness, and deceit. As children of God, let us walk in light and truth. Lying will not bring us to the kind of life God has called us to be a part of.
However, it is not enough that we don’t lie; wisdom also calls us to hold our tongue. Many of us think we have to have the final word in arguments and disagreements (whether in-person or online). Solomon is here to remind us that we do not have to put our knowledge on display. As the singer Kenny Rogers says, we need to "know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away." It's a catchy song and good advice for anyone who needs a reminder that we don't always have to get in the last word.
Reflect and Respond
Are you growing deep roots that will produce fruit? Or, do you spend your time wishing for someone else’s loot? Examine your motivations. Ask God to reveal areas of your life where you need to be content with all He has given you. Be honest with God (He already knows your heart) and walk in truth today.