Joyce Meyer - Wisdom for Everyday Living
Well, thank you for joining us on, "Enjoying Everyday Life". I'm so glad to have you with me today. You know, I've written a book now, on Proverbs. And it was so interesting to write on Proverbs. It was a little bit challenging because there are so many subjects covered in the 31 chapters of Proverbs. But I wanna give you a little bit of a taste of how valuable wisdom is, and I believe it's really gonna help you.
First of all, what is wisdom? Well, wisdom is the proper use of knowledge. It doesn't do any good to know something if you don't apply it properly. And I think, especially, in the day and hour that we live in, there's so much knowledge or so-called knowledge everywhere. And in Daniel, the Bible says that, "In the last days people will be running to and fro searching for knowledge". And I think that, can be said that's true today. I mean, if you think about it, even knowledge of the Bible, I mean, there's so much available. I mean, you can be watching teachings on ten different subjects all within just a few days.
And so, the concern is, is that we have so much knowledge, but wisdom is the proper application of knowledge. And so, if we have knowledge, but we're not applying it to our lives, then it does us no good. And I almost feel like we need to park here for just a minute because honestly, just because you hear something in church, or you underline it in your Bible, or you've got a book about it at home that you've read that doesn't necessarily mean that you're applying it to your life. And we all need to make sure that we are not just hearers of the word, but doers. To know what is right to do and not to do it, it's sin. We don't just commit sins but we can also sin by omitting things in our life that we should be doing. It's useless to know something if we don't apply it.
And I think many people today are full of head knowledge, but it hasn't become a revelation to them yet. And so, we wanna talk today, about the importance of going deeper, going deeper. Paul said, "My determined purpose is that I may know him and the power of his resurrection". He wasn't talking about just knowing about Jesus. I mean, he wanted to really know him.
And you'll find today, as I share some of the prayers of the apostle Paul with you, that he talked a lot about them having deeper understanding, and knowledge and understanding. That so often, we pray for surfacy things, we pray for things, we wanna more money, we want a promotion on our job. We want the people in our family to change. We want all this stuff, a bigger house, or a new car, or whatever. But I think that we're wanting, very often, the wrong things. That's why in the prayers that Paul prayed, you cannot find a place where he prayed for the people's problems to go away. What he did pray was that they would have the ability to go through whatever they needed to go through and remain stable, to keep a good temper, and not let the circumstance change them.
Well, wow, I've never had anybody come to me for prayer and say, "Would you pray for me, Joyce, that I can go through this with a good attitude"? Everybody wants to get rid of everything that hurts them. Also, Paul, never prayed for a thing for them, not like a material thing. But he always prayed for these deeper things that are so much more valuable. You see, Proverbs promises us that if we walk in wisdom, that everything else that we need, will come along with it. I mean, the promises in Proverbs of what God will do for us if we operate in wisdom are astounding. I mean, it's riches, and honor, and promotion, and long life, and good health, and all the things that we really want if we just apply wisdom. Anybody who would take the book of Proverbs, study it, and apply every principal in it would have a life that was so amazing, I mean, it would be like, jaw-dropping amazing.
So, before I go any further, I want you to consider: are you applying to your life the things that you say you know? Or do you often hear yourself say, "I know I shouldn't do this, but", or "I know I should do this, but". Well, that means you know what to do, but you're not doing it. Wisdom is a depth of insight that goes beyond the surface of a thing. Wisdom takes us beyond the way things look to the way they really are. Wisdom goes beyond how we feel to do what we know is right. You see, we have a flesh. And the flesh consists of our body and our soul. And what God wants, he comes to live in our spirit, and he wants to be able to have control of the soul. If the spirit and the soul are in control then Satan has already won.
Well, soul is mind, will, and emotions. And so, often people live based on what they want, they think, and they feel. "I want, I think, I feel. I want, I think, I feel". But Proverbs is telling us that we need to go way beyond all that. We need to live beyond how we feel. I mean, our feelings are real. And you know, we don't have to say we don't have them, we can admit that we have them. But we can't let them control our decisions. Our mind, how often do we say, "Well, I think. I think. I think. I think". But what does God's word say? And even what we want, "Well, I want this. I want that".
