READ: Proverbs 18-19
THINK: "Are you proud of yourself?" Perhaps you've been asked that question in jest after being caught in an awkward blunder or taking an outrageous risk and barely coming out with your dignity intact. But seriously, our culture tends to encourages pride-pride in our schools, our teams, our accomplishments, our character-and it's not bad to feel good about such things. However, as pride becomes self-centered and self-promoting, it turns ugly. An attitude of self-importance causes us to put undue trust in ourselves, our own ideas and our own abilities. This diminishes our trust in God and makes it impossible to respond to Him and others with true humility. If not eliminated, selfish pride will eventually destroy us. That's why "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6).
RESPOND: According to 18:1, what does an unfriendly person do? According to 18:7, what gets a person in trouble and can even ruin his or her life? How is a lazy person described in 18:9? What does "the Name of the LORD" represent, and how is His name "a strong tower"? (See 18:10-11 note.) What usually comes before a person's downfall, and why? (See 18:12 note.) What usually comes before true honor, and why (18:12)? What's wrong with answering someone before you've listened (18:13)? Why is it good to know both sides of a story before making a judgment (18:17)? In what way does the tongue have "the power of life and death" (18:21)? What does it mean that "it is not good to have zeal without knowledge" (19:2)? What kind of "friends" does wealth bring? (See 19:4 note.) Why is it honorable to overlook personal offenses (19:11)? To whom are we really giving when we help the poor? (See 19:17 note.) How can a lack of discipline affect a child? (See 19:18 note.) According to 19:22, what do people desire, and how does God satisfy this desire? According to 19:23, what "leads to life"?
PRAY: Ask God to help you become a more friendly person. Pray that you'll not be prideful and that you'll always be willing to seek advice from trustworthy people. Give God thanks for satisfying your desire for unfailing love.
ACT: Try to be friendly to everyone-including those to whom you've had trouble relating in the past. Be sure your speech is positive and uplifting. Don't be easily offended. Don't slack off in your work or responsibilities.
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