Don’t you just love proverbs? There is one bit of truth after another – on many differing subjects. I know some people who read one proverb a day everyday – all year. They soak themselves in this wisdom as they carry on their business, interact with family and friends, and generally go about their days.
We have seen wisdom concerning honesty, hard work, truthfulness, our words, and many other subjects. Today, we see a ,lot about friends.
“Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” (27:6)
So why would that be? A sincere friend will be honest with you and me, because they desire the best for us. They won’t lie to us just to make us feel good, if they know the end will hurt us. If something needs to be said for our benefit, a sincere friend will say it.
An enemy is just the opposite. He will flatter you for his own advantage. That’s why many kisses from an enemy don’t mean anything. Be wary of those who try to trick you by their smooth tongue.
“Iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”(27:17)
Continuing along the same vein, one of the true values of friendship – along with enjoyment of each other – is that good friends actually help us to stay on our best game. They sharpen us – and we sharpen them. Sometimes that “sharpening” is done through honest advice. Yet most of the time it’s done through bouncing thoughts off of each other.
When my husband and I are sharing insights into scripture with each other, he calls it “striking and igniting.” We both get energized by the conversation. It starts a fire in each of us to take our walk to the next level. Not only to continue in what we know to do, but to reach deeper into the vision and the plan.
That’s what true friendship will do for each of us.
II Corinthians 10-11
From the earliest days, fallen human nature was obviously trying to dominate God’s plan. Paul had to address this.
He was a true apostle. This man of God didn’t try to exalt himself. Paul wasn’t a smooth-talking preacher who swayed people by his charismatic presence. He was a humble man, but one who truly walked in God’s greatest purpose for his life.
Unfortunately, some of the smooth-talkers came along and tried to persuade the people to follow them instead of Paul. And their teaching was in error.
That’s why Paul lists all of his credentials – apologizing as he does. He wants the people to know that he is the true teacher and not the others. God’s truth is not based on someone who is silver-tongued.
This is a principle we need to be aware of in our day. With the rise of media, there are many silver-tongued preachers who are not representing the truth. That’s not to say that it’s wrong to be charismatic. But you can’t follow someone just because they are charismatic.
Look at the Word and let that guide you. Are they preaching the truth, charismatic or not? That’s who you want to listen to. If they are preaching error, run as fast as you can away from their teaching.
It’s like Paul said, “I didn’t come to you with beautiful speech, but with demonstrations of God’s power.”
Some of the most powerful teaching and example I have ever encountered have come from humble, soft-spoken people. People who live the Word and not just talk about it.
That’s the way I want to be. I want my life to be a written epistle of God’s goodness.
And I want Him to get the credit.