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Miranda Writes: How Not to Be a Fool, Part 2




by Omar Miranda



Last week we began to explore what the Bible has to say about being a fool—or more specifically, about not being a fool. We began by asking and answering four important questions: What is wisdom? What is the value of wisdom for your life? How can you get wisdom and apply it to your life directly? What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom?

This week we want to focus on answering the following questions: Is there anybody on earth who has already made life mistakes, learned from them, and written the lessons down somewhere? What is the book of Proverbs? What’s included in it, and what major things about life does it cover?

So let’s get right to it. You may have said, “Wow, I wish there was someone who could guide me through life and set me on the right path to live a healthy, happy, and successful life.” A lot of the teens I’ve seen with serious negative life issues have consistently refused to listen to other people who know more, have lived longer, have made bigger mistakes, and have learned from them. The Bible calls this type of people who refuse to listen fools.

Many teens tend to listen to and then do the things that people their own age tell them to—people who have little to no real-life experience; people who are in the process of making big, serious, bad life mistakes or are already experiencing the negative consequences of those mistakes; or people who don’t seem to learn from their mistakes! This is what I like to call the jailhouse lawyer phenomenon. Let me explain: There are lots of “experts” on the law in jail, and if you’re in there talking with them, they’ve got a bazillion ideas and theories about how to get out of jail—but they’re in jail! How about talking to people who have made bad decisions and have learned from them enough to keep them from going to jail, or people who have been in jail but have gotten out and not headed back? Those are the people you need to listen to.

Well, thank God that there was someone who was a bigger fool than you or me or any of your friends. His name was Solomon, and he was a king. I know, I know. Just because you’re a king doesn’t mean you won’t make stupid life decisions. In the book of Ecclesiastes he lists all the stupid stuff he did trying to find fulfillment in everything else but God. Then in the book of Proverbs, Solomon gives the “cheat sheet,” or short version, of the most important things he learned about living a godly life and having happiness, joy, impact, peace, purpose, and power.

King Solomon was known as the wisest man in the world. The Bible states that there has never been—nor will there ever be—anyone wiser than Solomon. Solomon composed 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs; however, only about 800 of his 3,000 proverbs are included in the book of Proverbs. He wrote the Song of Solomon, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes—three of the four “wisdom” books in the Bible. That fact alone should send up a red flag that we should be listening to him!

So what is a proverb? It’s a short, concise sentence that conveys moral truth. The word “proverb” comes from the Hebrew word that can mean “to rule or to govern,” and these sayings, reminders, and warnings provide profound advice for governing our lives. Proverbs is broken down into three different sections:

1. Wisdom for young people (1:1–9:18)
2. Wisdom for all people (10:1–24:34)
3. Wisdom for leaders (25:1–31:31)

I find it interesting that Solomon wrote proverbs to teenagers first. All the proverbs are important, but of crucial importance are the first ones that deal with the issues that historically have messed up teens’ lives: not listening to parents, hanging out with the wrong crowd, and sex! Teens, get a clue: read and pore over these proverbs. Let them soak into your life, your beliefs, and your behavior, because if you do, you really will make it out of your teen years able to live a better, happier, and longer life!

So what is the purpose of Proverbs? Well, Solomon, being the brainiac that he was, actually included an introduction to explain what he was going to talk about and why it was important. It’s found in Proverbs 1:1-7: “These are the proverbs of King Solomon of Israel, the son of David. Proverbs will teach you wisdom and self-control and how to understand sayings with deep meanings. You will learn what is right and honest and fair. From these, an ordinary person can learn to be smart, and young people can gain knowledge and good sense. If you are already wise, you will become even wiser. And if you are smart, you will learn to understand proverbs and sayings, as well as words of wisdom and all kinds of riddles. Respect and obey the Lord! This is the beginning of knowledge. Only a fool rejects wisdom and good advice” (CEV).*

Now that we know the purpose of the book of Proverbs, let’s discover the key themes of chapters 1 to 9. Following the introduction, there is a series of warnings, bits of advice, or words of encouragement, each beginning with “my son.” These messages introduce the concept of wisdom in the format of a father’s efforts to persuade his son to pursue the path of wisdom in order to achieve godly success in life.

1. Wisdom rejects the invitation of crime and foolishness.
2. Wisdom rewards seekers of wisdom on every level.
3. Wisdom provides freedom and safety (chapters 1 to 4).
4. Wisdom protects one from illegitimate sensuality and its consequences.
5. Wisdom protects one from foolish practices and laziness.
6. Wisdom protects one from adultery and the lure of the whore/prostitute (chapters 5 to 7).
7. Wisdom is to be preferred to silliness or foolishness because of its divine origin and rich benefits (chapters 8 and 9).

The book of Proverbs speaks strongly and specifically about fools. There are four kinds of fools, ranging from those who are naive and uncommitted to scoffers who arrogantly despise the way of God. Basically, a scoffer is someone who makes fun of somebody else. The fool is not someone who is mentally deficient, stupid, or mentally retarded; instead, the Bible’s definition of a fool is someone who consistently chooses as a pattern of their character to remain ignorant and/or doesn’t receive or accept wise advice about their life and lives as though there is no God.

Basically, a fool is someone who thinks they know more than everybody else, and they don’t listen to anybody’s advice. A fool is somebody who thinks they won’t get into trouble or bad things won’t happen to them. A fool thinks that all those consequences will happen to somebody else, and even when they get into trouble or suffer consequences, they refuse to listen and learn from their mistakes. Typically a fool likes to play the blame game, shift responsibility, make excuses, or just plain lie about stuff!

I’ve got a question for you: Are you a fool? Do you know somebody in your family who’s a fool? Are you friends with a fool? If you’re a fool, stop it. Speaking from much life experience, I can tell you: it won’t get you anywhere. If you know somebody who’s a fool, warn them lovingly and strongly that bad and difficult things are coming down the road for them—and they won’t be able to avoid them.

Now that we’ve learned that somebody has lived life before us, made stupid mistakes before us, and shown us the way in a clear and direct way, we’ll learn next week about the true benefits of wisdom and how those benefits directly affect our lives.

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

*Scripture quotations marked CEV are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.





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