Proverbs · Wisdom

Proverbial Thoughts on Thoughts – Part D

Proverbs 4 23

Thoughts on the topic of thoughts from the book of wisdom

The book of Proverbs has much to say about the topic of our thoughts. Let’s continue considering the wisdom of Proverbs regarding our thoughts.

In our last post in the book of proverbs, we considered the thoughts of the wicked, being an abomination to the Lord, compared to the words of the pure being pleasant.

In this proverb, we are comparing a false “front” with a “hesitant” thought process.

Let’s read the verse and consider the message.

Proverbs 21:29

A wicked man puts on a bold face,
but the upright gives thought to his ways.

I referred to a false front in my introduction, since in my mind, a wicked man has no true basis for any confidence, other that a fleeting, appearance of confidence. This is a bold face, not a bold heart, not a life of confidence, but a bold face! An appearance of confidence. Make no mistake. Much of the confidence we experience amongst our peers is a manufactured confidence, a “confidence” that is based out of a fear of failure, or of desperation, or of competition with others.

As a young believer, I would exude a confidence to provide encouragement to others, and yet this often produced a separation amongst the believers. I may have shared this story before, but it is so applicable to this passage and was a great teaching lesson for my spirit

We were in a church, leading two home Bible studies and teaching a Sunday School Adult class, when my bold face fell away. It was a Tuesday night, and I was pontificating over some doctrinal item I thought all of Christianity depended on, when one of my sons came into the room and expressed a concern I would have rather kept secret.

Quickly I herded my son to his room, assured him I would discuss the issue with him after the folks leave for the night, and then returned to the study.

But something had changed.

I was no longer Saint Carl, teacher of many, knower of Bible, blah blah blah. I had become a sinner, saved by grace, just the same as the rest of the group. That few minutes of reality that my son brought to the group exposed a truth to the group that was life giving. (It is a good thing I wasn’t teaching on how to be a good and loving papa!) I had been carrying a false front, a bold face, that had slipped somewhat that night, and it was the best thing to happen for the group, and for me.

That night helped me to begin to understand that Bible knowledge is not the “be all and end all” of a teaching ministry, but that sharing a life of painful honesty is critical in the Christian life. A bold face, a proud look, a high faluting manner only separates believers and causes walls to be erected.

Since then, I have found that, though Bible truth is important for our knowledge, carrying it in pride can actually be detrimental to the ministry. People won’t relate to you, and a feeling of “us vs them” starts to develop. They may begin to think that a teacher has a different level of spirituality than they, that their secret weaknesses or sins need to be hidden in order to look good, to be accepted by the teacher, who is hiding a few secrets also. What a rat race, a game of hide and seek, a time of fear and self protection.

My dear readers, as you go about your day today, drop your proud face, your false front, and be real with just one person, with one believer that you are seeking to encourage. Show that your need of Christ is real, that your needs are real, and that as a believer, you struggle with life everyday.

But with this admonition in verse 29, note that Solomon also gives additional wisdom, that the upright gives thought to his ways. This truth provides guidance after understanding the danger of the proud face, the false front.

A person who gives thought is not a reactionary person, but one who considers his response with wisdom and understanding of the situation he finds himself in. He not only considers his response to a situation with wisdom and understanding, but also looks at his own ways, the ways of his past, that he may learn from them.

I will readily admit that my past is littered with this proud face I spoke of above. For some reason, I fall into this image of myself far too often, hurt someone I love and then have to repent of my attitude and ask for forgiveness. As I look into my past, I have found two benefits of giving thought to my ways.

  1. With every instance of pride welling up in my heart, I have also experienced a subsequent shaming, a death to the pride I nurtured, that is painful, yet necessary. This is the life of the believer, a life of repentance and returning to God and the Body of Christ.
  2. With the benefit of remembering my history, I have found that the times of pride (hopefully) have become shorter, and the repentance somewhat less grievious. Don’t get me wrong – true repentance is a poison pill for the pride of the heart. True repentance is a direct attack on the pride of the heart!

Consider your ways. Give thought to your ways.

Look to your past and be honest with yourself. Have you built walls and set up barricades to true relationship by assuming a superiority over others? Have you humbled yourself before God and others in order to prioritize relationship over self fulfillment?

Drop the false face, be honest with someone (to the point of trust you have in the person). Build a bridge to another person through a humble spirit and an open heart.

God will be in the middle of it!

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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