Collect and Guard
What have we come to 'treasure' in life? There are lots of treasures when we stop to consider it, but we probably have some things that rise above the rest. For me, it is relationship - first with God and then with others. We place a 'premium' on what it is we come to treasure - devoting time and energy to those things. We are asked to live disciplined lives - exhibiting the ability to "listen" well and to "treasure" the right things in life. 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.
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)
Think of the "listening" process similar to "tuning" into a radio station. You have to sometimes turn the dial so precisely to get the best reception of the station. I have a radio that just won't 'tune' beyond the station it is stuck on right now. I know it is fixable, but it is kind of annoying because the tuning is just a little bit off, making the station a little less than clear. 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. We have to fix what is keeping us out of tune! We also have 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 directly related to how well we are able to reduce or eliminate the distractions in life. 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 so 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 is to simply listen to the "good sense" he has already given us - not expect the 'booming voice'. 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 isn't just to be found with our heart, but with our head and spirit working in union with our heart. Wisdom helps us to not always be driven by whatever emotion is the loudest or most active in our lives at that very moment. It is wisdom that gives us that rational response to those irrational situations. Wisdom saves us from wrong relationships, wrong money decisions, and even wrong choices in what we eat.
Scripture reminds us to follow the steps of good men - we have them recorded as our examples because God knows that we learn best (come to better understanding) when we set our eyes on an example we can follow. It is like using tracing paper to get the outline onto a project we are completing - so we know how to follow the pattern. The choices we have to make may not be exactly the same choices 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 - it comes in learning how to differentiate between right and wrong choices in life. When we focus on the right examples, it affects our choices. When we focus on the right authority within our lives, we have our understanding expanded. Just sayin!