You know, God didn't call us to have everything that we want in life. He's called us to do his will, and if we do, then we'll end up with everything that we want that is something that we really should have. I wanna know today, if you want a deeper relationship with God, or if you wanna just keep stuffing your head full of knowledge and not applying it to your life? And I know many of you are applying it, but I'll tell you, writing Proverbs was good for me. Studying to teach this today, was good for me. Because these are things that we need to be reminded of and reminded of very, very often.
Wisdom involves discernment and it's one of my favorite things to ponder and think about. And we're gonna talk a little bit more about it later. But discernment is something that doesn't come out of your head, it comes out of your spirit. And so, if we can learn how to discern what's right and wrong, and live by that, it's gonna make our lives so, so, so much better. But you see, to go deeper takes more time. And the problem is we're in a hurry and we're impatient. And so, if we feel like we want it, we just wanna get it. And if we're gonna walk in wisdom, we're gonna have to take more time to really discern and properly understand exactly what it is that we're doing.
Wisdom always thinks about later on. Matter of fact, there's a lot of different definitions of wisdom that are all great. But I have my own little definition that I like: wisdom always does now, what it will be happy with later on. You see, a foolish person never thinks about later on. They just want what feels good, right now. But later on, always comes. Please, understand that. Later on, always comes. And the Bible says, "We reap according to what we sow". And so, if you're sowing bad seeds or seeds of disobedience, it may appear for a period of time like you're getting by with it, but eventually, we will reap on those seeds that we've known. If we're obedient we'll reap those seeds, if we're disobedient, we will reap on those seeds.
Hebrews 12 says, "No discipline for the present seems joyous, but grievous, nevertheless, later on it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it". You know, let's just say somebody who are physically out of shape, and they need to exercise, and they need to lose weight. Well, nobody likes being hungry. And if I've overeaten for a long period of time and I wanna lose weight then I have to cut back on my eating, and I will be hungry for a period of time and I won't like it, and it won't be comfortable, but when I'm 20 pounds lighter, I'm gonna love it. Later on always comes.
Proverbs 1:7 says, "The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and the choice part of knowledge its starting point and its essence: but fools despise skillful and godly wisdom, instruction, and discipline". Anytime you run into somebody that knows everything, you can't tell 'em anything, and anything you even suggest that they might be wrong about something, they get all upset about it, then you have just run into a foolish person. Because actually, a wise person, the Bible says loves correction.
Now, I'll have to admit that I've at least learned how to not get upset when I get corrected, but I'm still working on loving it. I don't think any of us love to have somebody tell us that we're wrong. But it is important that we can receive correction from those who give us wise correction. The fear of the Lord. Well, what is that? That's not something that you hear talked about very often. Matter of fact, I think we need to hear it talked about a lot more. What is the fear of the Lord? It's not being afraid of God. God loves us. He's good. He's not gonna hurt us. But it means to have a reverence and a respect for God, that means you know how powerful he is. You know that when he says something, he means it.
And so, you're not going to go against things that he says, just kind of hoping that you'll get by with it. When Dave and I were raising our children and they were young, because of the way I was raised in a dysfunctional, abusive home, and I got a lot of unfair punishment, I had a difficult time, sometimes being as strict with my kids as I should have been. And so, let's say they did something they shouldn't have done, well, I might be the one that would say, "You're not going out of this house for 30 days"! Well, after I calmed down, I knew that, that was gonna be punishment for me, not them.
And so, it was easy for them to talk me into changing my mind. But my husband, Dave, was not like that. He thought about whatever kind of punishment he was gonna lay down, and if he said it, he meant it. And the kids knew that if he said it, it was gonna happen. And so, they had a more reverential fear of Dave than they did of me. And we need to have that reverential fear of God. It's something that's really missing for people. The world is full of people today, that call themselves Christians that think that they can do things and they'll be the one that will get by with it.
