Athlete, Here is Hope for Life
Proverbs 23:18 (NIV)
There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.
Any accomplished athlete or musician, driven businessman or entrepreneur, or any kind of competitive creature always looks to enhance performance. They hope for better and stay on the hunt until they get there.
If this is you, Proverbs 23 offers some great trail markers to keep you climbing. It answers questions like these:
- How far should I push myself? (Where should I draw some lines?)
- What should I value? (What should I never aim for and what should I always target?)
- What should I invest in? (What should I buy and never sell?)
Here are three guidelines to mark your trail:
CAN DOESN’T MEAN SHOULD. Proverbs 23 opens with an interesting scenario. It tells us to be careful about indulging ourselves. Specifically it says, when having dinner with a king, don’t be given to gluttony just because you can be. Put a knife to your throat instead if you’re given to indulgence. Life without boundaries, without restraint, is more dangerous (Proverbs 23:1-2).
Easy doesn’t make things right. Easy isn’t right. It’s just easy. Just because I can doesn’t mean I should.
MANAGE ENVY. MILK FEAR. Proverbs 23:17 says “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD.“
Manage your envy. Envy the life of Jesus and imitate Him instead. Walk in His steps. When it comes to sin and those who practice it, don’t cave into envy.
Don’t break the 10th Commandment.
The only life to crave is life led by a proper fear of the LORD. Milk that life. Be zealous for this fear! Let it drive you, not”‘FOMO” (fear of missing out) regarding sin.
BUY TRUTH. NEVER SELL IT. Proverbs 23:23 tells us to invest in truth. That means to pay whatever price to get it and keep it, to stockpile as much as we can, and to live by it no matter what.
We buy truth when we consistently, devotedly learn and heed God’s Word, the Bible. We prize it and make it absolutely authoritative in our lives. We buy truth when we follow Jesus well and listen to His Spirit.
Truth is something that is beyond relative and individual. It is absolute and eternal. It is buying something that is changeless and priceless.
We never sell truth either. Selling truth means discarding it in favor of something more we feel we need. We sell truth when we don’t believe God.
We sell truth when we lie to ourselves or others, exchanging it for something else to justify our actions or existence. Selling truth means buying a lie that the world tells us and paying for it dearly through life lived apart from the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6).
Proverbs 23:23 also goes on to say, “Buy the truth and do not sell it— wisdom, instruction and insight as well.” Always add those to your shopping cart as well. Never run out of these either.
When these three lines are deeply planted in us, God promises this: “There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” (Proverbs 23:18). What a pledge of encouragement!
Reflect: Is there any lack of restraint or given indulgence in your life that needs adjustment? Who or what do you envy? What kind of investments are you making? What are you buying or willing to sell?
A prayer to consider: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word. These three lines for life are so great! They offer such rich fare to all who keep dining here. Keep feeding me.
Help me to never live for just what’s easy, casting off restraint and indulging in life apart from You. I want Your love, grace and truth as my highest values. Don’t let me envy sinners but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD.
Coach me by Your Spirit to be really wise with all the investments I make in and through my life. Having Your truth, and never selling it, is at the top of my list. I would be like Jesus. Thank You for the good hope You promise as I pursue all these things! Amen.