READ: Proverbs 14-15
THINK: Most people think that their own opinions, ideas and plans are right. That's why we all tend to have a stubborn streak. That's also why there are tensions, arguments, conflicts-even wars-among individuals, groups and nations. If only people grasped the fact that humanistic wisdom and reasoning are a poor basis for determining what's true or false, right or wrong, worthy or unworthy. No matter how convincing or well-intentioned our ideas and actions may be, if they're not in line with God's plans they'll likely lead to unexpected consequences. Ultimately, doing things our own way leads to spiritual death. God's Word is the only infallible (perfectly reliable, unfailing) source for determining the right path of life. The human way leads to death; God's way leads to eternal life.
RESPOND: What does it mean that a devious person despises God? (See 14:2 note.) What does 14:10 indicate about people's own ideas, reasoning and plans apart from God's guidance? What does it mean to be "hotheaded and reckless" (14:16), and how can being quick-tempered lead to foolish actions (14:17)? How does patience reveal understanding (14:29)? Why is envy (desiring what others have) a destructive emotion (14:30)? How do people who oppress the poor show contempt for God, and how do people who are kind to those in need honor God? (See 14:31 note.) What does it mean that "even in death the righteous have a refuge"? (See 14:32 note.) According to 14:34, how can doing what's right or wrong affect entire nations? When facing an angry or tense situation, what can ease tensions and promote understanding and peace? (See 15:1 note.) What does it mean that "the LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked"? (See 15:8-9 note.) How can seeking advice make for successful plans, and from whom should you seek advice? (See 15:22 note.) What does it mean that "the path of life leads upward for the wise"? (See 15:24 note.) According to 15:33, what comes before true honor?
PRAY: Ask God to help you develop patience, control your temper, and put others' interests ahead of your own.
ACT: Do something to help someone who is disadvantaged or in need. Let others have their way. Speak gracious and gentle words in tense situations. Seek advice regarding a decision you need to make.
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