Session VI of Love and Relationships!
One of the themes of the book of Proverbs is the contrast between the wise and the fool. The Word tells us the right and just way, and, then, the wrong and irrational way. We need to see the value and importance of being willing to learn and be taught. Otherwise, we will keep repeating the same patterns of wrong thinking and doing over, and over again. By refusing to learn and grow, we place ourselves in the realm of what the Bible calls the fool! I hope it is not your desire to camp in that area. Because, when we do, we delude ourselves into taking the wrong direction in life, missing God's best for us.
We have to ask ourselves, why would I want to be a fool and miss out on so much? Why would I want to do as I see fit, hanging on to patterns and ways that do not work, going from broken relations to more failures and more broken relationships, causing hurt and pain, loneness and depression, dysfunction and strife? Why? Just to hangout in our own pride? Do people actually find fulfillment in this? Perhaps we get so blinded by our pride we just never look up to see what God has to offer us in the areas of growth and leaning. So, why be the fool, and miss out on so much? Just to have a little fun? To do as you see fit? Remember, that did not work for the Israelites. Did it? Have you ever seen it work? In over twenty years of pastoral ministry and counseling, I never have!
Just read through Proverbs, and let God's Word reveal to you what will happen. By reading just one chapter a day, you can get through it all in one month. You will spend less than five minutes a day, and be far wiser too! The sad fact is, too many of us will not spend the time needed in the Word. Too many Christians will put their minds in the ways of the fool and not in the ways of the wise. So, we do miss out. What makes a fool a fool? The fool refuses to learn; he does not want to be told what or why something is right or wrong, he just wants to do his own thing. This may sound like fun, but the lifestyle of the fool results in consequences and misery we should all pray might never happen to us.
Wise people are those who are willing to grow and improve themselves. It is not an IQ thing; intelligence has nothing to do with wisdom. Some of the most intelligent people I have hung out with in college and grad school, even in Mensa meetings, did some really stupid things, and led lives of self-destruction. I have also seen people with little education, who lived their lives with real, practiced wisdom. The wisest people are not perfect and they make mistakes; but, there is one key aspect that keeps them wise and blessed. They are willing to learn. They are willing and able to look at their behaviors and past mistakes, and brainstorm through the guidance of God's Word, how to develop the needed skills of life, and be better than they were before. By doing this, they learn how to avoid those same mistakes in the future. The fool will keep repeating his mistakes over and over. This is why so many go into numerous, varied relationships and marriages, from one that does not work, to the next one that does not work, and so on, and so on. They seem to never learn; they do not strive to make it work.
If you see yourself here, do not be dismayed. The fact that you can recognize your pride, and your past refusal to learn, becomes your first step. You must be willing to commit to improving yourself. These improvements are in the realm of our character, values, and ability to relate to others better, especially to our spouse and family.
You must be willing to learn about your personality, and what you need to improve and work on. We will look at several key components of character in the coming chapters that will pave the way to building good, quality relationships, and a lifestyle that is pleasing to the Lord.
How do I begin to be a person who learns? Be a person who listens! Those of you in your teens and twenties listen to your parents. Yeah, I know how hard that is! Most of the time, they know you better than you know yourself. Do not rely only on your friends, especially if they are less mature than you. Rather, seek older people to whom you can talk. Parents need to talk to children about their sexuality, about God's plan for them, and to help them improve their character development. Deuteronomy 6:6‑7 says, "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children." The commandments referred to here are the Ten Commandments, which include the very one about sexuality that Jesus alluded to in the Sermon on the Mount. God's design is that sex education happen in the family. This does not mean to have just one talk about the facts of life, and get it over with. It involves an ongoing conversation about their bodies, physical changes they are going through, dating, marriage, how they feel about people of the other sex, and, responding to questions. It involves different kinds of conversations at each stage of our season of life and spiritual development.
So, no matter if you are 15 or 115, commit yourself to listen to others, and take the time to observe your own behaviors. You can do this by finding a good Christian mentor of the same sex as you, with whom you can talk with, and learn from. If you do not have parents that are mature, if you already missed that season of your life, or if growth and leaning did not take place in you, do not be dismayed. It happens this way with many people. Make the commitment to grow. The classic disciplines of the Christian faith are your key, too, as well as devotions, getting into the Bible, Bible study, good Christian fellowship, and being in a quality church where you can worship, and where God's Word is proclaimed with conviction.
Read Proverbs 1:5-7; 3:11-12 then discuss this section and answer these questions:
1. Why do many Christians refuse to learn and grow? What about you? What blocks your efforts of learning and growing?
2. Have you ever felt that you have missed out of something important in life when you have refused to learn from a particular situation?
3. What makes a fool a fool?
4. What is the end result of the lifestyle of the fool?
5. What is one key aspect that keeps us wise and blessed?
6. You must be willing to learn about your personality, and, what you need to improve and work on.
7. How do I begin to be a person who learns?
8. How important is listening to you? How much do you need to be listened to? How much effort do you spend to listen to others? (Take the time to observe your own behaviors!)
9. How can you recognize your pride, and, your past refusal to learn? (have some doubts about pride? Then, just look up "pride" in any concordance)
10. What do you need to do to look up, and see what God has to offer you in the areas of growth and leaning? How would it improve your life?
1.Once we get ourselves properly lined up with God and His Will, a whole new world opens up. What would that world look like for you?
2.Do you honestly believe maturity is important in order to share yourself with someone else? Why is this important?
3.How have you tried to line up with God, and His Will?
4.Do you believe that if you only seek what you can get, you will end up in despair? If so, how are you practicing this? How can you?
5.God does not call you to do anything that He has not empowered and enabled you to do! How can this fact encourage and empower you in relationships?