April 6

“Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way. (Proverbs 19:2)

“Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” (Proverbs 18:1)

Before I was reborn in Christ, I trusted my “gut feelings” as the best indicator of wisdom. I thought that my instincts were different from my emotions, which could not be trusted. It was only after I came to faith that I learned to distrust not only my emotions but most of my inclinations, which were carnal. One of the most convicting verses was Proverbs 19:2, “Desire without knowledge is not good.” At some point I realized that the second half of the verse was the outcome of this uninformed desire; my lack of knowledge often resulted in running toward a serious mistake instead of toward a biblical solution to a problem. So, one problem with our desires is that they are uneducated, lacking the wisdom of God, which is the sound judgment referred to in Proverbs 18:1.

Sometimes we run toward lousy judgment and other times we isolate ourselves, which is also unwise according to 18:1. It would be unwise to take this verse too literally, since writing, praying, and meditating on Scripture may all be done in isolation, but not for the sake of separation. It is one thing to accomplish something purposeful; it is another to seek aloneness to avoid interacting with people, which is the thrust of 18:1, according to most commentators. I say this knowing that many introverts find being around other people physically tiring and emotionally taxing. I happen to be someone who needs a reasonably even balance of time with others and time alone to function at my best. But I know when I am trying to avoid others because I am selfish, as you also probably do. Too much time alone is never good for anyone; isolating ourselves indicates a lack of compassion for others, disinterest in serving God by serving his people, or fear of being vulnerable with other people. Perhaps you can think of other unwise reasons for keeping aloof from family, friends, church members, or neighbors?

Bible translations sometimes put another slant on 18:1 that might be useful to consider. The Common English Bible says, “Unfriendly people look out for themselves; they bicker with sensible people.” I am sure you have met some of these folks (but hopefully aren’t one of them yourself). The NIV has this phrasing, “Whoever isolates himself pursues selfish ends; he resists all sound advice.” One way to avoid accountability is to isolate yourself and being friendless. Wise Christian friends are critical to a Christian disciple who wants to grow; feedback is essential. I also recommend friends who are different from you and have different ways of looking at the world, to offer fresh perspectives and arguments for biblical views that challenge you. Restricting yourself to friends, co-workers, neighbors, and family members who agree with you all the time is one way to be isolated and leads to stagnation. Consider the Pharisees.

Will you think about these things and see if you catch yourself running without knowledge or isolating yourself from those who would help you grow?

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