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Monday, March 21, 2011

Tune up time

1-5 Good friend, take to heart what I'm telling you; collect my counsels and guard them with your life.  Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom; set your heart on a life of Understanding.  That's right—if you make Insight your priority, and won't take no for an answer, searching for it like a prospector panning for gold, like an adventurer on a treasure hunt, believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours; you'll have come upon the Knowledge of God. 
(Proverbs 2:1-5)

Two key elements of living a disciplined life are the ability to "listen" and to "treasure".  The ability to listen may be hampered by the life choices we have made.  The clarity of what is heard becomes crystal clear when we learn to treasure the relationship we have with Christ.  We won't want to miss what he says - the advice he gives.

Solomon uses a term here to describe this "listening" process - it is like "tuning" into a radio station.  You have to sometimes turn the dial so precisely to get the best reception of the station.  To listen to God, there is an effort on our part - we have to tune out all the distractions, situations, and choices that are in conflict to hearing his voice.

In turn, we are told to concentrate on understanding.  One of the things we learn in school is that we learn best when we are able to concentrate on what is being taught.  If we are distracted, we often miss "key content" in the lesson being taught, thereby not really learning fully.  Understanding is not always quick or easy.  There is much effort placed into understanding - attention must be focused and we must be in an attitude of willingness to learn what is being taught.

God grants wisdom - a gift in our lives that comes directly from his hand.  He grants a treasure of good sense to the godly.  This "good sense" becomes the shield of protection we often need to keep us from making "bad choices".  Sometimes we expect to hear a booming voice from God that tells us not to take a particular course of action.  What God wants us to do in those circumstances if to simply listen to the "good sense" he has already given us.  God protects the faithful - when we waiver in our consistency of walk, how can we expect protection?

The seat of our emotion (the thing that causes us to waiver so much) is our heart.  Wisdom is in our heart, not our head.  Wisdom helps us to not always be driven by what emotion is the loudest or most active in our lives at that very moment.   It is wisdom that gives us rational responses to irrational situations.  Wisdom saves us from wrong relationships, wrong money decisions, and even wrong choices in what we eat.  

Solomon tells us to follow the steps of good men - we have them as our examples because God knows that we learn best (come to better understanding) when we see an example to follow.  The choices we have to make may not be exactly the same choice that our example has had to make, but the principles of living that are exhibited in their lives serve as an illustration of how right choices are made.  There is a value in setting our eyes on right examples.

Maybe it is time for a little "tuning up" of our listening!  When we "tune in" to the right examples, it affects our choices.  When we "tune in" to the right authority, we have our understanding expanded.