"Well, God understands," or you know, "It's the 21st century". Well, you know what? God doesn't change. He's the same yesterday, today, and forever. And what his word meant a 100 years ago, it still means today. The Bible says that we need understanding. I actually, talk about seven foundational principles in Proverbs, and they are: wisdom, and understanding, and knowledge, the reverential fear of God, and discretion, and discernment, and I don't know if I forgot any, but we'll get around to all of them.
And so, those are the things that we learn, and they're all deeper things, they're not surfacy things. Understanding means mind or intelligence, reflective thought, knowledge, or to perceive with the mind. Well, you know, you might like, in school when kids are being taught reading, they're not only taught how to read but they're given tests on their comprehension. In other words, a person might read a book real fast, but they may not really understand what they read. And I think, in time, the more you ponder something, the more you understand it.
Mark 4, says, "The measure of thought and study that you give to the truth that you hear is the measure of virtue and knowledge that will come back to you, again". So, let me ask a question. Do you ever take notes when you're in church, or maybe, buy a recorded copy of the message, and actually then, take that message and maybe spend the next week, in your private Bible study, going over it and over it, looking up the scriptures, pondering, and praying over what it says. See, I think, this is what I mean when I say we have all this knowledge, but how much wisdom do we really have.
How many people go to church, and maybe, you know, let's just say you went to church and I couldn't make it that week and I said to you, "Well, how was church today"? "Oh, it was great. The message was great". "Well, what'd the pastor preaching on"? And sometimes, an hour after you get out of church, you can't even remember what the sermon was about. Well, that means you were paying attention on a surface level and not on a level where it got really down deep on the inside of you. I actually, think we have too much available to us today, and we just go from subject to subject, to subject, to subject and never stick with anything long enough for it to really become a revelation in our life.
I desperately needed to have a revelation on God's unconditional love for me. And I can tell you, I didn't get it from hearing one scripture. I had to study the love of God, for a year, before it really became a reality to me. And now, I know, that I know, that I know, that I know, that God loves me. And when I'm having a problem in my life, I never say, "Well, God don't you love me"? It goes along with what the Bible says in Proverbs 8 about being more than conquerors... Not Proverbs 8, I'm sorry, Romans 8 and that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is found in Christ Jesus. And so, we need to know these things in a deeper way. I know, that I know, that God is with me all the time. Whether I can feel his presence, or I can't feel his presence, or it seems like he's there, or he's not, I know, that I know, that I know, that he is. But I've studied that for a long period of time.
Now, the prayers of Paul, I'm not going to read them all word-for-word, but I would suggest that you study these because they are extremely interesting. They're in Ephesians chapter 1, Ephesians chapter 3, Philippians chapter 1, Colossians 1, and 2 Thessalonians 1. But let's just take Ephesians 1, he says, "For I always pray to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of glory", now, listen, "That he might grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation insight into mysteries and secrets in the deep and intimate knowledge of him". You know, somebody might say, "Oh, I know Joyce Meyer". Well, you don't know me like Dave does. And Dave doesn't know me like God does, I don't even know me like God does.
So, there are levels of knowing, levels of understanding, and we need to always desire to keep going deeper and deeper, like Paul. "My determined purpose is to know him and the power of his resurrection that lifts me out from among the dead even while I'm in the body". I love these prayers of Paul. He said, "I pray that your eyes would be flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which he has called you, and so that you can know and understand what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of his power in and for us"...
If we really understood how powerful God is, and that his power is in us, and available to us, we wouldn't have nearly as many fears in our lives as we do have. And then, in Ephesians 3, he talks a lot about having this same kind of depth of understanding about the love of God. He says, I pray that you would "Be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love". And remember, when you're gonna get deeper into something, it takes time. It's not something that you can just get being impatient, it takes sticking with something and taking time with it. I pray that you would really come to know, through experience, the love of God, the height, the depth, the length, and the breadth of it.
