Do you have any enemies? Now I’m not talking like “The Joker” or “Lex Luther” type enemies, but people who you don’t really like. People who you might argue with a lot. Or maybe its someone you are holding a grudge against. Of course you do! We all do! And I bet its really easy for you to hope something bad happens to that person. Or maybe its fun to laugh at the hard times they are going through because you feel like they deserve it or they brought it upon themselves.
Read Proverbs 24
I hope you caught that. Re-read verse 17. “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,” There it is. If your enemy falls we are not to rejoice. Lets read verse 29 now. “Do not say, “I’ll do to them as they have done to me; I’ll pay them back for what they did.”” We forget so often that in Matthew Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to love God, but the second one is like it and it is to love others. If we are dong harm or wishing harm unto others, are we loving them? So what would happen if we did start loving them? Encouraging them? Dare I say, praying for them?
Who am I not doing a good job of loving?
Who am I going to commit to praying for this week that I normally wouldn’t?
Read Proverbs 23
Gossip is something that most, if not all, middle school and high school students deal with or start. Whether it is in your family or friend group, gossip is everywhere and it is up to you to decide if you want to partake in it or not.
The bible says that the root of gossip is jealousy, envy, and anger, so when you talk about someone else you are showing the sin in your life. When you gossip you are not only hurting the person that you are talking about, but you are also hurting yourself because you are putting things into your heart that do not need to be there.
Is this something that you tend to struggle with?
Think of a list of ways that you can break this habit.
Ex: reading the Bible daily, surround yourself with people that encourage you, and fill you heart with God’s promises.
Read Proverbs 22
Let’s be honest here, nobody likes rules. Even rule followers break rules time to time. Rules are restricting and hold us back from the things we want to do. Like when you’re on a diet and you see that Chaco Taco…or when you don’t really want to drive 35 mph on the way back from school. As much as we hate rules, they are there to protect us.
“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.” Proverbs 22:3-4
Rules exist to let good things run wild. The prudent person is someone who acts with care towards their future. When we listen to the rules God has placed in our lives He promises us riches, honor, and life. The discipline we put in our lives NOW we will thank ourselves for LATER.
Truth is, we’re all going to break the rules and nobody is perfect. But Jesus is perfect and that’s good news. So follow Him, it’s not always easy but it’s worth it.
Get Rich: Are you currently following the rules that are designed to protect you and give you a life full of riches? Or are you setting up a poor future?
Read Proverbs 21
Last week we talked about what it looks like to live generously with more than our money, but with our time, effort, and encouragement. Proverbs 21 talks more about this and challenges us with the question of whether we are living with greed or generosity.
Generosity does not always come easily to people, and that is okay as long as you are not giving up there. When you are living generously you are not only blessing others but glorifying God, which is our purpose. If we aren’t living like Jesus we aren’t living for God. If this is you, it may be time to do a heart check and to set yourself right with the Lord.
What areas of your life do you need to be living with less greed and more generosity?
Read Proverbs 19
Decision making has never been my thing. I am a pretty “go-with-the-flow” type of person, so when it came time to decide on a major and what college to go to, I was struggling. I was so busy trying to figure out what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go rather than letting God take the lead and listening to His plan.
I think that this scenario is familiar to many of us, especially if you are approaching your last years in high school, but it is important to remember verse 21. Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” This pertains to more than just our future, it is referring to any area of our lives that we might not be letting God have control.
What are some ways that you need to let go of controlling a situation and let God work in your life?
Read Proverbs 20
We all try to keep up appearances, and reputation is important,
but who are you when no one is watching?
“The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord searching all his innermost parts” Proverbs 20:27
Jesus knows who you are when no one is watching. He knows your thoughts, your intentions, dreams, desires, motives and heart. The big idea here is that, who you are on the inside is way greater than who you are in front of others, because the person no one sees is the real you.
Today ask Jesus to show you what he sees and to help you take steps to be real with him and real with others.
What steps are you going to take to sync your private and public life?
Read Proverbs 18
This is going to be a little weird, but think about a life without your tongue. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to taste, talk, and so much for ice cream cones. According to Proverbs 18:21, there’s an even greater use for our tongues…“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
No, this does not mean that you can cast Harry Potter spells with your tongue. But it does mean that you can bring a great deal of help or hurt – both to others and to yourself – with the words you allow to roll off your tongue.
Are the words you say bringing life or death to you and those around you? Are you in the habit of speaking negatively or positively about people? Our words really are powerful and they matter. Use them to build people up and not tear them down.
Read Proverbs 17
I love summer! I love it because there is no school, it’s warm, and best of all I get to spend hours upon hours with my best friends! I love making memories and doing all sorts of exciting things that we can look back and laugh about. When I think about my friends I also think about what kind of relationship that we have together. I have some friends that know almost everything about me, but I also have friends that only know the surface of my life. How many times do we have relationships that don’t have a lot of meaning? Sure, it is great to hang out with new people but how often do we let that go deeper?
All throughout the Bible we are told that we should be encouraging, serving, and praying for one another. We should be loving each other genuinely and that is something that we do not always do. We allow ourselves to live on the surface and to only be a loving friend when we want too.
Think about what kind of friend you are. What are some ways that you can practice genuinely loving the people in your life?