Troublers of many types …

Congratulations! You have completed 5 days of the Proverbs Challenge. Great job! I hope that you have gained a new appreciation for the Book of Proverbs, an enriched time in the Bible each day, and a desire to spend more time in it.

Proverbs 6 is a series of brief bursts of observations and instructions. A title that ties it together is: types of troublers and why to avoid them. In this chapter there are three categories of no-gooders to avoid. If this were a high school “who’s who,” the categories would be:

  • Most likely to never get a job (6-11)
  • Most likely to create trouble for those around them (12-15)
  • Most likely to get an STD (20-35)

As we read those verses we might be prone to think, “thank the Lord, those do not apply to us.” And, hopefully, that is true. But, and you knew that there would be a catch, we have to be careful with this type of thinking. In Matthew 5:21-48 Jesus shows us that we are to avoid committing sinful acts, and to also avoid the attitudes that fuel them. So much for our high-minded judgement of others. So, let’s apply what Jesus teaches in Matthew 5:21-48 — you might want to take a few minutes and read those verses — to the three types of folks listed previously. We will do so with some very penetrating, yet profitable, questions that will assist us in removing those attitudes before they have time to act.

  • Are there parts of your life where laziness is hiding, or napping? Are you doing what you should to develop spiritual depth, healthy relationships, a healthy lifestyle, financial freedom, or service to others? Everything we have is a gift from God (James 1:17) and we are to be good stewards of His gifts. To not do so is … sin (James 4:17).
  • Are there attitudes that you harbor, or things you say, that wish or cause trouble for others? Christ-followers are to be know for serving, helping, encouraging, and building up others. (Ephesians 4:32, 1 Thessalonians 5:11)
  • Are there thoughts that you foster about the opposite sex, or forms of entertainment you watch, that you should avoid? Even if you have loved all 87 seasons of The Bachelor, or bing watch Game of Thrones, it’s never too late to stop.

Those are tough questions.

While actions are often easy to avoid, attitudes set up residence in our hearts, make themselves at home, unpack their troubles, and do so unseen by others.

In Proverbs 6, God is clearly showing us to avoid those three types of people — which if you are doing the Proverbs Challenge it is unlikely that you are a lazy, back-stabbing, gossiper who hangs out with prostitutes — He is also warning us to avoid the attitudes that cultivate that type of living. People rarely run full speed into sin. Their attitudes slowly nudge them into it, almost imperceptibly.

You might wonder which specific attitudes generate such a gravitational pull into ungodly living. They are listed in verses 16-19 of Proverbs 6. In those verses Solomon introduces seven things that God despises. You will quickly notice a pattern in verses 17-19. In each of those verses Solomon names the ungodly attitude(s) then the action that it causes. Keep in mind that the attitude does not usually cause the action instantly. It takes time. Those attitudes can simmer in the Crockpot of our souls long before the action emerges.

An implied lesson in this chapter is: guard your heart and mind by filling them with God’s Word. You might recall the following verses from Proverbs 4 that apply here:

My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. – Proverbs 4:20-23

An amazing aspect of the Proverbs is that they build upon and shed light upon themselves. It’s remarkable how God speaks to us, teaches us, and does it so incredibly. He intends to show us Himself, His ways, and to do so in amazing fashion. Stay tuned, it gets even better!

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