Today we begin reading Solomon’s proverbs collected by Hezekiah, as well as the undated proverbs and psalms. The proverbs are full of advice for wise living, which includes being humble, honest, and a hard worker. The wisdom writers also say that a wise person controls his emotions and his tongue.
Solomon writes, “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.” So someone who does not control his passions, desires, pride, arrogance, and anger is someone exposed to the enemy, Satan. Then Solomon says, “Hell and Destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.” Just like hell is never full of lost souls, whom Satan loves to devour, the eyes of humans are always wanting more. The flesh is never satisfied. The works of the flesh include “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like” (Galatians 5:19-21). If left to ourselves we would act on every human impulse and never be content.
The Lord knows we are weak in the flesh. That is why He is sending His Son to live a life we can’t live and to die a death that we deserve – “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit… For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:3-8). Therefore, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
Once we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, the Lord sends the Holy Spirit to dwell within us as our teacher, comforter, guide, and the seal of our salvation. By His power we are able to overcome the flesh and live lives pleasing to the Lord. If we walk in the Spirit, our lives will exhibit “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:22-26).
However, our battle isn’t only with the flesh. We also have a real enemy out there, Satan, whose whole purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy. In order to protect ourselves from the evil forces, we must daily put on the armor of the Lord – ”Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:14-18).
We, as Christians, have to be alert at all times! So to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh and for the renewal of our minds, we must pray, immerse ourselves in the word, and surround ourselves with fellow Christ followers who will encourage and pray for us because the battle is real and it isn’t easy. However, we can trust that the Lord will act on behalf of those who trust Him.
We will read the last of the proverbs tomorrow, so keep reading. (Proverbs 25:1-29:27)