Inner thoughts and motives. God sees them all and they indicate our wisdom or foolishness. Read Proverbs 15.
The thoughts that lead to the words – Proverbs 15:1-15
A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, But the mouth of fools spouts folly. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, Watching the evil and the good. A soothing tongue is a tree of life, But perversion in it crushes the spirit. A fool rejects his father’s discipline, But he who regards reproof is sensible. Great wealth is in the house of the righteous, But trouble is in the income of the wicked. The lips of the wise spread knowledge, But the hearts of fools are not so. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord , But the prayer of the upright is His delight. The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord , But He loves one who pursues righteousness. Grievous punishment is for him who forsakes the way; He who hates reproof will die. Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord , How much more the hearts of men! A scoffer does not love one who reproves him, He will not go to the wise. A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken. The mind of the intelligent seeks knowledge, But the mouth of fools feeds on folly. All the days of the afflicted are bad, But a cheerful heart has a continual feast.
Proverbs 15:1-15 NASB
What we think ultimately leads to the words that we say and the actions that we take. God sees these inner thoughts and the inner motivations behind all that we do. He understands whether we are intending gentle answers or harsh words. He understands whether we are diligently seeking knowledge or if we are only feeding on folly. Which of these describe us? We may be able to fool everyone else, but we cannot fool God.
The motivations that compel us – Proverbs 15:16-33
Better is a little with the fear of the Lord Than great treasure and turmoil with it. Better is a dish of vegetables where love is Than a fattened ox served with hatred. A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, But the slow to anger calms a dispute. The way of the lazy is as a hedge of thorns, But the path of the upright is a highway. A wise son makes a father glad, But a foolish man despises his mother. Folly is joy to him who lacks sense, But a man of understanding walks straight. Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed. A man has joy in an apt answer, And how delightful is a timely word! The path of life leads upward for the wise That he may keep away from Sheol below. The Lord will tear down the house of the proud, But He will establish the boundary of the widow. Evil plans are an abomination to the Lord , But pleasant words are pure. He who profits illicitly troubles his own house, But he who hates bribes will live. The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things. The Lord is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the righteous. Bright eyes gladden the heart; Good news puts fat on the bones. He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof Will dwell among the wise. He who neglects discipline despises himself, But he who listens to reproof acquires understanding. The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor comes humility.
Proverbs 15:16-33 NASB
What drives us and what is our motivation? This last verse is very telling, as we see that humility should be what we strive for. Humility must happen first before honor. There can be no honor, true honor, unless we have first experienced humility. What are we driving for each day? Are we seeking to understand and to know more about God and to make him first and build him up? Or, are we seeking to build ourselves up? As we see in these verses, our motivation matters and is a driving force behind whether the actions we take are based in wisdom or in foolishness. Which describes us today?