Do you ever wonder how knot-heads become even more knot-headed? And, how do discerning people grow even more discerning? Verses 1, 8, 13, 15, and 23 in Proverbs 12 usher us to the answer. Take a moment and read them. Those verses chart a course that the rest of the chapter will follow. Now, read the rest of the chapter with them in mind.
With that said, I want to highlight a couple of verses to focus on in this post. These two verses speak to growth in wisdom and growth in work:
Growth in Wisdom:
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
but a wise man listens to advice. Proverbs 12:15
This verse distills many principles and applications into 18 words. Those who are wise demonstrate it by listening — really listening — to sound counselors. Although the verse does not outright name the advisers as wise, it implies it. Be choosy in whom you seek out for advice.
As a stark contrast, those who are foolish only listen to themselves, and in doing so multiply their foolishness. Fully stocked with arrogance, the foolish do not even consider listening to anyone but themselves. The self-immersed eventually become self-deceived.
Knowing who to listen to (not yourself mostly, dang, there goes all the self help books) and learning to spot wise counselors and heed their advice is critical.
Growing in Work:
Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread,
but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense. Proverbs 12:11
The Proverbs pack tons of truth into small spaces. This verse aptly and concisely describes why some have enough, and are easily contented (“plenty of bread”), while others have nothing, and lose even that. It comes down to work. Those who are wise and work will receive what they need — and because they are wise and humble — will be grateful for it. Those who are foolish chase frivolous things and never gain anything (if they did receive anything they would waste it). So, the wise work and the foolish fantasize. The wise are content and the foolish crave. Did certain folks flash across your mind as you read this? Yep, mine too.
Both verses are a lens for viewing the world, and others. They bring clarity to how people around you think and live. The wise grow wiser, work diligently, have plenty and are content. The foolish lie on the couch, daydream, and advise themselves into more frivolity.
That is one of the beauties of proverbs. They reveal readily recognizable patterns. They help us sort the laundry of life …