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In one, out the other

Do you all get things right the first time you attempt them? Have you ever heard from someone there is a better way of doing something? What did you do with that advice? If you are like me, there are times you have embraced it, while there are other times you have 'let it go in one ear, then out the other'. Wisdom comes through a process of learning. Good judgment is something that must be developed. We'd like both to be "instant", but they only come in the process of time. They are a result of exposure to learning opportunities and time invested. The matter I choose to let out the other ear is not always the right matter!

Listen, friends, to some fatherly advice; sit up and take notice so you'll know how to live. I'm giving you good counsel; don't let it go in one ear and out the other. (Proverbs 4:1-2)

Ever see someone limping around after they have done some type of activity that they are not "used to doing"? It is like when I spend a day out in the garden or shop working, then feel it in every bone and muscle the next day. I try to bend over like it is no problem, but instead of "bending" I find myself creeping slowly back to an erect position, regretting each movement because of the pain. Why do I feel the pain? Simply because I don't use those muscles often enough - my back aches because I have spent more time doing what I don't usually do in the course of a day than my body is used to doing!

The same is true in the development of wisdom and good judgment - they are spiritual, emotional, and intellectual muscles that must be used over and over again to not get "flabby" and out of shape. We can lose what we don't use. Let us not forget we are to guard our heart above all else - because it affects every choice we make - we don't want 'flabby spiritual hearts' more than a flabby heart beating in our chest. Our emotions affect our choices - so we must be on top of our emotions. Our intellect gives us the basis for choice - we choose what we believe because we think it will make the most sense. Our spirit guides our choice - acting as a governor over choice when neither intellectual insight nor emotional pull can be trusted. If not maintained, these "muscles" of wisdom and good judgment will cause us to live a pretty "halting" walk.

There is no sense in living in the past and we all know there are more than ample opportunities that present themselves as distracting forces in our lives. The past is just that - it is not the present. Too many times, we attempt to revisit the past, finding nothing more than disappointment in the process. The past is simply not what we are to be focusing on - it is the present that has the power to affect our wisdom and good judgment the most. The past served a purpose - learn from it and then move on. Don't dwell on it; it will hold you back if you do. Maybe it is okay to let the 'past' be the thing that goes out the other ear!  We can be assured of this one fact: God knows our heart very well. When he speaks words of wisdom and works on developing good judgment within us, he is doing so with the knowledge of how our heart works (what it responds to, what moves it the most). His call to us is this: "Don't let his wisdom go in one ear, and out the other!" Act on it - live it - exist in it. Just sayin!

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