And I could go on and on, all these prayers of Paul, talk about things like that. He said, "I pray your love would abound more and more, and extend to its fullest development in knowledge". Everybody at home or wherever you're at right now, say, "Deeper". See, God wants us to go deeper. Okay. There's a good story in Luke chapter 5, the first 7 verses: "Now it occurred while the people pressed upon Jesus to hear the message of God, that he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret (the Sea of Galilee). And he saw two boats drawn up by the lake, but the fishermen had gone down from them and were washing their nets". They'd been fishing, they were finished, and they were cleaning everything up. "And getting into the boats, the one that belonged to Simon (Peter), Jesus asked them to row out a little bit from the shore. He sat down and continued to teach them. And when he stopped speaking, he said to them, 'put out into the deep water, and lower your nets for a haul'".
Well, you see, they had been fishing all night and caught nothing. You know, I used to feel like that. I used to feel like I was putting all this time into all the Christian principles, and yet, things weren't really working in my life. Well, that's because I was living on the surface. I was more concerned about an increase in finances, and getting a new coat, and having a bigger house, and you know, that was what I tried to use my faith for. And I was using it for all the wrong things. The Bible says in Matthew 6, "If you seek", and that's another word that it's like, to go after with all your heart, "If you seek God and his righteousness, all of these other things will be added unto you".
So, if we seek the right things, we will get all the other stuff with it. So, he said to them, "'put out into the deep water, and lower your nets for a haul'. Simon said, 'well, master, we toiled all night and we caught nothing. We're exhausted'". I love this, "'but on the ground of your word, we will lower the nets'". You see, that's what I'm talking about, today. No matter how I feel, if God says in his word to do this or not to do that then I need to live by his word, not by how I feel. And I love that Peter said, "Look, we don't wanna do that. We don't even think it's gonna work. We're tired, we're exhausted, but if that's what you say to do, then that's what we will do".
Isn't that amazing? And the Bible says that "They caught so many fish: that their nets were breaking, and they had to call their fishing partners to come and take hold with them. And all the boats were filled up until they began to sink". You see, I think, if we really seek God in depth and we really wanna know the deeper things of God, I believe that not only will we have an overflow in our life but we will be able to minister to other people and help them in an amazing way. Knowledge, Proverbs talks about knowledge. Proverbs talks about prudence.
You know, what prudence is. It's good management. It's a wonderful word. It means to have understanding and practical wisdom. Prudence in the management of affairs. Prudence in wise management of all of your resources. A prudent person knows how to manage his money. A prudent businessman knows how to manage people. Anybody that has people working for them, if they're prudent, they know that you need to encourage people. You can't just do nothing but correct them when they do something wrong, and never compliment them when they do something right. A prudent housewife knows how to manage her time in order to get everything done. She knows how to manage her children. She knows how to manage the household budget. A prudent person understands their priorities.
And the word discernment, that I told you we would talk about just a little bit more. I love that. It means like, you may think something is a great idea, but there's just a little something down here, that just doesn't feel right. Well, that's discernment and your head might not even understand what's wrong. But if you get that check in your spirit about something you're getting ready to do, then that's God giving you discernment. Your head may not understand, but it's discernment that you need to hold off on that and wait.
Then, there's discretion. And I love discretion. Because you know what? A discreet person can keep a secret. So many people today, everything they hear, they go blab it, and tell it to everybody else. I have a couple of friends, not too many, but a few, because there's not too many people like this, that if I tell them something, I don't even have to tell them, "Now, don't go tell anybody," because they have discretion. They're discreet. And they're wise enough to know that they shouldn't tell my business.
