Scripture Reading: Proverbs 15
Key Verses: Proverbs 15:5, 10, 12, 31, 32
“Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.” – Proverbs 15:32
Why is it that when we develop an opinion or stance on something, we feel that we must be right and everyone else is wrong? Granted, sometimes that is just the case. Sometimes we are right and literally any opposition or criticism is wrong. In any case, however, we tend to allow our pride to cloud our judgment. A great example of this comes from my own personal life. For the past two semesters I have been under the teaching of a professor that has, well, challenged me. In the grading of my writings, he has, to say the least, been very hard on me. It seems that no matter how much time I spend on my writings and papers, he always seems to find mistakes. As a result, my grade has suffered. My first natural reaction to this was to fight back. I constantly complained and reluctantly I must admit I have spoken very negatively of the professor. Instead of heeding his advice and instruction, I have ignored it and truly been very bitter towards him. Recently, I have been pondering why I have been feeling this way. Why would I despise the reproof and instruction of an elder pastor and man of God in this way? One answer has been illuminated in my mind: PRIDE. The evil of pride has been invading all of my thoughts and it has therefore been demonstrated in my actions. I have now developed a reputation of being against this professor. I am feeling much remorse over this. The problem is not in my actions though. The problem lies deep within my heart. I am allowing my pride to breed such thoughts as, “I am a great writer and I do not need any more instruction.” My thoughts have been, “How dare this man correct me in my writing.” I pray now that God would humble my heart and direct my thoughts and actions toward being receptive of such reproof and instruction, for to do so is wise. God knows that at this point in my life, I need to be studying through the book of Proverbs. I must daily seek to be humble and not proud. While I have been acting like a fool, the grace of God grants me the opportunity to repent and pursue righteousness by obeying His Word through heeding reproof and listening to instruction.
Now, the most amazing truth that I have noticed from this passage comes at the end of the chapter. “Whoever ignores instruction despises himself.” (Proverbs 15:32) This is definitely something we as followers of Christ must take into consideration when we are presented with reproof for either the way we are living or even the simple decisions we make. If we ignore the instruction of our parents or elders we are truly despising ourselves. The Bible speaks simply and powerfully. You are either wise or foolish. You either heed reproof or ignore reproof. Be more patient, demonstrate humility and avoid pride when someone rebukes something you are doing. Before defending yourself out of pride, heed their reproof and you will be wise for it. Do not despise yourself, but instead heed the reproof of your elders and in fact, seek their advice and instruction so as to continue to grow closer to Christ in your walk with Him. Seek to be discipled so that you can more effectively disciple others. Glorify God today by listening to reproof so as to gain intelligence! And do not forget the closing verse of Proverbs 15, “The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” (Proverbs 15:33) Therefore, heed the reproof of the LORD and realize that He disciplines His children because He loves them. (Hebrews 12:6) Do not ignore His rebuke in your pride. Listen humbly to His reproof and you will live eternally with Him because of your humble faith in Christ.
In closing, seek wisdom by fearing God and heeding the reproof of others as well as God. Do not be an obstinate fool refusing to repent or turn from your ways because of your pride. Humbly allow God’s love, grace, discipline, and reproof to overwhelm you as you pursue the righteousness granted you by the perfect life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You have two choices: Be a fool by ignoring instruction and reproof OR be wise by heeding instruction and reproof! This may seem impossible for you; be encouraged for all things are possible with God. (Matthew 19:26) Pray that He would create this humble attitude to illuminate in your heart as you seek wisdom!
By His Grace,