A few weeks ago I took our college group—and later in the week, our young professionals—through a study on what the Proverbs say about diligence. The week prior we had all been laid low by the many Proverbs that condemn laziness.
I began the lesson my noting that diligence is an “all of life” issue. That is, rather than talking about work ethic—a metric that is typically used in relation to how we approach our job or career—we should speak in terms of diligence and how Scripture calls us to apply diligence to every facet of our lives: our walk with Christ, our jobs, our relationships, our responsibilities at home, our ministries, and even our recreation (see Prov 12:27; 19:24)! Continue reading “The Connection Between Assurance, Depression, and Diligence”
The desire for self-promotion is native to the human heart. We are all tempted to exalt ourselves in some measure, whether on a large or small scale. It seems, however, that social media has a special way of encouraging and showcasing one’s indulgence in this temptation. Granted, social media is not the cause of self-promotion; it is only the venue through which the human heart expresses its desires. But the prevalence of such self-promotion should compel us to think rigorously over this phenomenon, especially because so many Christians seem to be walking in lock-step with a trend the Bible so clearly discourages. Continue reading “Godly Diligence Leads to Recognition without Self-Promotion”
Over the past several years of my Christian life I have found that regular reading through the Proverbs is an immediately useful practice. For one thing, I am brought face-to-face with the sluggard. As I read and linger over passages that speak of the lazy man, my own heart is exposed and I am convicted of my tendency toward idleness and sloth. But the Spirit often uses these practical insights to exhort me to again renew my commitment, by grace, to redeem the time for Christ’s sake. In order to help us recognize and repent of our own laziness, I would like to examine briefly eight traits of the sluggard. Continue reading “8 Traits of The Sluggard”
Proverbs 18:2 is a verse seminary students (like me) would do well to memorize: “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his own opinion.” How easy it is for me to convince myself of my theological expertise, waxing eloquent with friends, explaining things to professors (as if they needed my instruction!) and taking every opportune moment to give my opinion in this or that issue. But I think much of this is pride and, as this verse indicates, foolishness. Scripture would tell us that maturity is seen in one who is slow to speak, quick to listen, and in one who always ponders their answer before they give it. Fools, on the other hand, can’t stop blabbing. And unfortunately, this is a vicious circle. The more I spout my opinion, the less I learn. The less I learn, the more empty and groundless my opinions become.
Yet, quiet thoughtfulness is not something that should only characterize my time in seminary. Throughout my life I anticipate my growth in understanding and knowledge to be in direct proportion with my ability to be quiet and listen. There will always be people more wise than us, and the moment we forget this vital truth, we put ourselves out of the reach of genuine instruction and in a spiritually precarious position.
This is not to discourage good discussion in the classroom or the sincere asking of questions; nor does it mean that we are obligated to thoughtlessly swallow every last word our professors speak—this would also be unwise. But the overall tenor of the classroom should be, for the students, one of diligent and thoughtful learning. There is a reason why they are the teacher and we are not.
A wrong understanding and application of Scripture can bring great confusion to one’s life and severely wound a soul. Shepherds who truly love their flock will make it a priority, then, to not only teach the Scriptures accurately, but also apply it to their people with great care and precision. The latter is just as important as the former, as we see in the case of Job and his supposed comforters. They came to him with orthodoxy, but misapplied the Word, only to inflame Job’s pain and kindle the anger of God (Job 42:7). Continue reading “Contradictions or a Perfect Balance: Thoughts on Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes”