12-Day Proverbs Challenge for Growing in Wisdom and Discernment
- Susan Aken iBelieve Contributing Writer
- Published Nov 02, 2020
Wisdom doesn’t automatically follow knowledge. A well-educated, intelligent man may be a fool while an unschooled man can have discernment. Wisdom comes from God and walks in humility and love. The wise person acknowledges God. If a non-believer shows understanding, it’s based on principles from God, though they are unaware.
Wisdom cries out: “The LORD brought me forth as the first of His works, before His deeds of old; I was formed long ago, at the very beginning, when the world came to be… I was there when He set the heavens in place… I was constantly at His side” (Proverbs 8:22-30).
Some call King Solomon, from the Old Testament, the wisest man who ever lived. Soon after being crowned king, God appeared to him in a dream and said, “Ask for whatever you want Me to give you.” Solomon’s request? “Give your servant a discerning heart to govern Your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” His request pleased God. So, God gave him not only great enlightenment but long life and riches (1 Kings 3).
Solomon wrote or collected most of the life principles in Proverbs. When followed, these insights often lead to positive results. Applying these principles is wise and will give us direction though we’re not guaranteed a particular outcome.
Focus on reading Proverbs for the next 12 days. Each day of this challenge will lead you through important themes Proverbs teaches about wisdom. Ask God to show you how to apply these truths to your life.
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Day 1: Seek God, the source of wisdom, first.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)
Wisdom begins with recognizing God as all-knowing and all-powerful while responding with respect and awe. Scripture says the one who ignores or hates God is a fool.
Reflect: Are you turning to God first for discernment?
Ask Him to give you wisdom for today’s choices.
Day 2: Guard your heart.
“Above all else guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)
Our heart is the essence of who we are and involves our thoughts, will, and emotions. Our beliefs and actions and how we live our lives flows from our hearts—our inner being. We need to guard it well!
Our minds are under attack from all forms of media. We’re inundated with messages every day. Most are negative and many are lies. We must practice diligence and discernment regarding what we dwell on and allow to take root.
Reflect: How’s your heart?
Do you need to make a plan to keep your heart safe?
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Day 3: Honor God with your resources: time, talent, and finances.
“Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:9-10)
All we have is a gift from God. How we use what He has given us is our gift back to Him.
Reflect: Are you honoring God with what He’s provided?
Look for an opportunity today to give in His name.
Day 4: Do good to others.
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you’—when you already have it with you.” (Proverbs 3:27-28)
Everyone you encounter comes by God’s design. Look for how He wants to use you in their lives. A wise person lives to help others, not merely themselves.
Reflect: Who needs your help today?
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Day 5: Accept correction gracefully.
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.” (Proverbs 12:1)
If I’m driving in the wrong direction, I want my GPS to inform me. Even more, I want God to redirect me if I’m misguided in life! Correction is beneficial.
When the Holy Spirit reveals an area that needs to change, remember it’s not to tear you down, but to build you up and bring more fulfillment to your life.
Reflect: Are you resisting the Holy Spirit?
In what area can you yield to Him today?
Day 6: Know the power your words have.
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21)
Words are powerful. They can give life or break someone’s spirit (Proverbs 15:4). They can stop anger or stir it up (Proverbs 15:1). “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24).
My speech can change someone’s day by lifting them up or by discouraging them. I can choose helpful or destructive words. If God brings someone into your life and you’re not sure how to encourage them, ask for His help and He will guide you.
Reflect: Have your words been giving hope or crushing spirits?
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Day 7: Work hard at all you do.
“Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.” (Proverbs 10:4)
We don’t all have the same capacity or ability for working hard. But each person can strive to do their best with what they have. God created us to work and produce, whether through physical labor, intellectual ability, or creativity.
Reflect: How can you use your gifts more diligently?
Day 8: Practice honesty.
“The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.” (Proverbs 12:22)
God desires for us to be honest and truthful in word and action.
Reflect: Are you seeking to be sincere and true in your work and relationships?
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Day 9: Seek humility.
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)
Everyone battles pride. Humility is essential in walking with God and learning wisdom.
Reflect: Ask God to help you be humble in all you do. Willingly admit your weaknesses and sins to God and those you may have hurt. Recognize any good in your life comes from God’s grace.
Day 10: Care for the poor and oppressed.
“It is a sin to despise one’s neighbor, but blessed is the one who is kind to the needy.” (Proverbs 14:21)
Throughout the Bible God encourages us to support those who are impoverished or oppressed. He holds the needy close to His heart and we honor Him when we provide for the less fortunate. Jesus taught that we serve Him when we meet people’s needs (Matthew 25:40).
Reflect: Are you helping the poor?
How could you start today?
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Day 11: Practice moderation.
“Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.” (Proverbs 25:28)
Society promotes harmful self-indulgence. Self-control protects us from excess. Overindulgence in most anything becomes destructive whether it’s food, alcohol, shopping, social media, or any other addictions we might have.
Refelect: Do you need moderation in a particular area?
Ask God to increase your self-control. If an addiction has taken hold, reach out for help.
Day 12: Curb your anger.
“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” (Proverbs 14:29)
There’s a place for controlled and righteous anger. But uncontrolled anger hurts those around us.
Reflect: Are you feeling angry frequently?
Does your anger cause you to lash out at those closest to you?
If your anger is harming others, you may need to seek someone who can encourage and help you.
The book of Proverbs has 31 chapters. Consider reading one chapter a day for a month. Ask God to speak to you and journal about what He teaches you on various topics. Choose one verse a day to meditate on. May God bless you as you deeply contemplate His word.
Lord, open our eyes to Your truth. May Your words sink into our hearts and souls giving us wisdom and discernment. Help us to keep our eyes on You. Thank You Father!
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Susan Aken writes devotions and articles for Wholly Loved Ministries, is an Oklahoma native who’s lived in Nebraska since 1987 and has been in public education for over thirty years. She and her husband have one son and a wonderful daughter-in-law. Besides writing she has a passion for special needs and prayer ministries. She enjoys time with family, reading, photography, movies, walking in nature, and a nice cup of tea. She believes life is a journey and we’re all in different places. Jesus is everything to her and it’s all about grace. Visit her at susanaken53.wordpress.com or on Facebook.
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