I wish sometimes that writer of the old, old parts of scripture could be alive today and tell us how their passages of scripture would be written today. Proverbs 4:20-27 is one of those passages. Since I don’t have their input, I like to rephrase it as I understand it to help me find ways to apply these truths to my life.
My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. – Proverbs 4:20
My child, study the word intently; absorb what it says and choose to fill your ears with the truth of the words.
Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. – Proverbs 4:21
Don’t let distracting media take your eyes off the beauty of God’s word; keep it fresh and bubbling up inside, ready to be called on at a moment’s notice.
For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. – Proverbs 4:22
The joy of being alive can be felt deeper and more intensely by those who understand the beauty that God has placed in His Word. It brings refreshment to the mind and relaxation to the body.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. – Proverbs 4:23
Protect your thoughts and be aware of your self-talk, because the flow of your life is determined by your internal dialogue and focus.
Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. – Proverbs 4:24
Don’t lie. Don’t gossip and don’t trick or manipulate. Ever.
Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. – Proverbs 4:25
Don’t let comparisons distract your or consumerism entice you. Look at what God’s given you and stay focused on the work He’s laid out in front of you.
Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. – Proverbs 4:26
Don’t live by accident. We weren’t put here to be pushed around mindlessly. Instead, think about who God made you to be and what work He’s asked you to right now. Think about your choices and live in such a way that you can become your best self through each and every choice you make.
Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. – Proverbs 4:27
It’s easy to feel that you made a mistake in your life choices or that you shouldn’t have chosen something that you did. Unless it’s a sin that you’re needing to turn away from, don’t give up on what you have. The choice you made is the choice you made. Walk it all the way out and see what God can do with everything you bring to Him.
God says His burden is light and His yoke I easy. Many days, I feel that. Some days I don’t. Temptation can easily come in and put a weight on us that we struggle under. But, we know who God is and He tells us how to live our lives. As we choose to believe in Him and accept His words, the burdens of this world begin to fall away.
This passage reminds me of the choice that is in walking with Him. I choose to walk with Him even when circumstances call me to doubt. I choose to keep my eyes on Him and live ethically even when immorality would be more fun or easier. I keep His Word near to me so I can learn more about Him every day.