"My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man's whole body. Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life." Proverbs 4:20-23
I'm feeling a bit amped and I believe it has to do with one or all of the following: the medium light roast with white chocolate I just drank (mmmm), the excitement and spiritual whirling in my heart about Holy Yoga Instructor Training beginning tomorrow (eeeeeeeek!) OR the Spirit flipping the switch to all kinds of light bulbs in my head over the passage on my heart today. Whatever is causing it, I ask for your patience and grace as I share... this girl has got some major excitement happening on this side of the screen.
On the subject of what our lives look like and who we live them for there's one thing that comes to mind, specifically with husbands, and men in general, in mind. Something that irritates me beyond belief are the stereotype actions, responses and attitudes that men buy into in our society.
Don't show too much emotion.
Make a joke at someone else's expense to look tougher.
Keep your thoughts, musings and whispers of your heart to yourself.
In a conflict with your wife? Just don't say anything at all. She's just going off and being a woman.
I realize that men are different than women. The "whispers of the heart" is a bit of a stretch, but I for one will say that the moments when T has shared his heart with me are ones that I keep very close. I go back to them often because I believe that is a major facet of the intimacy that God designed in marriage.
I read Proverbs 4 today and if T were here with me, you better believe I'd be preaching from the mountaintops to him on the whole chapter. Wisdom, wisdom, WISDOM! I won't make you read the entire chapter if you don't have time, but I do encourage it. If you can read it in the amplified version, please do.
Verses 14-16 say, "Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go your way. For they cannot sleep until they do evil, they are robbed of slumber till they make someone fall." The amplified version says, in verse 16, that they cannot sleep until they have caused trouble or vexation. That word means, "the act of annoying, irritating or vexing." Men are so vexing towards one another! I can't help but wonder if this can leave them fearful of stepping out, taking the right path in each moment they are presented the opportunity, and walking away from people who push them into the stereotypical "man" corners.
So today, can we pray for our men's hearts? That they would take and guard wisdom in their hearts with vigilance? Because I know I've seen my man get backed into that corner far too many times, choosing to fall into the stereotype rather than standing up in wisdom and knowing the value that it has for him in this life.
Be blessed today, beautiful daughters.
Your wisdom is more valuable than the most precious of jewels, which is why the thought of choosing the labels of this world seems so foolish in comparison. I desperately pray your words of Proverbs 4 over him today. Lord, there are men all around him that buy into the lies and the labels... who can't seem to rest until they have caused unrest in his heart and the hearts of others around him. Please, Father, ignite in him the revelation of the value of your wisdom. Allow him insight into the beautiful reality that you have given him another road, a higher road, that he can travel in each and every instance where someone desires to tear him down. Lord, you have given him the tools, so show him how to guard his heart with vigilance and to step out in bravery. It is in these moments that he can actively choose to live out his life in a worthy manner, honoring you with his speech and his actions. Moment by moment, Spirit, remind him that he has been called higher and deeper than cutting words and "manly" power trips. He has been called to kindness, where more power is found than in any snarky retort ever muttered by the lips of the ensnared. Release in him the freedom that can be felt in acknowledging this truth. God you are so good! May we always remember how much more worth is found in you than any of the emptiness this world has to offer us!
For your glory God!
If you desire to, here is Chapter 4. Let me know if you feel amped after you let the Spirit settle it in your heart, because I know I sure did.
Proverbs 4 (NIV)
Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. 2 I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. 3 For I too was a son to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother. 4 Then he taught me, and he said to me, “Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live. 5 Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. 6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. 7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get[a] wisdom. Though it cost all you have,[b] get understanding. 8 Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. 9 She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.”
10 Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. 11 I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. 12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. 13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. 14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers. 15 Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way. 16 For they cannot rest until they do evil; they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble. 17 They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.
18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. 19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.
20 My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. 21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; 22 for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. 23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. 24 Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. 26 Give careful thought to the[c] paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. 27 Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
And in the Amplified to really just hit it home:
Hear, my sons, the instruction of a father, and pay attention in order to gain and to know intelligent discernment, comprehension, and interpretation [of spiritual matters].
2 For I give you good doctrine [what is to be received]; do not forsake my teaching.
3 When I [Solomon] was a son with my father [David], tender and the only son in the sight of my mother [Bathsheba],
4 He taught me and said to me, Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments and live.
5 Get skillful and godly Wisdom, get understanding (discernment, comprehension, and interpretation); do not forget and do not turn back from the words of my mouth.
6 Forsake not [Wisdom], and she will keep, defend, and protect you; love her, and she will guard you.
7 The beginning of Wisdom is: get Wisdom (skillful and godly Wisdom)! [For skillful and godly Wisdom is the principal thing.] And with all you have gotten, get understanding (discernment, comprehension, and interpretation).
8 Prize Wisdom highly and exalt her, and she will exalt and promote you; she will bring you to honor when you embrace her.
9 She shall give to your head a wreath of gracefulness; a crown of beauty and glory will she deliver to you.
10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life shall be many.
11 I have taught you in the way of skillful and godly Wisdom [which is comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God]; I have led you in paths of uprightness.
12 When you walk, your steps shall not be hampered [your path will be clear and open]; and when you run, you shall not stumble.
13 Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.
14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.
15 Avoid it, do not go on it; turn from it and pass on.
16 For they cannot sleep unless they have caused trouble or vexation; their sleep is taken away unless they have caused someone to fall.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.
18 But the path of the [uncompromisingly] just and righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines more and more (brighter and clearer) until [it reaches its full strength and glory in] the perfect day [to be prepared].
19 The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.
20 My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings.
21 Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh.
23 Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.
24 Put away from you false and dishonest speech, and willful and contrary talk put far from you.
25 Let your eyes look right on [with fixed purpose], and let your gaze be straight before you.
26 Consider well the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established and ordered aright.
27 Turn not aside to the right hand or to the left; remove your foot from evil.