How can I know God’s will for my life? What does God want from me? What should I do with my life? How can I handle all the problems and trials I’m facing? These are some of the most popular questions in Christianity today. Proverbs 2.1-5 gives us answers to those questions.
The Word of God
This portion of Proverbs begins by telling us that we should “receive” the word of God and we should “treasure up” the Lord’s commandments (Proverbs 2.1). The idea is that we need to take hold of God’s word, and then store it in our hearts and minds. God has given us incredible treasures in his word, but they don’t do us any good if we never put them in our hearts.
We can think of God’s word like healthy food. It’s fun to go to the store and buy the healthy food. People see your purchases, and they think to themselves, “Now, there’s someone who cares about health! Just look at the healthy food they’re buying!” We may even get compliments from the cashier at the register. While all of that is well and good, the healthy food does no good until you eat it. If you let all the vegetables rot in the fridge or leave them sitting uneaten on your plate, you’ve done yourself no good at all.
The same is true with the Bible. Buying a Bible feels good. People see you buy it, and it looks like we’re trying to do the right thing. You’re probably going to get comments from someone in a bookstore when buying a Bible. But, if you bring that Bible home, set it on the table, and never open it, you have done yourself no good. Even if you carry your Bible with you to church or studies, if you never open it, you’re not feeding your soul. You’re starving yourself to death spiritually, and the very nutrition you need is sitting next to you on the table. We would certainly think someone who starved to death with a plate of food next them was foolish. How much more foolish are we if we starve ourselves to death spiritually with God’s word sitting on the table?
The Three Do’s of Spiritual Growth
Proverbs 2.2-4 tells us what we need to begin doing to learn the fear of the Lord and to “discover the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2.5). First, we need to be willing to listen. Someone once said, “God gave you two ears and one mouth so you should listen twice as much as you talk.” This is definitely true when it comes to our relationship with God.
Many people want to know what God’s will is, but they make the mistake of doing all the talking. Instead of praying more – God already knows what you need – sometimes the answer is to read and listen more. Make your ear attentive to the voice of God and the instruction he gives us. I’m certainly not saying that we shouldn’t pray (that’s next on the list), but we need to make sure that we’re also listening. If the ear-to-mouth ratio is true (and it certainly seems like a good idea), then we should be spending twice as much time listening to God, reading the Scriptures, and making our heart ready to receive God’s word.
Second, we need to pray for God’s help with our wisdom and discernment. We have to avoid the trap of think we can figure everything out by ourselves. The information God has given is spiritual in nature, and we need his help to understand his revelation. We find in James 1.5 that we should pray for wisdom. Solomon asked God to give him the wisdom to guide the people of Israel (1 Kings 3.9-12). Paul would say that we need the Spirit’s help to have the “eyes of our hearts enlightened” and that only “spiritual people” can properly discern God’s revelation (Ephesians 1.18 & 1 Corinthians 1.12-14).
The truth revealed to us here in Proverbs 2.3 is that we must call out to God for wisdom and understanding. Since the wisdom we’re seeking is from above and spiritual (cf. James 3.15), it makes sense that we need God’s help to obtain it. How can physical people understand deeply spiritual things? We can’t – at least not without God’s help.
Third, we need to put forth the effort to seek and search for the information God has made available to us. What kind of effort do we make to earn money? We spend years going to school, learning skills, and developing ideas to earn money for ourselves. People will work their entire lives just so they can afford to buy their “dream home”. The people who get these things are the people who put forth an effort to get them.
People who have great spiritual wisdom didn’t just develop it or gain it overnight. They’ve spent years searching and seeking for the wisdom that God gives. They have given up seeking for other things to focus on gaining wisdom from God. Every time we put an effort in one direction, we lose the ability to search for something else. We will become less physical as we focus more on spiritual things. As we grow spiritually in this way, then we will begin to understand the “fear of the Lord” and “find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2.5).
Let’s be people who strive to focus on spiritual things. Make the decision today that you’re going to focus on spiritual things. As you do this, you will become less physically minded and more spiritually minded. This will lead us closer to God and away from sin and worldliness.
May God bless us all as set our hearts, minds, and souls to seek for the wisdom that comes from God.