I. Prayer to enter the Lord’s presence:
Be still for a moment. “Lord, I give the day that is now past to you. It is yours. I give the day that is to come to you; help me to see where you are working and to join you there. Speak to me during these moments. I commit them and myself to you.”
II. Prayer of Confession:
“Lord, you are faithful to forgive me and cleanse me of my sin when I confess it to you. I confess my sin(s) of ______________. Thank you for forgiveness.” (1 John 1:9)
III. Prayer of Thanksgiving:
Choose to be thankful, speak out loud of what God has done.
“Thank you, Father, for _________________. Fill my heart and my mouth with gratitude throughout this day.”
IV. Scripture Reflection
Read: Proverbs Chapter 18
18 One who isolates himself pursues selfish desires;
he rebels against all sound wisdom.
The Christian Standard Bible says, “the one who isolates himself pursues selfish desires.” The word “isolates” has the sense of placing or setting one apart. It’s a determined choice on the part of an individual to choose to set themselves apart. In the case of this proverb, it’s setting one’s self apart for selfish desires. We call it self-centeredness. We all know what it looks like—it’s ugly! We don’t like it when we see it in others. Self-centeredness goes against sound judgment. It is the adversary—the enemy—of wisdom. Now, as you read this, you might be thinking, “that’s a pretty strong statement,” but I don’t think so. Let me tell you why.
When we entertain selfish thoughts or motives, we’re waging war against wisdom. How so? By blocking out others from speaking into our lives. We are, in a sense, barricading ourselves in as to prevent others from entering. It may be a sound thing to do if you’re actually fighting against an enemy whose intentions are bad, but this isn’t the idea here. Look at what the second line tells us. See, this person is rebelling against any thought of “sound judgment.” They want what they want, and in rebelling, are willing to do whatever it takes to have what they desire.
Stop and think about this for a moment—the foolishness embraced in this proverb should cause us to shudder! Without the soundness of wisdom, everything is up for grabs! You see, self-centeredness—I want what I want—has led to the fall of many. Illicit affairs, broken relationships, shattered families, and broken lives. Living for self doesn’t bring what we desire, it brings the complete opposite, it leaves us broken and alone, it makes us bitter, and only defiles us.
All this makes me think of Smeagol from the movie Lord of the Rings. Remember, he finds the ring—his Precious—and thinks he has all he will ever need, only to become isolated in his own self-centered world. The influence of the ring twisted his body and mind to the point that he becomes grotesque and unrecognizable. The same can happen to us if we allow ourselves to be isolated from the Father and the community of believers that He has placed us in.
Yes, self-centeredness is warring against wisdom! Please hear me, self-centeredness is a stance against wisdom. This proverb is a warning for us, telling us we don’t have to live like that—to walk the fool’s path! We can choose another way –the path of wisdom.
To walk wisdom’s path means that we set are to set selfish desires aside and put God at the center of our lives.
Are you isolating yourself from others to pursue selfish desires. If you are, then stop! Don’t let it twist and misshape you. Determine today to put God at the center of your plans—ask Him to give you His desires. Know this: His desires are going to involve a relationship with others. Will you allow them to speak into your life?
V. Prayer for others:
Pray specifically for the concerns of your life and the lives of others.
VI. Prayer of commitment:
“Lord God, I commit to love you with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my strength and with all my mind and to love my neighbor as myself. Empower me today to love you and others with everything that I am.” (Luke 10:27)
This Week’s Scripture Memory:
As iron sharpens iron,
so one man sharpens another.