Submitted Date 07/08/2019

In contrast to most of Proverbs, chapter 4 actually flows logically and moves from theme to theme in an orderly manner. Most of the other chapters are collections of parallelism, words of wisdom in two or three lines, not necessarily connected one to another.

In this chapter, the first thirteen verses extol the virtues of the pursuit after, acquisition of, and living by wisdom. In verse 14, the teaching moves to a focus on behavior, specifically avoidance of evil. From verse 20 forward the father instructs the son to remember his teachings, again reminding him to avoid evil-doing.

The lesson in verse 23 is a principle which was clearly embraced by Jesus in His teachings. There are four citations in the Gospels, dealing with two particular teachings, where Jesus reaffirms this thought. Perhaps the most succinct restatement of this principle is in Luke. Jesus says, "'A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.'" (‭‭Luke‬ ‭6:45‬ ‭NKJV)

What does that mean to us today? I teach high school and on occasion I have to redirect some of my students whose language or tone when speaking to or about others is inappropriate. Jesus taught us the mouth tends to be revelatory of the heart. One can hide what one is to a certain point but eventually the truth will out; also, it's hard work to hide one's true self.

What does my speech reveal about me? Living by faith is about daily crucifying the old man (evil deeds) and living the new life of Christ (deeds of righteousness) but that process of sanctification takes time. I have to let His Holy Spirit help clean out the old so I don't have to work so hard to keep that old man from popping up.

Live as a new man; He promises His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

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