Tending to Life or Death
We continue contrasting the wise and foolish, the righteous and the unrighteous, in Proverbs 10, beginning with verse 16. Understand that we’re not talking about self-righteousness. There is nothing good about self-righteousness. It is repulsive and stinks to high Heaven. The only true righteousness is Christ’s righteousness which God imputes, or puts to the account of sinners who trust His blood sacrifice on the cross as the atonement for their sins. I trust you know Christ as your righteousness. If you don’t, I urge you to go to my SALVATION series and get that settled today. Then follow along in your Bible in Proverbs 10 by reading the verse first. Then follow along with my comments on the verse.
Do you tend to life or death?
Basically verse 16 is teaching us that everything that a Christian who is clothed in Christ’s righteousness thinks, says or does tends to life. He has eternal life. Eternal life is a new quality of life, not just an extension of the old life you had before you were saved. It is the imputed life of Jesus which results in His life being imparted to you so that you begin to think and live as Jesus would live and love as Jesus would love. Not perfectly! But you begin the journey which will ultimately culminate in perfection in Heaven.
On the other hand, everything the natural, unconverted man or woman thinks, says or does tends to his physical and spiritual destruction and death. Romans 3:10-18
How do you handle reproof?
Verse 17 teaches that if you truly are saved and are on that journey with Christ, you will show it by the way you respond to reproof and instruction from the Bible. On the other hand, you are treading on dangerous ground if you refuse reproof and instruction from God’s Word.
Does what you say and how you say it bless or curse others?
Verses 18-21 concerns our tongue, that is our speech. I remind you of what I said in our previous study about verses 11-14 of this chapter which also concern our speech. The righteous bless with their words; whereas the wicked stir up strife and eventually destroy themselves and others.
Verses 18-21 warn us to beware of attempting to hide our hatred of others with lying and flattering lips or outright slander. Which is worse? It’s all despicable sin.
Verse 19 warns us to beware of talking too much. The more we say, the more chance we have of saying something worthless; or worse, plain evil. That’s a warning to me, a preacher. I’ve spoken a LOT of words in my 55 years of pastoring and I’ve written a LOT of words and posted them to this web site. My constant prayer is that whenever I speak or write, it always brings glory to God. You’ll have to be the judge as you read Hidden Treasures.
Basically, if our purpose is not to glorify Christ, then perhaps we had better not speak it or write it.
Verses 20-21 reminds us that the words of the wise feed many; whereas the words of fools is worthless and harmful. Fools die for lack of wisdom and if they are written or preached words, they can lead their listeners to Hell.
What do you covet?
I love verse 22. “The blessing of the Lord makes rich and He adds no sorrow with it.” On the other hand, those who covet material wealth are going to be led astray and lead others astray and be plagued with sorrow. That was Paul’s warning to young Pastor Timothy in I Timothy 6:10 and to all who read, that those whose chief purpose in life is to gain wealth, end up bringing much needless sorrow into their lives. Wealth in itself is not evil, but a life given to that one great purpose of accumulating wealth can bring sorrow.
Proverbs 10:23 warns us that fools enjoy doing mischief or sin. They also enjoy reading and enjoying sin on television and at the movies. It becomes their life. It’s on their minds continually day and night. They have a desire to live out what they’ve seen and heard.
Proverbs 10:24 warns us that what we expect, will probably happen; whether it is a wicked man’s fear of evil or a godly man’s righteous desires. Our thinking has much bearing on what happens. Psalm 37:4 reminds us to “Delight ourselves in the Lord and He shall give us the desires of our heart.” God has proven that to me repeatedly through my life. Christ has been the delight of my life since I trusted Him as a child and I have repeatedly enjoyed the desires of my heart throughout my life.
Are you a good or evil influence on others?
Proverbs 10:25 reminds us that the wicked soon pass away and are forgotten. The righteous in Christ have eternal life and their godly influence continues to bless many.
Are you lazy?
Proverbs 10:26 warns us that we cannot trust lazy people. They will always let you down. Therefore lazy people cannot be entrusted with any responsibility.
I Corinthians 4:2 reminds us that the most important qualification for any responsibility and privilege is faithfulness. If you can’t be faithful in keeping your room clean, you need not apply for anything more important.
Do you want God to use you? Be faithful in the little things and Luke19:17 tells us we will be faithful in the big opportunities that come our way.
What does your future generally hold for you?
Proverbs 10:27 reminds us and warns us that those who have a healthy fear of offending a holy God with our sins is probably going to live a long, healthy life. There are exceptions to that statement. We’ll leave the exceptions with God and not try to understand all His ways. But verse 27 continues, ” the years of the wicked shall be shortened.” Give this serious thought.
Proverbs 10:28-29 reminds us that the righteous can expect a life of gladness; whereas the wicked can expect a life of sorrow and destruction.
Proverbs 10:30 reminds me that as a joint-heir with Christ, this earth which is going to be renewed by Christ, is mine for eternity. On the other hand, the wicked are one day going to be removed from this earth to spend eternity in Hell. See my messages on HELL on this web site, to learn more about this eternal habitation of the wicked who reject Christ.
How important is your speech?
Verse 31-32 of Proverbs 10 close out this chapter with the matter of our speech. The Bible has much to say about our speech. Our speech says so much about us. It reveals our heart and what is most important to us. We either bless people or else we are simply empty, boring wind-bags.
May we constantly be aware of the little things we say and do and the values we hold and the interests that consume our attention and our faithfulness in the little things. They all affect our success and usefulness in this life and throughout eternity.
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