Survival Handbook: Proverbs Edition

WORST CASE SCENARIO: How do you fend off a shark attack? There is some great advice for surviving almost anything on this site…you can get a book to guide you through the possible worst case shopping scenarios! O.K. admittedly some advice may be more useful than others.
Proverbs is a great book for understanding how we end up in some of life’s worst case scenarios. This Book is not for the faint of heart, it pulls no punches. The wise Seer refuses to gloss over our intentions and outcomes of such topics as anger, laziness, lust, refusing to discipline ourselves or our kids and many, many everyday scenarios we see lived out in our world.
On Thursday afternoon I have the privilege of hanging out with some guys who know the raw end of living out of the consequences of life, at the largest men’s shelter in the Maritimes. Some consequences are of our own making, many are outflows from other people’s decisions. Either way many of us are neck deep in trying to deal with the open wounds and soul sized vacuum that have left their imprint in our very core. It is so hard to make clear decisions in your everyday life when you are starting from the place of scars and vacuums.
Proverbs 1:2-6 tells us the purpose of proverbs is to know, to perceive, to receive, to gain discernment, discretion, increase learning, indeed a guide book for life.
Questions like: How do I deal with this deep loneliness? How do I move beyond the “if only’s” of life? How do I deal with the defeat? How come I feel empty with the things that used to and should bring me joy? How do I move out of powerlessness? How do I know God is real and cares? These were just some of the questions that were asked to me today by some of the hardest of guys. Where do you start to give an answer that is not just some kind of mere religious god-smack?
You might not like the answer:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; the fool despises wisdom and instruction.” – Proverbs 1:7;28,29; 9:10
Don’t be fooled this is not religious spewing- it is the rationalized, meditated, statement of truth from a Wise Sage.
You cannot hope to address and understand your life in deeper wisdom without:

  1. A HUMBLE, self recognition that you don’t hold all the answers. We don’t make decisions out of a vacuum- we make decisions out of beliefs. Islam, Christianity, Agnosticism and Atheism are all beliefs. In fact they are all Theological beliefs because they are a formed opinion about God, like I said earlier, some wisdom is better then others. First step to any sort of wisdom is a humble recognition that my own opinion based upon the evidences that I have accumulated are exactly that. No wisdom can be gained until there is the beginning of an awe filled reverence that there might be more then my own opinion based upon the evidences I have accumulated – “The fear”
  2. A RECOGNITION, of God. A self recognition that I don’t hold all the answers is not enough to understanding wisdom. The fact that I can admit that I am lacking in understanding or incomplete in evidence for knowing the deeper purposes of life, left on my own does not complete our Rational self. If there is no Architect there is no reason for being. If this is all just a blind, happen stance, of irrational forces, and this long line of unthinking evolution finally spat us out on top of the food chain with the ability to think and reason, than a logical question would be, for what? It could be then said that in a world that is so highly irrational there would be no true deeper knowledge or meaning beyond our immediate needs and wants, our mere existence, no true wisdom (to say nothing of a lack of argument for good government, morals or justice). A recognition of God moves us into the beginnings of deeper wisdom. There is a Reason, a Logic, a Designer, which leads us to a pursuit of knowing.
  3. An UNDERSTANDING of a Personal God. The word that the Sage uses is LORD, referring to the name that God used in speaking of himself when He revealed his identity to Moses. Let me shorten this statement: there is a God who has revealed himself to His Creation, personally for a reason, this is the message of the Bible. “Christ the power of God, and the Wisdom of God.”- 1 Cor.1:24
    God reveals Himself to us to highest degree in Jesus.

    The foundation of wisdom is an awe-filled humbling of ourselves to the truth that there is a God who wants us to know– To know answers for living well, for making healthy decisions, to move beyond and through scars and vacuums of our lives but most of all to know Him. This is not mere spiritual platitude, which also can be said for the rest of Proverbs. It will take work on our part to stop, read, think, re-read and to look below the surface of these passages to gain wisdom.
    Welcome to the pursuit of gaining useable everyday Wisdom. Here’s to moving beyond mere survival to a deeper living.