4/24/13 - PTC_Proverbs 2 - "Pursue the Prize"
Instruction on Proverbs PTs:
I am excited to jump into the Priority Time Challenge with Chris for the next eight weeks. This would be a great opportunity to start the Priority Time Challenge; all the details are here. I'll be taking us through the book of Proverbs. I LOVE the Proverbs and have made reading Proverbs a regular part of my daily "diet" of God's word for nearly 15 years.
Here's how we will go about it. Take the time to READ the entire chapter for the day straight through. Don't read too fast, the Proverbs are like miniature sermons. One or two sentences really pack a punch. So, read slowly and look for the one or two verses that really stand out to you today. You might select a passage that addresses a challenge you are facing, a need in your life or a growth area. I will share the passage that stands out to me each day and take you through the steps of a Priority Time. I will not post the entire chapter, just the passage that stands out to me. I encourage you to write in your journal, verbatim the passage that stands out to you each day as you log your progress through the steps of a Priority Time.
A Priority Time is a daily unhurried time to read the Word of God to know the God of the Word. Each day we will read a passage of scripture and highpoint a few verses for the purpose of Focused Thinking, Personal Application, Interactive Prayer, and Life Journaling.
- Focused Thinking: Ask the journalistic questions (5 W's and How).
- Personal Application: It turns information into transformation.
- Interactive Prayer: It is personal, private, and precise.
- Life Journaling: It is the process of recording thoughts, evaluating my experiences, and capturing my memories.
1My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
2 making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
3 yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
4 if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
Who? This proverb is written from the perspective of a father to a son. This occurs many times in the Proverbs and indicates both to encourage parents to proactively give our kids God's wisdom as well as reveal the heart of God for His people as a Heavenly Father. This is vital in our relationship with God. He is not a distant spiritual being, He is close and He cares like a loving father, but better than any human father. God, help me read this first as a son and second as a father. I need to submit to Your wisdom before I try to give away Your wisdom.
What? What am I as a "son" to do? (Here is where I focus on the verbs and make it personal - take action!) I am to "receive," "treasure up," "make my ear attentive," "incline my heart," "call out," "raise my voice," "Seek it," and "search for it." There are the actions that I'm encouraged to take responsibility for. In a phrase, I am to diligently pursue wisdom. The "words" of the Father should be my aim. I must cultivate a heart that listens and takes seriously the words of the Father.
When? The indication of this text is that this is an ongoing pursuit. I must be diligent in my pursuit of wisdom whenever the Father speaks.
Where? Again - everywhere. Later in this chapter (vv16-19) we see a specific and common issue (at least among men) of sexual temptation. The temptation to be unfaithful to The Lord and your spouse or future spouse comes when you may least expect it. When it comes and where it comes is not always predictable so we must listen to God's wisdom in order to prepare ourselves for those moments.
Why? Verse 5 is the reason why… "Then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God." I don't know anyone who doesn't want to know the "knowledge of God." We all long for it. We all need it. Understanding and the knowledge of God comes at the end of a diligent pursuit of God's word. When God speaks and we listen, there is a positive result. God's wisdom is deposited into us. It is this deposit of wisdom that serves to protect us in the most tempting of situations and prepare us for God's greatest successes.
How? The only way to maintain a diligent pursuit is to value to the result. Solomon is sure to give us many comparisons here. He compares this pursuit to treasure and silver and hidden treasures. He's showing us that until we value God's wisdom at the level or above the level of some of our earthly pleasures we will default to pursuing the earthly pleasures. Earthly pleasures are far easier to pursue!
I need to strengthen my pursuit. What stands in the way of a diligent pursuit? Fatigue would have to be the greatest deterrent for me right now. With all we have going on in our lives with a new baby, life is simply exhausting. When I'm tired, it becomes easy to lose the diligence. As much as sleep is vital for health, I cannot afford life without "understanding and the knowledge of God."
God, help me place a higher value on spending time with You. Help me not only have my Priority Time, help me make it a diligent pursuit. That's the deception of having a PT. Just sitting down and going through the motions is not enough. Now, it's better than nothing, but what makes the difference is when I do those actions of "receive," "treasure up," "make my ear attentive," "incline my heart," "call out," "raise my voice," "Seek it," and "search for it." Help me wring out every drop of wisdom from my time with You. As a son, help me see you as my wise and good father. Help me lead my kids the same way. Please by your grace and power give my sons the desire to pursue wisdom from you and from me and Amanda.
I need to stay on top of my schedule and my fatigue levels. This stage of life is challenging and often very stressful. I need structure and balance to manage what expectations are reasonable. I can't underestimate my daily pursuit of God. My pursuit of God always offers a prize. The wisdom of God is a prize that makes my life function better. Wisdom means "skill in living" that is what I want. A life that works is the prize.