This is that time of the year when students are going back to school, headed off to college or entering the workplace. Students, I’m praying for you because your choices matter! Parents, I’m praying for you as you release your students to a whole new season of life.
I’m an old guy now, but remember my high school and college years being filled with a few good times and a number of regrets because I made a ton of unwise choices. Many of my poor choices were the result of wanting to be accepted. At that time in my life I had no idea about who God made me to be and how that could have a positive impact on me and all my relationships. Another reason for my unwise choices was because I chose to hang out with other unwise people.
I wish I’d known and applied this simple truth from one of the wisest men who ever lived; his name was Solomon. Wise friends make you wise, but you hurt yourself by going around with fools. Proverbs 13:20 CEV
None of us want to be characterized as a fool or foolish person. Here are a few things Solomon warned us against because they characterize foolish behavior.
Be very cautious of people who don’t take sin or the consequences of sin seriously. Proverbs 10:23 says this type person is a fool. Sin is choosing to live life my way without regard for what God desires. Been there, and sin had some devastating consequences in my life.
Foolish people may seek the advice of friends who think they’re giving sincere advice, but it’s often sincerely wrong. When you need wisdom, ask someone who’s been there and demonstrated wisdom in overcoming or avoiding mistakes in life. Proverbs 12:15 tells us fools think they know what’s best and refuse to listen to wise advice.
One of the best things you can do to avoid foolish choices is develop convictions. A conviction is a pre-determined answer that’s not based on emotion; rather it’s based on truth. Convictions can help sway your decisions the right way when your emotions are lying to you. Proverbs 14:16 says a fool is not cautious or careful. In other words, they don’t plan for difficult decisions or emotional pressure because they’ve not developed wise convictions.
Hopefully, you can talk to your parents about anything. If not, find a godly man or woman who has demonstrated wisdom and character and seek their advice. Most foolish people refuse to do this; Proverbs 15:5 says fools disobey parents and refuse correction. On of the wisest things I learned to do in my twenties was to begin listening to the advice and correction of mature followers of Jesus.
Learn from your mistakes quickly. I can’t count the number of times I didn’t do this because I allowed the voice of “foolish” friends to prevail and I wanted to be accepted (by the wrong people). I have many regrets because I didn’t learn from my mistakes fast enough. One “foolish” choice can impact you for a lifetime. Proverbs 26:11 is pretty graphic; it says “Dogs return to eat their vomit, just as fools repeat their foolishness.”
There are a number of verses in Proverbs about wisdom. Simply put, Proverbs 1:7 states: “How does a man become wise? The first step is to trust and reverence the Lord. Only fools refuse to be taught.” I was a young man before I understood this. I could have avoided a lot of pain and regret if I’d made the wise choice to trust the Lord and learn from people who were following Him much earlier in my life.
However, the most profound statement I believe anyone made about wisdom was when Jesus said: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24 I’ve never met a person who took the words of Jesus seriously, put them into practice and regretted it. I hope you’ll consider doing this whether in High School, College, or the Workplace. I also hope you’ll make this your practice in all your relationships!
I’m praying you have a year (and life) filled with wisdom.