What would you change if you knew the day you were going to die? How would it change things if that day was years in the future or next week? I always wonder why God allows us to know when someone will be born, but not when we will die. He already knows the date, so why not let us know? For me, that leads back to the first question. Would we live differently if we knew the date? I think human nature dictates that we would live differently. Unfortunately, many people would live their lives for themselves, then at the last moment, give their lives to God. Since we don’t know when, we must live our lives being ready to meet our maker at any moment.
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the average life expectancy in the United States is 78.6 years. With that kind of average, we all assume we will live that long, but the truth is that we don’t know. 78.6 years seems like a long time when you compare it to people you know, but what if we compare it to eternity? 78.6 years is nothing. It’s not even a second. What we do, and how we live will have an eternal impact. Why would we then try to live that second for anything other than our creator?
Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom” (NLT). Thinking about how short life is should push us to think eternally and make us live wisely with eternity in mind. The problem is that most of us don’t want to live our lives with the end in mind. We only think about today and what we need for it. God has planted eternity in our hearts, but He has left the future unclear (Ecclesiastes 3:11). He doesn’t want us to live our lives short sited. We need to live with eternity in mind.
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We live in an interesting time. For the first time in the history of the world, people value knowledge over wisdom. They are two very different things though. Knowledge is all about what you know. Wisdom is how you use knowledge. I like to tell my son, “Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, not a vegetable. Wisdom is not putting in a fruit salad.” Knowledge is gained through learning (or in today’s world, Googling), but wisdom is learned through making mistakes or learning from other’s mistakes. To value knowledge over wisdom is very dangerous, and I believe it will have serious repercussions on the future.
The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon, who is considered the wisest person to ever live. He recognized early on after becoming king that knowledge would on,y take him so far as a ruler. He asked God for wisdom in how to lead his people and God opened the flood gates. His example is one you and I should follow. Knowledge is good, but we need godly wisdom in how we steward everything God has given us. God imparts wisdom to those who ask because He values wisdom and He has plenty to give us.
Proverbs 2:6-7 says, “For the LORD gives [skillful and godly] wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores away sound wisdom for the righteous [those who are in right standing with Him]” (AMP). Just like parents on earth want to give their children the wisdom to make the best decisions in life, God wants to give wisdom to us as His children. All we have to do is go to Him in prayer and ask Him to help us make the best decisions in our relationships, our finances and in our choices. He has a storehouse full of it to give out once we seek it.
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Have you ever had to borrow someone’s car that was nicer than yours? How did you drive it? For me, I had my hands at 10 and 2 the whole time. I took extra caution because I didn’t want to wreck it. If it had been my car I was driving, I would have just used one hand on the wheel and been less cautious when driving. Why is that? I think it’s more to do with the ownership of it than the familiarity. If I wreck it, then it was mine to wreck. It’s a whole different story if I wreck something that belongs to someone else.
Now think about the decisions you make regarding your life. For many of us, we treat them like we do driving our own car. It’s our life and our decisions, so if I mess it up, at least it was my life that I messed up. With that kind of thinking, we tend to make quick decisions with less thought than we would if we were giving that advice to someone regarding their life. Can I challenge that link of thinking for a minute? Your life is not your own. You were bought with a price, so it is no longer your life you live, but Christ’s. Sound familiar? Check out 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 if not.
Thinking about that, let’s look at Proverbs 28:25. It says, “To make rash, hasty decisions shows that you are not trusting the Lord. But when you rely totally on God, you will still act carefully and prudently” (TPT). Are you trusting the Lord with your life? Do you believe that it belongs to Him? Then we need to take our time with the decisions we make regarding it and seek His wisdom. It’s time we started treating our lives like they belong to someone else. God created you with a purpose and has a plan for you and your life. Today, instead of making decisions like it’s your life, ask God what His plan is for you.
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Has anyone ever given you bad advice that you’ve taken? In my life, I’ve accepted plenty of bad advice because it sounded good, and rejected a lot of good advice because of pride. I’ve taken advice on investing, trying to affect change in an organization, in my career, and in handling relationships. Most of the time when we seek advice, it’s because we are in a situation where we unsure what to do. Who we get advice from matters because the wrong advice can really mess things up.
The first part of Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where there is no [wise, intelligent] guidance, the people fall [and go off course like a ship without a helm]“ (AMP). Getting no advice, or just the wrong advice, can set you back from your goals in life. Before seeking any advice, I like to pray and ask God for wisdom in choosing the right advice as well as whom to seek it from. I don’t like set backs, and sometimes the wrong advice can seem wise. I want to make sure I’m not relying on my own feelings or the words of a misguided friend.
The rest of that verse says, “But in the abundance of [wise and godly] counselors there is victory.” We don’t need to seek wisdom from one source. We need more than one person giving us advice because most difficult decisions have many facets with many different outcomes based on our decisions. If you’re looking for victory over a situation, pray that God would help you find godly counselors who will see the things you can’t, and that He would help you make the right decisions. Don’t let pride and ignorance keep you from victory. Stay on the course God has for you and look for godly counselors along the way.
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Recently I was talking to a group of people on the Importance of the words you use when talking to yourself. Many times when we mess up, we pound ourself on the head and say something like, “Stupid!” It’s not good to do that. The more you say something, the more it gets into your subconscious. The more it gets in there, the more you believe it, and we always act according to what we believe. So it’s critical that we are intentional about the words we use because they determine our success in life.
It’s also a good habit to consider the words we use when we talk to others. Are we more apt to lifting up or putting down? This one is tougher for me to follow. It’s natural for me to quickly take a shot at someone rather than to intentionally build them up. It requires using a filter and repetitively replacing positive words for the negative ones. Proverbs 10:11 says, “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life and his words of wisdom are a source of blessing” (AMP). Are the words you use a fountain of life to yourself and others?
There really is the power of life and death in the tongue. According to James, none of us will ever tame it completely. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to make sure we are a fountain of life, wisdom and blessings. The words you use today towards yourself and others are important. You can choose from millions of words to speak into someone’s life including your own. Choose to speak life. Choose to be a blessing rather than a curse. Watch and see how your words can change someone’s day or how they see themselves. The life you change just might be your own.
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