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How to Flourish

You will walk in the way of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous.

Proverbs 2:20

Watch Week One, Day Two

searching for guidance

Before sending His beloved disciples to the villages to tell about His coming kingdom, Jesus instructed them to “be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). They were not going to places of safety, He told them. They would be challenged by friend, foe, and family. They would be hated and beaten. And they needed wisdom in handling these hard times.

We think of “wise people” as those perched on mountaintops in robes or chanting in a monastery; or maybe we picture the elderly lady at church who has lived through it all, raised her kids, and now sits back to enjoy the new crop of grandkids and great-grands scurrying around. But Jesus expected wisdom from a group of ministry rookies who consistently misunderstood Him and botched things. Which means things aren’t hopeless for us.

In a nutshell, Christian wisdom means making good choices that honor God and serve His people—skillful living and responsible relationships. Wise people understand how to act and react with virtue, dignity, and grace. Wise living begins wherever you are and moves forward in God’s rhythms.

the path of life

God has created an ordered, structured world. Even in the turmoil, we can flourish within proper boundaries like a well-tended rosebush nourished in its proper soil, or we can wither like an orchid in the desert. The author of Proverbs pictures life as a journey. In Proverbs 4:10–19, the instructor presents two paths for the young student embarking on life’s journey: the way of wisdom, or the way of the wicked. The way of wisdom is well lit and leads to a full life. The traveler walks with the certainty of knowing where she is going and how to get there. But darkness and evil loom on the way of folly or wickedness. Marauders and rebels lurk. Interestingly, we avoid this path not from fear of attack but because we might join the thieves. When we walk the path of folly, step by step, we become like those who hide in the darkness. As we ourselves stumble along, lost and confused, we cause others to stumble. We delight when harm comes to others as it has to us.

As we move on our journey of life, we determine which path to take: the path of life or the path of death. Circumstances and relationships may bring hardships, but by reacting to them with wisdom, we choose the path of life—one lit by God’s guidance, which brings us to a place of peace. It is a picture of joy and confidence. When we react with contention and violence by our actions or words, we fall into the path of folly. This path spirals further and further into darkness, a labyrinth of fear and oppression.

orienting our lives

Pursuing wisdom means orienting our habits, actions, thoughts, and words according to God’s ways. As we do so, we live into God’s love, joy, peace, and contentment in our daily lives. We feel confident in what God is doing in our lives, and that frees us to treat others with dignity and respect, no matter how they treat us.

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Uncommon Sense

Daily Question

How would you describe the path of your life—full of pitfalls and dead-ends or clear and well lit? Where is your path leading? How can wisdom help your journey today?

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Comments (5)

My life used to be out of my control like a ride on a motorcycle driven by a mad goat- ( long story there) but God was there. Hind sight he’s shown me so much of when and how He was there. Then a life of good and bad choices. Now, I choose the way I deal with things and try very hard to take it through the cross. I know my first knee jerk reaction is always in the flesh. I’ve learned to wait for the second, wait for the spirit to colabor with my thoughts and heart. I know waiting on the Lord is a not only wise, but truly powerful. My life has been a series of incredible miracles now. Simply Incredible. I’m sold out and paid for, for Christ because of his goodness. I don’t want anymore what I think I want, but relentlessly tell God “I want what you want for me no matter the path… “ And some how I’m still standing, some how in spite of great tremors, by the grace of a God I stand on the rock. I may tremble , but here I stand. So, I gave up control of the journey. I feel like no one could even dream up a story like mine. I strive to let God control and sit back and enjoy the ride…

I am not one that makes decisions easily, and so I am grateful for the Lord showing me where He is leading. I can’t always see the path clearly, but I do know the destination (to some extent). My biggest struggle is my need for control; it brings me comfort when I should be seeking God’s comfort. I’m hoping that in knowing God’s wisdom I might be able to give up every comfort for His way.

I am in a place where I have some decisions to make and desire that these decisions be guided by God’s light. As I take the path of wisdom I know that I will make the right decision.

Right now my path feels unclear. It is cluttered with sharp rocks and thorny bushes. It feels uncertain, like when you hike on a trail that is not much traveled on and there are points that it appears it may veer left and right. Many days I feel I have taken the path that perhaps is not truly the path. I can see the true path off in the short distance, and I need to make my way back to it. As the path I am now is on loose rocks and feels unsafe. Each path will get me to my destination, but the one I am on now is hard and painful. I need God’s wisdom to guide me back to the right path, the safer path that still won’t be easy, but will be much safer for me and all my loved ones.

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