Good understanding gains favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard. (Proverbs 13:15, NKJV)
Sin is a choice that brings hardship to everyone who is enslaved by it. The consequences of sin are hard, and can be permanent (as is indicated by the Hebrews word which is translated “hard” in today’s verse). When we choose to be unfaithful to God’s standard of truth, under which we live and to which we are accountable, the course of our life will be difficult. When we choose to be unfaithful to God, we only hurt ourselves (cf. Acts 9:5). Unfortunately, evil influences in this world are at work to play-down the age-old truth, that “whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal. 6:7). Many think they can sin without consequences or punishment. They have been deceived by a permissive society that glamorizes and rewards sin. It is a hard, yet necessary lesson, to accept the consequences of our sins. Only by acknowledging the reality of our own sins against God – as well as the consequences they bring – will we ever be willing and able to repent and obey the Lord to be saved by His grace (cf. Acts 2:37-41). Good understanding of sin’s difficulties helps us avoid sin, and obtain favor from God and men. Sinners will obtain favor from God by coming to Jesus. His yoke is far easier, and His burden is far lighter, than sin (Matt. 11:28-30).
Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God, (Psalm 146:5, NKJV)
Where do you set your hope for your happiness and blessedness? We are tempted to set our hopes on plans for the future – a career, a home, a family. These are good things, but, as James said, we must say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that” (Jas. 4:15). God is “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psa. 46:1). Our hope is not misplaced when our hearts depend upon the Lord God. The spiritual fortune He gives, the blessed help He provides, sustains us in days of gladness and in days of gloom. There is an abiding favor given to all those whose hope is in the Lord God. Be sure your hope is anchored in the Lord and not on the shifting sands of this temporal, fleeting world.
A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but a man of wicked intentions He will condemn. (Proverbs 12:2, NKJV)
The word of God points out that good intentions alone will not wash away our sins (cf. Cornelius, whose good intentions and moral life did not save him, Acts 10:1-2, 22; 11:14). It is equally apparent that without good intentions we will not obtain God’s favor. Wicked, evil motives bring God’s condemnation. God’s favor is reserved for the good-intentioned person who actually does what He says is good (Eph. 2:10). So, Cornelius was told that “whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:35). Let us couple our good intentions with doing the good will of God, so that we will be received by the Lord and blessed by Him in Christ (Eph. 1:3; Jas. 1:25).
Fools mock at sin, but among the upright there is favor. (Proverbs 14:9, NKJV)
Often the righteous are ridiculed, made a laughing stock and spoken evil against because they will not join sinners in committing sin or in accepting sin as good (1 Pet. 4:4). Sin is little more than a sport to those who reject God’s truth: “To do evil is like sport to a fool, but a man of understanding has wisdom” (Prov. 10:23). Do you mock at your own sin by carelessly refusing to repent of it? Be wise and gain understanding. There is no favor or grace for one who scoffs at sin. Instead of mocking at sin, choose the righteous path of truth and obtain favor with God, now and forevermore.
He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord. (Proverbs 18:22, NKJV)
Who you find to marry makes a huge difference in your life. God arranged marriage for one man and one woman for life (Gen. 2:18-25). By it, loneliness is averted through a companionship that unites two into “one flesh”. While millions minimize marriage, sinning against God by living together, marriage continues to be “honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4). Marriage is intended to bring joy and fulfillment to life, not painful complaint, criticism and cynicism. A good wife (or husband) is a great blessing from the Lord. So, choose your mate wisely and live in the Lord’s favor. If you are already married, then make it your aim to be the kind of wife or husband who brings your spouse joy and gladness.
Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5, NKJV)
Living in God’s grace does not give Christians a license to have arrogant attitudes, words and deeds toward one another. There ought to be a symbiotic relationship between younger and older Christians; interdependent, instead of independent, of each other. In another context, Paul said, “For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself” (Rom. 14:7). We need each other. Therefore, proper respect and regard ought to be shown by all. Younger saints should yield to their elders out of respect and consideration. An older Christians should not discount and despise a fellow saint simply due to their youth. We are yield to one another out of humility. After all, God will not receive the proud; He favors the humble. Commit yourself to developing a humble attitude. Be humble by using kind words and respectful actions toward your brethren in Christ.