For “Scripture Sunday”: Sorry, late again!
There’s a Proverb for That: “I’m Awesome, Just Ask Me”
“This kicks off a series of posts on practical and relevant wisdom from the book of Proverbs. We will begin with the issue of pride and arrogance.
“We are always looking for answers to problems. We look to scholars, scientists, researchers, philosophers, self-help gurus and religion for answers. Though it is not necessarily a bad idea to consult some of those sources, thankfully for Christians, there is an entire book of the Bible filled with practical wisdom for everyday life in the 21st century—even though it was written thousands of years ago!
That is the book of Proverbs. The wisdom contained in this book is invaluable for us as human beings, and it covers a wide variety of topics. In this series, we will explore the wisdom from Proverbs applied to modern societal problems, controversies and roadblocks.
If we think there’s nothing wrong with us, we have something wrong with us
Politicians like to talk about their strengths and make even their weaknesses still sound like strengths (“I guess my greatest weakness is that I care so much”). The “know it all” personality is alive and well, creating a culture of looking down on others who may not know everything about everything. Just look at comments on YouTube videos and online news articles for evidence of people who think they “know it all” and who aggressively put down people who they feel know nothing. Self-righteousness can be detected in all ideologies.
But God has a different expectation. He says He “resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Since we should be seeking God’s grace and not His resistance, humility should be an issue we are very concerned about! Thankfully, there’s a proverb for that!
Proverbs and Implications
1. Proverbs 13:10: “By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom.”
“Know it all” personalities are not the most popular people for good reason. It is very hard to be likable and listen to other viewpoints if we think we are always right, all the time.
Since we should be seeking God’s grace and not His resistance, humility should be an issue we are very concerned about! This brings strife into relationships and makes for awkward and drawn-out conversations. Being well-advised doesn’t mean we believe every viewpoint we hear, but we respect and listen long enough to make wise judgments about them.
Implications: We must take time to actually listen to other people’s perspectives, especially those whose opinions are different from ours. We may still disagree afterward, but a humble person will at least listen and be open to learning, while pride is thinking we already have all the answers. If you struggle with listening to others, try this strategy: Do not respond in conversation until counting 5 seconds in your head after they have spoken. This can help you to take the time to think about what the other person said.
2. Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
To err is human, and those who think they rarely (or never) err should consider that this thinking is flawed and dangerous. Many who have issues with pride give platitudes to this effect, saying, “I’m not perfect, but …” and then proceed to describe how perfect they think they are. This is dangerous because it is not true. No human being is perfect, and all will make mistakes (Romans 3:23). History shows many examples of prideful and haughty people eventually falling (consider Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Saddam Hussein, to name a few).
Implications: Instead of only glorifying our strengths, we should also identify and admit our weaknesses. Whenever we criticize others, we should consider our own imperfections and issues. Many Shakespearean characters never recognized and dealt with their fatal flaws (pride often being one of them), which never turned out well. Let’s strive to be wiser than fictional characters like Hamlet and Macbeth.
3. Proverbs 21:4: “A haughty look, a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked are sin.”
Self-righteous thinking, condescending remarks, looking down our noses at others—these are not just personality quirks. They are sins. Yes, there are times that require confidence in our strengths and bravery to use them, but when we demonstrate these traits constantly, unnecessarily and artificially, they become arrogance and pride.
Implications: View pride as any other sin that God hates, not just as an undesirable character trait (which it is as well). Since pride is so hard to see in ourselves, we need a team made up of friends and family whom we can go to and ask honest questions about ourselves: “How often do I ask about you? Do I constantly praise myself? Do I come across as a know-it-all?”
Yes, asking these questions could bring some uncomfortable answers. But, considering how serious the Bible is on this subject, would it not be better to be uncomfortable than to face the consequences of pride?
Plenty more where those came from
Proverbs has plenty to say about pride and arrogance, to the tune of at least 17 different wise reminders. The few mentioned here, however, provide the overall gist of the matter: Pride and arrogance are serious character flaws that will unnecessarily isolate us from other people and ultimately lead to our undoing. When that lure comes looking for us, remember there’s a proverb for that”
For more insight into pride and how to fight it, read “Overcoming Dangerous Emotions: Pride” and “3 Ways Pride May Be Infecting Your Life.”
Read the next blog post in this series: There’s a Proverb for That: “We Are the 99 Percent”
What Is a Human Being?
“Are humans just the highest species on the food chain—the product of blind chance? Or is there a real purpose for our existence—an incredible human potential?
Why do humans, of all physical living things, have the intellect, curiosity and self-awareness to study ourselves?
Many seem to believe that humans are simply the most developed species in the animal kingdom. Most also assume that human beings, like the animals around them, are products of a long evolutionary process.
But is man an animal? Did he evolve, perhaps from primordial slime? Or from microscopic particles on a piece of rock hurled to earth from some far-away planet?
Only the Bible contains the true and complete answers to the origin of man.
