One reason I write this blog is to help you to think for yourself. Not as a way to exalt yourself, but, on the contrary, to humble yourself before the clear teaching of the Bible and apply that to where you are today. Trendy twists on eternal truths come and go. ( I am old enough to have lived through several of these and have not found them useful at all.) Don’t go there as a way to determine how you will live and how you will raise your children or love your grandchildren.
Trendy ideas about the Bible sometimes come from someone intent on making a name for themselves. Or an idea can become popular as a response to something going on politically or culturally. In contrast, “Proverbs” says,
Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar (Proverbs 30:5-6).
Look how simple this is: since the Bible is without error, don’t add to it. We are lying when we do that. God protects us from trend-makers who go beyond or omit portions of the truth or just emphasize a word or phrase in response to cultural changes.
How would you apply this proverb? My application is to live freely before God and enjoy my life and figure things out for myself without the constraints of the latest popular Christian leader or even the majority opinion of my Christian friends. My freedom is restrained by God’s clear teachings; I put myself under preaching from someone I have a relationship with face-to-face; I read from those who have been trusted over the centuries. For instance, today it is really “in” to be paperless and to have large families and to reject all gender related responsibilities. I pay no attention to any of it. “Be fruitful and multiply” doesn’t apply to a specific number of children or even to every woman. I like paper and books and I don’t mind their clutter. When I was married, I enjoyed honoring John. I liked his leadership and ability to bear burdens. I miss it now. Please don’t reject me because of any of these; we don’t always have to agree to get along with one another. We can be “warm-hearted” toward one another without walking lock-step.
My point here is that “Proverbs” is a very useful tool in establishing a way to live. Each proverb is simple and straight-forward. They are direct. They are filled with images that help us to remember them. Who could forget,
The eye that mocks a father
and scorns to obey a mother
will be picked out by the ravens of the valley
and eaten by the vultures (Proverbs 30:17).
I hope you will practice standing on your own feet this week and applying at least one Proverb without regard to trendy Christianity. I find it useful to write the Proverb down first. Then to write down (or, at least, think about) what the image or key words mean. I might look up a word in “Webster’s Dictionary” or the verse in some trusted source. Once the meaning is clear, then I try to apply it to my lifestyle or thoughts right now. Do I need to change an attitude? Control myself some way? I might take a week to do this, mulling things over in my mind.
Here is one I am thinking about this week:
The tongue of the wise use knowledge aright:
but the mouth of fools pours out foolishness (Proverbs 15:2).
My goal is not to pour more foolishness upon you or criticize your sincere efforts to live in a way pleasing to God. But, as an older woman, I warn you about taking trends with a grain of salt and standing on your own two feet.