Wisdom Seeker: Day 27

Proverbs 27

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

Proverbs 27:6

There’s quite a bit of wisdom in the reading today, as usual, but verse 6 is the one that stood out to me. Why? Well, I guess because I have been blessed with true friends – friends who are more concerned with my eternal good than my present comfort. Friends who will not hesitate to speak difficult truths if I need to hear them.

They are not harsh or hateful -far from it! But I greatly appreciate people who are unafraid to tell me I have broccoli in my teeth. How much more, then, when they are unafraid to point out where my feet have strayed from the Way?

Thank You, Lord, for friends who love You enough and love me enough to keep me accountable to You on this journey! They are a gift I am definitely grateful for.

How about you? Do you have friends who will say the hard things? And are you humble enough to receive it when they do?

I know that part is hard – I struggle with it myself. But I’ve asked the Lord to keep me humble and teachable, and He is always faithful to answer. It doesn’t mean I don’t feel the sting of a well-placed bit of conviction. It simply means I can see the need for it, repent, and move into that sweet spot of joy and gratitude.

He will do the same for you. All you have to do is ask … and cooperate. It’s worth it.

A Word of Thanks

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
(Hebrews 10:24-25)

I have always been something of a loner. Although I enjoy people and have an especial fondness for hearing about the lives of others, I can also become “peopled-out” and I will rarely turn away an opportunity to spend some time alone (which in my world, really means “alone with the Lord”).

However…

In my, eh… let’s just say greater than three and fewer than eight… decades, I have learned that there are two areas in which I do not perform my best when alone: working out and my Christian walk.

In some ways, they are remarkably similar. Just as I have a tendency to push a little harder if I have a workout partner, so I also have a tendency to actually “run with endurance” if I have someone (or several someones) keeping me accountable to both the Word of God and the ways of God.

And honestly, not all forms of exercise are either wise to perform alone (like hiking as a woman, or rock-climbing as almost anyone) or even possible to engage in alone (judo, for example). Although if you are a well-armed woman with a exemplary skills in judo, it could be argued that a solitary hike isn’t such a bad idea…

At any rate, there are also several of my Lord’s commands that are fairly tricky to accomplish when flying solo. Loving others as you love yourself, or meeting together, or encouraging each other, or treating others with greater honor… actually, there are a considerable number of them that just don’t work for a body in isolation. Although it might be argued that it’s easier to love theoretical people than it is to love actual people… but then it would only be theoretical love, and of course it must be admitted that virtual seeds do not grow actual fruit…

Either way, the older I get and the longer I run this race, I am finding that it is much, much easier to stay the course if I depend less on my own motivation and more on my God and those He has put around me.

I need others. I need people like some of you who write about keeping our eyes on Jesus or how good our God is; who will take long walks with me and listen as I think out loud and be unafraid to speak the truth in love or to remind me to step outside my own, small perspective. I need people to pray for and people willing to pray for me.

I need people like some of you who stir my heart with something God has shown you or who let me know that He stirred your heart by something I wrote or shared verbally. Though I may like time alone, it’s still very nice to know I am not truly alone.

So for all who read these words, thank you. Thank you for being you, for being raw and real, for speaking truth, and sometimes just for being there on the narrow path, anonymous but still a fellow sojourner.

Even if you disagree with me at times (or always), thank you. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m often wrong and may need to re-examine in the Light something I have written in the dark.

And constructive criticism, of course, is also devilishly difficult to manage alone.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
(Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)