Summary: Proverbial wisdom of humility and teachability by developing habits of seeking advise, and accepting criticism (correction).
NIV Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
Last week we began looking at how we make the good decisions. Every day we make decisions about what we do, where we will go, what we will prioritize, how we will respond to others. In order to make the right decisions we need wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to know what is right and then do it. In the Bible in the book of Proverbs, the author Solomon writes, “Getting wisdom is the most important thing you can do (4:7, NLT).” The Bible also tells us that wisdom comes from God and is given by him (2:6),“For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” In order to make the right choice we need to seek God and the wisdom he gives us. As Christians we know the Holy Spirit is the one who gives us wisdom (1 Cor. 12:8) and we are given wisdom not just to help us make good decisions but to know God better, to have a closer walk with him (Eph. 1:17).
In order to gain wisdom and know God better we are exploring the books of Proverbs over the next several weeks. Proverbs is known as one of the books of wisdom in the Bible. Solomon states that the purpose of writing his book is so that we might gain wisdom and discipline and understanding so we can do the right thing; what is right, just, and fair (Prov. 1:2-3). Since Proverbs is somewhat of a hodgepodge of wisdom we will be looking at different themes and how they impact our everyday life such as: dealing with our tongue, money, integrity, hard work.
One of the themes running through Proverbs and the first place we need to look at in growing in wisdom is humility and teachability. God wants to give us wisdom to help us make the right choices in our life but unless we humble ourselves and become teachable God’s wisdom is wasted on us.
In the first eight chapters of Proverbs, Solomon writes to his son, and says over and over again, “listen my son to your father’s instruction and do not neglect your mother’s teaching (1:8).” Or “My son, do not neglect my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart (3:1).” Sounds like a lot of you parents out there, huh? Trying to get your kids to listen to you. Solomon was trying to impart God’s wisdom to his son and to us, but he realizes, just as we do, that it is completely useless if it goes in one ear and out the other, which is what is happening if we fail to put it into practice.
In the book of wisdom in the New Testament, written by Jesus’ brother James it says it this way.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22, NIV
Being humble and teachable means we receive God’s Word’s of wisdom, and we put it into practice. Otherwise we are just deceiving ourselves.
Pride Gets in the Way of Humility and Teachability
What usually gets in the way of us failing to listen to God’s wisdom, and to be teachable? Pride.
Our pride can become a great downfall for us. There are different kinds of pride. There is good kind of pride, such as pride for your country. On this Memorial weekend we usually have pride in our country and for those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. In the NT, the Apostle Paul frequently shared how proud he was of the churches he was writing to, and how they kept the faith. But the pride we are referring to is the negative kind of pride, the pride which is arrogance, people who are puffed up on themselves. Look how great I am. But before we think we don’t struggle with pride, there is also a more subtle form of pride. It is the pride of self-sufficiency. This kind of pride says “I’m doing just fine on my own,” or “I don’t need help,” “I can make my own decisions just fine.” This kind of pride doesn’t need anything from anybody, including God. This kind of pride reminds me of former Minnesota governor, Jesse Ventura, who said, “Religion is for weak people.” Unfortunately many in our country are guilty of having this prideful attitude which celebrates being independent and self-sufficient, and to be perfectly honest we think we’ve gotten along quite fine this way. But the wisdom of Proverbs reminds us that pride of any kind eventually leads to our downfall.
NIV Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
NIV Proverbs 18:12 Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.