Guess what? You’re not perfect.

Shocking, I know. Most of us know that we’re not perfect and freely admit that we have areas that we need to work on, yet when we are corrected by others, we get upset and angry. Why is that? If we know we’re not perfect, why do we get so defensive when others point it out?

A man who hardens his neck after much reproof Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.
Proverbs 29:1 NASB
https://bible.com/bible/100/pro.29.1.NASB

The Bible reminds us that pride and arrogance are not the way to respond to these situations. If we have someone in our life who is brave enough to give us feedback to help us get better, we must be careful that we are responding correctly to the feedback. We know that we are not perfect. We nust continue to improve and realize that we need God’s guidance to grow. However, if we won’t accept hearing about the areas we need to improve, we will never see the joy that comes from improving.

Don’t waste time in pride. We know we have faults, so accept when others come to us to help us grow.

Do we give honest feedback? Or, do we tell people what they want to hear? In reading through the rest of Proverbs chapter 28, we see this verse in and among the others.

He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor Than he who flatters with the tongue.
Proverbs 28:23 NASB
https://bible.com/bible/100/pro.28.23.NASB

When we get asked our opinion, are we honest and do we tell the truth? Or do we just say what we think the other person wants to hear? Do we try to flatter people just so they will lime us, or promote us? This can be seen often in the business world, but is by no means limited to our professional lives. We can be just as guilty of this with family members or friends as well.

It can be difficult to give honest feedback, especially when we know it is not what they other person wants to hear. Yet, if the person never gets told where there opportunities are, they never have a chance to grow. Now, we must remember what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 and that we are to speak the truth in love. Feedback should be given with the motivation of helping others improve, not to tear them down. Are we willing to give honest feedback, in love, to others to help them grow?

Do we admit when we mess up? It can be so easy to just try to cover it up and move on, yet reading through Proverbs 28:1-14, we see this verse:

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
Proverbs 28:13 NASB
https://bible.com/bible/100/pro.28.13.NASB

Are we willing to admit our mistakes? Certainly, God Himself has said He will forgive us, just look at 1 John 1:9. We also must be willing to admit to ourselves when we mess up. Finally, we must be willing to admit to others when we have wronged then. True humility and desire to change and try to make it right must accompany our confession to others. We also must realize that while God promises to forgive us and cleanse us, others do not nake that same promise to us and they may struggle with it. It’s also important to note that the verse indicates that we are to not only confess our sins, but forsake them as well.

Are we willing to own our wrongs and confess them to God, ourselves, and others? Will we turn from them? That is the only way to find compassion.

Who we truly are is reflected to others. Proverbs 27:15-27 gives us several ways we can continue to be wise, bur see what it says in verse 19.

As in water face reflects face, So the heart of man reflects man.
Proverbs 27:19 NASB
https://bible.com/bible/100/pro.27.19.NASB

Our heart reflects who we try are. The things we care about and the way we move and work with people is a direct reflection of what is in our heart. Bitterness and anger will show itself in our dealings and responses to people. The same is true for kindness and humility. What do our actions today say about the kind of person we are?

What do you tell others about yourself? Some people seem to spend all their time bragging about everything they have done to others. The Bible recommends humility. Read Proverbs 27:1-14, focusing on verse 2.

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.
Proverbs 27:2 NASB
https://bible.com/bible/100/pro.27.2.NASB

We don’t need to praise ourselves. We shouldn’t spend our energy trying to raise others opinions on what we do or how we do it. Now, on the flip side, we aren’t to go around degrading ourselves. God has created us and we are His. But, we are to be humble and do our very best without calling undue attention to ourselves. Would others define us as humble?

What’s your work ethic? That may seem an odd question to ask in a Christian Devotional. But, the Bible addresses every area of life, so we should, too. In reading Proverbs 26:21-34 we see:

“A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest,” Then your poverty will come as a robber And your want like an armed man.
Proverbs 24:33‭-‬34 NASB
https://bible.com/bible/100/pro.24.33-34.NASB

As believers, we should be among the best, most dedicated workers out there. We work as we are working for God, not just an earthly boss. If we are lazy and irresponsible, then we should realize that we are going to experience the consequences of our inaction. Why should God bless us if we aren’t willing to put forth any effort to do what God has for us to do? Are we working up to our potential?

“Why do we fall?” This question was asked of Bruce Wayne in the movie Batman Begins. The answer? “So we can learn to pick ourselves back up.” In reading through Proverbs 24:1-20 we see the same issue addressed in verse 16.

For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.
Proverbs 24:16 NASB
https://bible.com/bible/100/pro.24.16.NASB

What differentiates the righteous from the wicked? The righteous man rises again. As we are trusting in God to carry us through everything we go through, we have no difficulty trusting God to pick us back up again. We know that God sees us and works through us and that when we fall, for we will fall, His forgiveness and mercy are there to show us the way back.

We are going to fall. The question is whether we will do as the righteous and trust God enough to allow Him to help us back up.

Do you ever envy non-believers? I must admit that in some moments, at times I do. I see people who have no respect for God doing things that they seem to be enjoying or getting things that seem to be fun and a twinge of jealousy can creep in. What does God’s Word say about that? After reading Proverbs 23:15-35, this verse stood out to me.

Do not let your heart envy sinners, But live in the fear of the Lord always.
Proverbs 23:17 NASB
http://bible.com/100/pro.23.17.NASB

Apparently we are not alone in having moments of envy and jealousy. This reminder here is there to keep us focused on what really matters in life. We are not going to have everything in this life. God has a plan and He knows exactly what we should have and what we shouldn’t. I don’t need to envy others; God has blessed me with so much and I know that He has so much more planned for me. Those temporary things that catch our eye will fade into nothing and we will be left with our eternal Father who continues to provide for all we really, truly need. His blessings are so much more than that which we see sinners seem to enjoy. Do we trust in Him and wait for Him?

Money isn’t everything. While most of have heard this statement and believe it is true, that does not stop us from acting like money is everything to us and doing everything we can to gain more and more. As we read Proverbs 23:1-14 we see:

Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, Cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.
Proverbs 23:4‭-‬5 NASB
http://bible.com/100/pro.23.4-5.NASB

Don’t exhaust yourself trying to gain more money. Don’t make all your decisions based solely on what will give you the most money. Wealth comes and it goes, just ask any stock broker. If we are not grounded in something more substantial, we will fall. Our pursit should be to seek more of God every day. He will provide for our every need.

What do you fill your mind with? Looking through Proverbs 22:16-29, we see these verses:

Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, And apply your mind to my knowledge; For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, That they may be ready on your lips.
Proverbs 22:17‭-‬18 NASB
http://bible.com/100/pro.22.17-18.NASB

As Solomon continues sharing his wisdom, we see that he is reminding us how important it is to surround ourselves with wisdom. That needs to be what fills our mind because then that is what will be on our lips. If we are filling our mind with anything other than wisdom, we will find that foolish talk is what comes out of our mouth. His challenge to us is to listen and to hear and to apply the words of wisdom that he has been speaking throughout all of Proverbs. We can read through these verses and yet gain nothing because we don’t do anything with what we’ve learned. The key is application. What we fill our mind with will be what we think about, which will in turn be what we act upon when situations arise. What’s in our mind?