There are times we "blame" God for the ignorant stuff we do. We venture into stuff without clearly thinking - just plunge right ahead and never consider the end before we begin. In the end, we look back, wondering where God let us down! The writer of Proverbs reminds us people ruin their own lives by their own foolishness (Proverbs 19:3). Ouch! As we examine our passage today, let us keep in mind God is seldom to "blame" for our mis-steps. In fact, when we come right down to it, the steps were miscalculated on our part.
8 Grow a wise heart—you'll do yourself a favor; keep a clear head—you'll find a good life. (Proverbs 19:8 The Message)
Grow a wise heart - look closely - there is no implication of a wise heart being given to us on a silver platter! Wisdom is something which comes over time - with consistent application of truth as it is revealed to us. It is like icing a cake. You begin with a full bowl of icing - perfectly prepared for the cake. Until you take the spatula and begin to "apply" it to the cake, the cake is unaffected by the icing in the bowl. Now, cake without icing is okay - but cake with a rich layer of icing wedged between the layers and slathered all over the surface is much more luscious!
The Word of God is "prepared" for us - just like the icing in the bowl. God took special time to pour out each and every word contained within scripture. He prepared it in advance of us needing to "apply" it to our lives. In the application, we experience the rich lusciousness of the Word. It satiates us with its richness!
The NIV translation presents it as follows: "The one who gets wisdom loves life..." Do you love life? If you are not pursuing the Word in such a manner so as to apply it actively to your life, you may not! Wisdom is "grown", not just "known".
Keep a clear head - look again - there is no implication of a clear head being the result of some mystical process. The very simple truth is we must "keep" our heads in "right" condition. Whenever we "keep" something, it implies we have brought it into right order to begin with! When you "keep up", you are saying you are maintaining possession of something placed within your control. These are "our" minds - they don't belong to anyone else. Therefore, the keeping of a clear head is really an active process on our part.
The NIV translation puts it this way: "The one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper." We have a tendency to "keep up" something we cherish. Look at a man with his polished and preciously restored vintage automobile. Hours of hard work, tender care, and skilled application on display for all to behold. A clear head is something like this automobile - it needs our hard work, tender care, and skillful application of truth in order to set it in right order and to keep it in this condition of order!
We are not left on our own to do the "ordering" of our minds. This is a good thing! We have been given the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to assist in the process - kind of like having the technical manual at our fingertips, along with a skilled instructor to guide us through.
Today, I want to challenge you to examine your application of knowledge - to move beyond the attainment of knowledge. Mere knowledge is nothing without application - in applying what we learn, we soon become wise beyond our age! It is in the application of truth and the "keeping up" with the applying of it until it produces the desired result that clarity becomes reality in our lives!