Welcome to, "Enjoying Everyday Life". I'm so glad that you've joined me today, and I thank you for taking some of your time out of what I'm sure is a busy life to spend this time with us. I've written a book on Proverbs. We're calling it, "In search of wisdom," and it was a very interesting project for me. I don't think I had any idea how many different subjects were in Proverbs until I wrote this book. I wrote a chapter on each of the 31 chapters of Proverbs, and I think that Proverbs literally, covers every area of life. If we will study it, and please, notice I said, "Study," not just read, if we will study it and really draw the depth out of it. I think any person who applied the principles and Proverbs to their life, would have such an amazing, amazing life.
And today, I wanna talk to you about some of the specific themes in Proverbs. There's way too many to talk about in one TV show, but for example, Proverbs chapter 3, verses 1-4, it says, "My son, forget not my law or teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments: for length of days and years of a life worth living". I love that. Not just a life, but a life worth living. "And tranquility inward and outward and continuing through old age all the way up till death, these they shall add to you". That's amazing. "Let not mercy and kindness which shuts out hatred and selfishness and truth which shuts out all deliberate hypocrisy or falsehood forsake you".
So, he's telling us here, if we will operate in the right things, the wrong things will not have any room to get into our life. And I think many times we go about it the wrong way. We try not to do the wrong thing and we should focus more on doing the right thing, and then, there will be no room for the wrong thing to get in. So, he said, "Be merciful, be kind, and it will keep you from being selfish. Walk in truth and you won't have to worry about hypocrisy. Don't let them forsake you: bind them about your neck, write them on the tablets of your heart. So shall", here's the promise, "So shall you find favor, good understanding, and high esteem in the sight of God and man".
I love that. Let's talk about mercy. The Bible says that mercy triumphs over judgement. And you know what? There's so much judgment and criticism in the world today. It's just, it's mind-boggling how many people have an opinion, and of course, with the advent of Facebook and the internet, everybody can voice their opinion about everybody. And what about mercy? You know, when you make a mistake, do you want mercy or do you want judgement? Well, if we give mercy, then we will reap mercy. And mercy is one of the principles and Proverbs that if you wanna have a really great life, we have to learn how to be merciful to people.
Now, you can't say, "Well, they don't deserve it". Of course, they don't deserve it. Nobody can deserve mercy. If you deserve mercy, then it's not mercy. Because mercy is giving kindness to someone who doesn't deserve it. It's one of the premier qualities of God's character. God is merciful. Mercy is necessary if we're going to walk in forgiveness. You can't really forgive anybody if you don't first show them mercy. I love that the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13 that love always believes the best of every person, and we have so many opportunities where we can judge somebody or we can decide to believe the best, and be merciful to them.
Matter of fact, I would imagine many of you watching, right now, this is right in your wheelhouse because you're upset with somebody, maybe they did you wrong. I'm not saying that you give mercy because somebody is not wrong, you give mercy when people are wrong. They made a mistake. But you know, we don't always know what's going on in other people's lives. And so, we need to be like God, and be merciful to people.
Now, yes, there's a time for correction, but there's also, a time for mercy. And I don't think we have a problem with the correction part. I think it's the mercy part that we have an issue with. Unforgiveness is a terrible problem in the world today, and it's a terrible problem in our lives. It steals our peace, it steals our joy. It prevents answered prayer. It hinders God's presence in our life. And it is such a burden to carry around all the time, to always be mad at somebody. Give them the gift of forgiveness, the same as God gives to you, and you will be a lot happier. Jesus said, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice. Go and learn what this means".
Well, many years ago, it was like I kinda got stuck on that scripture. I knew there was something that God was wanting me to see out of it, but I was having a hard time getting it. So, I kept going back to it, and reading it, and reading it, and reading it and finally I got it. Let me read Matthew 12:7 to you, "If you had only known what these words mean, 'i desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would have not condemned the innocent". Well, God wants to give us mercy, he doesn't want our sacrifice. And he wants us to give other people mercy and not require them to sacrifice. When somebody does you wrong are you able to give them mercy and not even make them feel guilty about what they did? God wants us to be merciful to other people.