Are human beings unique?
What is a human being really? Why do we alone among all physical living things possess the intellect to study ourselves? Why do we have unique abilities to think, plan and carry out plans? Why do we not follow the patterns in the animal world of repeated predictable behaviors?
Human beings clearly are not limited to the mindless repetition of animal behaviors or the lifestyle of ancestors passed down through hundreds of generations with almost no change. Man is a thinking, creative being.
The animal kingdom
No matter where you live, you are probably familiar with birds, so let’s take a quick look at them. Birds build nests the same way their parents did. They tend their young the same way their parents did. Those that migrate fly the same, often remarkable, distances to winter in foreign lands—the same places previous generations have always wintered.
We don't find birds seeking to design new, different kinds of nests.
We don’t find birds seeking architects or decorators to design and build them a new, different kind of nest. They don’t consult travel agents to find a better vacation spot.
Mammals are much the same. They live a life characterized by routine behavior and little variety within a species. Even though they can be taught simple responses through repetitious training, they do not think as a human being does.”
An Amazing Fact: “Before the 1930s, diamonds were rarely given as engagement rings.
Egyptians worshiped the circle as a symbol of eternity. They plaited rings out of reeds and gifted them to symbolize everlasting love. They wore them on the third finger of their left hands because they believed the vein of that finger traveled directly from the heart. The Greeks learned this tradition from Egypt, passing it to Rome and beyond. But it wasn’t until a diamond cartel coined the best advertising slogan of the 20th century for the hardest substance in nature, convincing us that “a diamond is forever.”
In the Bible, a king’s ring symbolized his authority. Rings were given to trusted servants (Genesis 41:41, 42), to potential mates (Genesis 24:22), and in celebration (Luke 15:22). Like today, jewelry and fine clothing were also used simply for beauty (Ezekiel 16:11–14). Of what purpose are the gems and bright colors God created except to lend beauty? We express ourselves through our wardrobes, homes, and landscapes. But self-expression goes awry when we rely on clothing, hairdos, houses, cars, gardens, and gadgets for our value (Ezekiel 16:15).
Swinging the pendulum in the other direction, Puritanism shunned the use of superfluities like jewels, color, and modern technology. But Peter’s balanced approach, “Do not let your adornment be merely outward” (1 Peter 3:3), ensures that the beauty of your character matches—or exceeds!—that of your person or possessions.
In Haggai, God promises His people a ring as a sign of being chosen (Haggai 2:23). But even better, God adorns us with the “garments of salvation” and the “robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10). It’s okay to surround yourself with beauty, but don’t let it replace the beauty of salvation.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living. The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me. It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies. Job 28:12-18
If I don’t write it down, I have trouble remembering what we did each day, I just know that we, my helper and I, stay busy each morning. Then I am busy working my job in the afternoons.
There is now an outlet in the back wall of the upper cabinet for the toaster oven and microwave, and the under-cabinet lights are installed with a regular wall switch. The switches on those lights are difficult to find sometimes when you are in a hurry, and often you have to bend down to find them. Having them on a wall switch makes it easier.
Another old wooden shelf unit was torn apart and the lumber is being cut, painted and used for the kitchen shelves.
Out in the carport, Hans has been sanding the big shelf unit that will go on the back wall of the bedroom, and we need to bring it inside when there are strong folk around. Then it can have a final sanding, stain and poly. Just a few more studs added to the wall between the living room and bedroom, and the wall will be built enough that maybe the bedroom carpet can be installed. Once that is in, that big shelf unit can be put in place.
A phone box has been wired into the bathroom, so that a phone is available in emergencies. Oh, don’t think “I take my cell into the bathroom for emergencies”. Usually, a cell phone does not tell 911 where you are, and if you can’t speak you are are often anonymous. A land line shows them immediately.
We spent many hours (at least three) fixing my old table saw, but finally found a way to make it stay together. We need it for many things still to be done around here.
The van has been acting up, like it is misfiring. AutoZone’s computer says it needs a tune-up, so I will have to sell some more stuff to pay for that.
Now I have 4 little foster kittens that I rescued from a street corner. They are eating on their own, but not doing as well as I would like. They have had their flea prevention, de-worming and first shots, and after their second shots they can go to be neutered as long as they are free from FIV and Felv. and are at least 2 lb. They are so cute. One tuxedo, one siamese and two calicos.
Having been given a lot of cucumbers, I found a Julia Childs’ recipe for Baked Cucumbers and Chicken for the Sabbath church potluck. Also, I took Buttered Carrots. There was also brisket, cornbread chili pie, butter beans, green bean casserole and several other dishes.
The Bible readings were Num. 30:2-32:42, Jere. 1:1-2:2, and Matt. 5:33-37, and the Teaching was about The Difference between the Gospels and Revelation.
As the big heavy shelves were out of it, it was a lot lighter than we thought, so we brought the big shelf unit inside, and Hans finished sanding the ornamental trim around the top yesterday.