Principles run deep
The integrity of the honest keeps them on track; the deviousness of crooks brings them to ruin. (Proverbs 11:3)
We can so easily get off course - caught up in all the things that vie for our attention each and every day. According to scripture, the integrity of an honest man or woman keeps them on track. Though we may veer off course, we are soon able to recognize, through the help of the Holy Spirit within, that we have drifted and then correct our course so that we are 'back on track'. The soundness of our character (words, actions, and thoughts) and the intensity of our desire for an undivided heart are what God has in mind when he "pulls" us back a little. It isn't always that we 'want' to get back on course - it is that we somehow know it is really for our well-being that we do 'attend to the course'.
A thick bankroll is no help when life falls apart, but a principled life can stand up to the worst. (Proverbs 11:4)
The habitual devotion to the right principles laid out in God's Word are going to help us evaluate if our course corrections have been 'good ones'. The Word of God lays out these principles and is quick to point out for us where we have character traits that do not align with those God desires of his kids. We can understand the forces and forcefulness of all kinds of evil when we remain true to the principles in the Word. God designed the written Word to give us a foundation for our safety, long life, and intelligent choice - to ignore what is contained within its pages is to say we know better than he does. I don't know about you, but it isn't a bankroll I am holding onto when life deals me troubles - it is the principles I have learned in God's Word.
Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances. (Proverbs 11:14)
A 'good person' is saved from trouble, while those who do not possess the character God desires actually run toward trouble with a passion. Goodness isn't just a matter of trying to do good at all times. It is worked into our lives as we repeatedly allow the Word of God to refine us - much like sandpaper removes the flaws and brings out the richness of the grain contained within the wood. Without good direction, we lose our way. We often trudge off in the direction of what we think will offer us fulfillment, only to find it to be a disappointment to us. When this happens, we become disillusioned about the circumstances we now find ourselves enduring. God provides wise counsel in our lives - we just need to have ears to hear and a heart to respond.
Counsel is defined as a plan of action or behavior. Counsel can be revealed to us in the Word, through the words of a friend, or in something like a sermon we hear. Counsel is also guarded thought or actions. It is the ability to "filter" what we see/hear and then to apply what we know to be true about God before we take the action. It is the continual 'planning' for our actions and the 'guard' we place over our thoughts that helps to keep us in the place where we operate in the realm of protection from making rash decisions. How valuable it is to not only have (possess) good counsel, but to live by it (act on it).
Integrity is developed in the midst of good counsel - first through the Word of God made real in our lives, and in the wisdom of those who have developed good character themselves. A principled life is a valued treasure. It is something we both relish and put on display. Others learn from what they see - so don't be ashamed of the principles God develops in your life. They may run a different course than the mainstream of society, but they are the examples God wants society to see. The principles he places deep in our heart act as wise counsel to those who most desperately need it. Just sayin!