Now, I knew God wanted me to see somethin' but I didn't know what it was, because to be honest, I had a very difficult time being merciful. Where are you at in this? Do you have a hard time being merciful? Are you more legalistic and boy, you expect people to follow the rules, and if they don't, they're in trouble? Well, that's like living under the Old Testament, legalistic, system where every mistake you made, you got punished for it. In the New Testament, we live under grace which means, God gives us undeserved favor, and he gives us mercy, even when we don't deserve it.
Now, I don't mean that God never deals with us about our sins because he does. But there are many times when he just shows us mercy because God understands the why behind the what. You might see just what I do, but God understood that I came from a broken past, that I'd been abused, that I had never lived around anything but dysfunction, so he showed me mercy in a lot of situations where other people couldn't wait to judge me. The apostle Paul had been chasing down Christians and having them put in jail. He had a murderous attitude toward them. He rejoiced at the stoning of Stephen. And yet, on the Damascus road without any, Paul didn't ask for it, God just showed him mercy, and he visited him in such a way that Paul knew that it was God, and he received salvation, went on to become one of the greatest apostles, and wrote 2/3 of the New Testament. And Paul said, "God gave me mercy. Because even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief".
So, Paul actually, was a very religious man, a pharisee, highly educated, and he thought he was doing the right thing because he didn't yet believe in the Messiah. And so, God gave him mercy because he knew Paul's heart was right, even though his actions were wrong, imagine that. Somebody could be hurting you, and their heart could be right, even though their actions are hurting you. Sometimes, somebody may be having trouble in their own life, and so, they get grouchy with you, but they don't even really realize they're doing it. And so, we just need to be more Godlike and show people more mercy.
Now, what God was trying to teach me out of this was that I wasn't receiving mercy from him. Anytime, I would do something wrong, I felt like I had to pay for it. Yes, I was a new covenant Christian went to church all the time. But a lot of this stuff was from my background because with my dad if you made him mad, you paid for it. In some way, shape, or form, he would shut you out, or take away your privileges, or rant and rave, scream and yell, or slap you, or whatever, but you never got mercy. Well, I didn't know how to give people mercy. And what God had to teach me was I didn't know how to receive mercy from him, so I couldn't give away what I didn't have.
You know, if you're too hard on yourself - now, listen to me, somebody needs to hear this - if you're too hard on yourself, you are going to be too hard on other people, also. And God wants you to receive mercy from him, and give mercy to other people. Mercy looks at other people's needs and problems, and it prevents us from being totally selfish and self-centered. Think, let's think deeper. It would do all of us good to take time, everyday, just even a little bit of time everyday, and ponder what it would be like to be in some of these conditions. What would it be like for you, if you were in a nursing home and 10 years had gone by and nobody ever came to visit you? Do you know how many people there are, elderly people in nursing homes, that have nobody to ever come and visit them?
So, if you're a person who says, "I'm lonely," why don't you try volunteering at a nursing home just to go from room to room, and just cheer people up? You know, the more we give out to other people, the more blessings come back to our life. What would it be like to live in an undeveloped nation and have to watch your children starve? If you really think about that you'll wanna give to missions. What would it be like to be handicapped? What is it really like for somebody in a wheelchair, who has to have somebody put them in the wheelchair, wheel them to the bathroom, get them out of the wheelchair, and onto the toilet, back in the wheelchair, back to wherever they're going?
You know, that gives me reason to thank God that I can get out of bed every morning and just walk to the bathroom and walk back. We have so many blessings in our life that we take for granted because we don't really think deep enough about things that we should. What would it be like to never have enough money to meet your needs? What would it be like to be in physical pain all the time? What would it be like to feel rejected, odd, unloved, or unusual? It would definitely move us to show more mercy to these people if we really thought about what their plight is like. God wants us to be merciful.
