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Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Principled Life

3 The integrity of the honest keeps them on track; the deviousness of crooks brings them to ruin.  4 A thick bankroll is no help when life falls apart,
   but a principled life can stand up to the worst.  5 Moral character makes for smooth traveling; an evil life is a hard life.  6 Good character is the best insurance; crooks get trapped in their sinful lust. 
(Proverbs 11:3-6)

A "principled" life can stand up to the worst life throws at it.  Principles acts as our "rudder" - giving us the guidance for right conduct.  They give us the fundamental truths by which we make our decisions.  Solomon tells us that a life that is governed by the right principles will withstand the toughest conflicts and disappointments in life.  To that he offers moral character and integrity as companions of "principles" - each bringing the balance we need to "stay the course" when the worst is upon us.

Over and over again, Solomon has emphasized the importance of developing wisdom and understanding.  To these, he adds that foundational principles need to be built into the fiber of our being so that our choices are consistent and upright.  Solomon has seen the struggle that man faces with overcoming pride and embracing humility - one leading to honor from our heavenly Father, the other our own disgrace.  He has recognized that honesty must be our guiding action in our affairs of life - otherwise our end will be ruin.

To these "principles", Solomon added:
  • Silence - learning when no answer is better than any other answer we can bring into a situation.  There is much wisdom in learning when our mouths will betray us with words that sting or belittle.  It is best to never utter a word than to allow words to be spoken that bring another down.  To this, we have the reminder about the destructiveness of gossip - words best left unspoken and unheard.
  • Submission - learning to accept the wisdom of counsel (those who have gone before us in learning the lessons of life).  There is safety in wise counsel - learning to trust in that counsel is quite another thing.  It is a struggle of "will" to learn to seek out wise counsel instead of plunging ahead in our own self-will and self-determination.
  • Sensitivity - coming into an awareness of our surroundings, those we are with, or the impact our words and actions make on others.  The principled man or woman has learned to use their beauty wisely and modestly.  The needs of others are foremost in their thoughts.  The example that is set is one of integrity.
  • Service - the freedom to extend oneself in an openness of heart that betters the life of another and provides a positive example of the heart of God to those around us.  Sacrifice and service go hand-in-hand.  The heart of a servant is moved by the needs of those around them - they need not look far to see where their service is best used.
A principled life is both continually refreshed and rewarded.  There is an unending supply of all we need to live well, live consistently, and live outwardly.  There is an "emotional energy" that is "spent" in living a life of integrity (principled life).  Yet, we can look forward to the continual refreshing of our mind, spirit, and emotion as we walk in the principles of righteousness.  There is much to be discovered in "living well"!