Continuing my thoughts on Proverbs.
Proverbs 16:2 "All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit." How true this is! When you are doing something, it is easy to convince yourself that what you are doing and why you are doing it is pure and holy. "I am just doing what is right." Unfortunately, what we do isn't really that pure. We are guided by our own sinful thought, desires and actions. We want things our way and so we convince ourselves that we are being "holy" and "pure" in our actions. The Lord knows the truth. "He weighs the spirit." What that means is that the Lord knows that our actions don't stem from purity but from self-concern, self-importance and from just blindly doing what we want to do. All of us are guilty in this. Our motives are seldom as pure as we like to say they are.
Proverbs 16:28 "A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends." When a person is dishonest (seeking only what he desires and not the good of others), strife follows closely. How often it seems that strife develops and you don't know where it came from until you meet the person who is dishonest, not being truthful in all that they say or do. Doesn't it just drive you nuts 9it does me) when you walk into a room and see folks whispering and then when they see you, they stop. Nothing good comes from that. Most of the time you should be talking to the person that causes you to stop whispering to the other person and that is why you stop. It is guilt. Instead of separating friends (which dishonesty that leads to the whispering does) you should work hard to follow the will of God and do that which is right. Talk to each other instead of about each other.
Proverbs 17:3 "The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts." The Lord does test our hearts to see how pure they are. He allows things to come into our lives to purify our faith in Him. Take a look at Job and you will see how that works. James talks about this in James 1. Amazing stuff! The fact is that we don't like to have our hearts tested. We want an easy life. The Lord knows better what we need than we do. When testing comes, we turn to the Him and ask for strength and guidance.
Proverbs 17:22 "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Joy comes from the Lord. A crushed spirit comes from the devil. Which one is better? The joyful spirit, of course. Watch people who have been crushed under the weight of pain and suffering or under the mean words that are said by someone they thought they could trust or that cared for them and you will see how true this is. A crushed spirit dries up the bones, the person just can't hardly go through the day. You see the person from across the room and you think "Boy does that person look haggard." That is exactly what this means. A joyful heart is good medicine. May the Lord make your heart joyful today. Be lifted up! The Lord loves you and cares for you. Those that attack you (Satan, the world and your sinful nature) are not stronger than Him! He has already overcome them. May the joy of the Lord be with you.