Now, another thing that Proverbs says, and as I said, there's more things Proverbs says than I have time to talk about, but this is another one of my favorite ones. Proverbs 3:5-8, "Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and don't rely on your own insight or understanding". In other words, don't waste your time trying to figure out things that only God knows the answer to, and he's not ready to tell you yet. "In all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes: reverently fear and worship the Lord and turn entirely away from evil". In other words, if I could put this plainly, don't even think that you're smart enough to run your own life without help from God. "It'll be health to your nerves and sinews, and marrow and moistening to your bones". In other words, the less we try to reason things out, the healthier we're going to be.
The mind of the flesh is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit. So, we can sit around and we can reason, and reason, and think, and think, and finally come up with something, but that doesn't mean that what we came up with is correct. Romans 8:6, in the Amplified Bible says, "Now the mind of the flesh which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit is death". That means it's not gonna make you happy, it's gonna make you miserable. "But the mind of the spirit is life and peace both now and forever". Are you living out of your mind without searching for the wisdom and the agreement of the Holy Spirit? Paul prayed for wisdom to rise up and enlighten their minds, that they would have true depth of understanding.
You know, Adam and Eve were spirit-led when they were first put in the garden. They weren't led by their body, by their mind, by their own will, or by their emotions, they were spirit led. But when they chose sin, everything was turned upside-down, and then, all the natural elements, all their five senses took over, and God's will was pushed to the background. Our body is supposed to just be a vehicle for our spirit to work through, here in the earth. You can't be in the earth without a body, and it's a vehicle for our spirit man to work through, but if the spirit man doesn't have control of the soul, then he can't get through our mind, our will, and our emotions, actually, for his glory to be seen in the earth. The fall of man, changed God's original intention for us, but we can go back to it.
You know, there's a wonderful scripture in Ecclesiastes and I love this. Let me ask you a question. What kind of condition is your life in? Do you have joy? Do you have peace? Do you feel like you're fulfilling a purpose in your life? Or are you discontent and unhappy most of the time? Unhappy with your job, unhappy with your family, unhappy with where you live? How much do you give thanks to God compared to how much you complain? These are questions that I have to ask myself on a regular basis. I think it's good to examine yourself not unto condemnation, but to just look at, where am I at compared to the Word of God? And if there's things in your life that you don't like, they can be fixed pretty quick by simply obeying God.
And Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. And he was a man who tried everything to be happy. I mean, he said, "I did it all, I built myself houses, and pools, and I had wives". Anything he wanted, he had it, and none of it really made him happy. And in the 12th chapter, the very last verse in Ecclesiastes, I love this, from the Amplified Bible. He says, "All has been heard: the end of the matter is this: fear God revere and worship him, knowing that he is and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man the full, and original purpose of his creation". We were created to be obedient to God. "The object of God's providence, the root of all character".
See, our character, our Godlike character is developed, as we do what God wants us to do, not just what we wanna do, or what we think, or feel. "It's the foundation of all happiness, to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun and the whole duty of man". So, wow, he's saying anything that's out of order in your life that needs to be fixed, obey God and it will come around to being what it's supposed to be. We don't want to live in reasoning. All it's gonna do is cause us to be unhappy. Reasoning blocks discernment. That's one of the foundational principles of Proverbs.
We need to be more discerning and live more by what we know inside, what we know in our spirit, rather than what we think. If you just think about, I was thinking yesterday about believing. You know, if you get just a little bit quiet, turn your brain off for a minute, you can find out what you believe. I may not feel that God is with me. And if I go with that feeling then the devil will take advantage of that and I'll just have a miserable day, and I could actually get into a real problem if I keep letting that go on. And I think that, "God's not with me," so then, "I begin to wonder has he left me? Have I done something wrong"? You know, "Is God mad at me about something"?
But if I, on a particular day, just feel like, "God's nowhere in the neighborhood," all I have to do is just shut my head off, for just a minute, and say, "Okay, Joyce, now, what do you really believe"? Well, I believe that God is with me all the time, that he never leaves me nor forsakes me. That his thoughts toward me are more than the grains of sand on the sea. That's what I believe. I believe that God will protect me and take care of me. Sometimes, we wanna get frightened or worried about all the things going on in the world, and you know, "Will we catch the virus"? And this, and that, and something else.
