• William T. Howe Ph.D.

July 14, 2021

Daily Reading: Proverbs 4-6

Proverbs 4:2

For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.

There are many doctrines taught in the Bible, the doctrine of the church (ecclesiology), the doctrine of the last days (eschatology), the doctrine of man (humanity), on and on we could go. In the book of Proverbs Solomon gives to all the good doctrine of proper behavior. It is like the Miss Manners book that most of us in the 60’s read, yet Proverbs contains God inspired teachings on manners of behavior. Speaking of the Miss Manners book, the entire name is Miss Manners Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior. The book of Proverbs is exactly that, a book of excruciatingly correct behavior.

To behave in every situation as Solomon’s book of Proverbs teaches is excruciating. Meaning that doing right can be intensely painful, at the start. With practice however, proper behavior becomes second nature.

It all starts with the heart. Proverbs 4:23 proves this: Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. In this book the word heart is used 82 times in 31 chapters, about 2.5 times per chapter. The heart must be “kept” at all cost if one desires good behavior. For it is in the heart that all desires must pass before they become actions. The thought may start in the mind, but the heart fuels the action. Therefore if behavior is to be altered in any way, the heart is the place to start.

Many times, the thought of doing this or that comes to mind, it is there that it must be weighed as to whether it is a proper or improper behavior. The mind is temptation’s habitation. The thought is just that though, a thought, until acted upon which is allowed by the desires of the heart. Change the heart and the thoughts go no further, for they are not allowed. How many have encountered this? They know they should not do or say something, but they do it anyway? Why? The heart overrules the mind.

This all means this, while reading the book of Proverbs be careful of only letting it pass through the mind and not enter into the heart. Ask the Lord to put these teachings in your heart to stop any temptations from becoming reality, stopping them from going further than the mind. By the way, while we have primarily been dealing with temptation toward wrongness, remember this, good works and proper behavior also work the same way. They start in the mind and are fueled by the heart which moves to action and becomes blessings of many various forms.

Until tomorrow, live for Christ today.

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