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Summary: Often we Christians believe that we are so insulated against evil that we do not need to be isolated from evil. Everything the Bible says is opposed to such a view. The people and the activities we are involved with can hurt us and cause us to fall.

PROVERBS 4:10-19

WATCH YOUR STEP

[Jude 24, 25]

A sign on the entrance to the IRS office read, "Watch your step." A sign on the exit read, "Watch your language." Two good pieces of advice! The first warning is especially appropriate, for as we walk through life, it is easy to stumble and fall.

What do we need to watch for in life? Solomon suggests two things. Evil people and evil pathways. Both these influences will cause even the Christian to stumble.

Often we Christians believe that we are so insulated against evil that we do not need to be isolated from evil. Everything the Bible says is opposed to such a view. The people and the activities we are involved with can hurt us and cause us to fall.

The way of wisdom is the way of justice and leads us to walk in the right path (CIT). Let's learn once again from wisdom's instructions using the following outline.

I. Walk in The Way of Wisdom, 10-13.

II. Avoid The Way of Evil Men, 14-17.

III. The Path of Righteousness Lights The Way, 18-19.

Solomon reminds us of the value of trustworthy counselors in these verses. Specifically, he wrote to his own child. He assures his son that the counsel of a godly parent is one of several ways God directs our hearts. Our teacher states in verse 10 that his aim is to equip his children for a wise lifetime as his parents had done for him. "Hear, my son, and accept my sayings, and the years of your life will be many."

Once more Solomon addresses one of his sons and tells him that a good life commences when we establish communication with God. In a bygone period God attempted to speak to Samuel who mistook God's voice for that of the priest Eli. The priest gave Samuel the advice that led to his saying, "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth" (1 Sam. 3:1-11). Waiting and listening, Samuel received the message.

Men must listen if they are to know God. The commandment said by Jesus to be the "first and the greatest" commences with, "Hear, O Israel." Many times over Jesus warned his followers, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."

When Glenn Clark interviewed the noted scientist George Washington Carver, he asked the SECRET OF HIS SUCCESS in discovering so many of the secrets of nature. The scientist replied, " . . . all my life I have risen at four o'clock and have gone into the woods and talked with God. There He gives me my orders for the day . . . When people are still asleep, I hear God best and learn my plan."

If we will really seek to know and listen for the voice of God, then we may have the experience of one of a bygone day of whom it was said, "And you shall hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk ye in it'" (Isa. 30:21).

When you receive God's truth into your heart God renews your mind (Rom. 12:2). If we hear this voice, we are blessed indeed and the years of our life will be many and the life of your years will be abudant.

Verse 11 informs us that wisdom directs us in right or straight ways. "I have directed you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in upright paths."

Hearing God and accepting His instruction directs your life into the way of wisdom. It directs you to the right decisions and you experience the guidance of God day after day.

God in His loving providence directs us and prepares the path for us. Augustine said, "Trust the past to the mercy of God, the present to His love, and the future to His providence." But King David said it better long before Augustine: "You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Ps. 16:11).

If you are willing to do God's will, you will have God's guidance (John 7:17), but if you treat God's will like a buffet lunch, choosing only what pleases you, He won't direct you. As I've said before, the will of God isn't for the curious; it's for the serious.

Let's look at 3 ways that the use of wisdom can lead us to personal growth.

(1) Refuse to plateau. It's tempting to find a plateau with comfortable stress, adequate finances and enjoyable relationships, without the intimidation of making new ones or entering unfamiliar situations. We all need to plateau for a time: to climb, rest and assimilate. But once we've assimilated what we've learned we must climb again. It's tragic when we've made our last climb. When that happens we're old, whether we're 9 - or 99!

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