But you know, we don't have to worry about those things, if we really believe that God loves us, and that he has a good plan for our life, and that no matter what happens, he's going to take care of us. But if we get into all this reasoning, you know, you can reason yourself right out of faith if you get into too much reasoning. You can control your mind. The Bible says, "Casting down imaginations and every high and lofty thing that exalts itself against the true knowledge of God".
So, stop trying to figure everything out. You know something that Proverbs talks about a lot? I mean, a lot. Really a lot, a lot, a lot is adultery. So, I'm just gonna step out here, bravely, for a few minutes and talk to you about adultery, or fornication would go along with that, which is sex before marriage. Which today, I don't know, there's the weirdest notion in the world that you should just live together, before you get married, to see if it's gonna work. Well, that may be the notion of the world, but it's not what God's word says. And you know, we can't just do whatever's popular in the world and ever really be in God's will.
And there's so much cheating in marriages. And if you read Proverbs chapter 5, and I think, it's Proverbs chapter 7. I mean, the Proverbs says a lot about adultery. And it talks about how it will steal your life and it will minister nothing but death to you. And so, what you need to do is, if you first feel a temptation, is run from that. Let's just say that you work in an office and you're an attractive young woman, but you've got a family, a husband, and a couple of kids, and I don't know, maybe things have not been going great between you and your husband, or maybe he doesn't pay enough attention to you, or whatever the case might be.
And so, you're already at a disadvantage because you're open to temptation and Satan knows that. Well, suppose some nice young man at the office begins to bring you coffee and a doughnut every morning. Well, to be honest, about the second or third morning, the alarm bells should go off and you should say, "This is not right". But then, maybe, one day he notices that you don't seem to be just right. So, he asks you, "What's wrong"? And you've had a hard time with your husband, so, you decide to tell him all about it.
Well, that's the second mistake. If you need to talk to somebody about your marriage problems, don't go to another single man or another married man, go to a female friend, or go to your spiritual leader. And so, then, maybe, he asked you to go to lunch, so you can talk about your problems, and before you know it, you're in big, big, big trouble. I remember, when a man, in church, that was a good friend of my husband's, and him and his wife were good friends of ours, he said to me one time, when nobody was around, "I wish my wife was as good looking as you are". And I mean, right away, I came back with a compliment about how good-looking his wife was, and I walked away from him, and I went straight and told my husband what he said.
And Dave and I agreed that we would pray about it, and if it ever happened again, Dave would talk to him. But you can't play around with that kind of stuff. You can't play around with fire and not get burnt. And you know, I'm not trying to heap condemnation on anybody. I'm trying to keep you out of trouble. I don't want you to get in trouble, I want you to get out of trouble.
And Proverbs is just full of all this wonderful advice. There's so many things that the Bible says about the mouth in Proverbs. I mean, I think it's one of the key subjects in Proverbs is things about the mouth, how to treat your neighbor, talks a lot about relationships. The Bible says, "Be good to your neighbors, treat them good. Love them. Help them, do things for them". You might say, "Well, they're not even nice neighbors". Well, maybe you can turn 'em into nice neighbors, if you treat 'em the way that God treats you. And you know, I need all this just as much as you do. I keep saying, "You, you, you," but it's for me, as well as, for you. Let me say that again, anybody who follows all the principles in the book of Proverbs will have an absolutely, jaw-dropping, amazingly, wonderful life.
Now, we're offering you this book, "In Search of Wisdom", that I've written. And I work so hard on these books, I really pray that you will buy them, and read them, and recommend them to other people. Everybody needs a good book on Proverbs. And we're offering it to you for your financial gift to the ministry of any amount. We promise to use your money to help people that are hurting, all over the globe. And I appreciate you being with us today. Please order your book, right away, and get started with your study on the book of Proverbs. Thank you, and God bless you.