READ: Proverbs 22–23
THINK: Are you living beyond your means-spending more than you earn? Perhaps you're living off someone else's earnings, so it doesn't seem like an issue right now. But the habits you establish at this point in your life will affect you for years to come. A desire to have everything now and to get all the latest gadgets as soon as they hit the market can lead to a lifestyle financed by credit and burdened by debt. It's foolish to spend all we have-or don't have-to purchase nonessential things simply for pleasure or convenience. Recklessly spending or using credit can be devastating to one's financial situation, priorities and relationships. God is pleased with those who wisely accept a more modest standard of living rather than incurring debt and becoming a slave to excessive lifestyles (22:7).
RESPOND: What does it mean to have a good name (22:1), why is it so valuable, and how do you get it? In what way will those who are humble and fear the LORD ultimately receive riches and honor? (See 22:4 note.) How will the example, instruction and training given to a child affect his or her life later on (22:6), and how should this principle affect how parents raise their children? (See 22:6 note.) In what way does 22:7 caution us about unnecessary or excessive debt? (See 22:7 note.) In what ways will generous people be blessed? (See 22:9 note.) According to 22:22-23, whose case will God defend? Why should you be careful about being friends with or even associating with a hot-tempered person (22:24-25)? According to 23:4-5, what shouldn't you wear yourself out doing, and why? (See 23:4 note.) According to 23:17-18, who should we not envy, and why? According to 23:29- 35, what are some of the effects and consequences of indulging in alcohol? (See 23:29-35 notes.)
PRAY: Ask God to help you gain a good name and a reputation that honors God and reflects Christlike character. Ask God to help you be responsible with your resources and not get caught up in desires for money or things.
ACT: Are your priorities in any way out of line because of how much time, effort or attention you give to using or accumulating material things? This could include a job that takes up too much time just so you can get extra money. Adjust your priorities so that your prime time and attention can go toward God's intentions for you.
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