Desires that deceive, then destroy

5/10/19 1:30 AM

Proverbs 19.1
“Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.”

Poverty — like prosperity — has its temptations. Scripture has many warnings for people who are wealthy and prosperous. This proverb, however, is a warning for people who are poor. If someone is in a condition of financial poverty, they are much better off if they live with integrity than if they are foolish and try to deceive and manipulate.

It is quite possible that the cause of the poverty in this proverb is foolish and deceitful behavior. At the very least, when a poor person acts unethically, they make their poverty worse.

Looking at the big picture, scripture doesn’t encourage poverty, nor does it discourage wealth. Wealth isn’t bad and poverty isn’t good, or vice versa.  No matter where we are on the prosperity/poverty spectrum, what scripture commands is integrity, wisdom, strong work ethic, and service to others. We can do those things whether we are wealthy or poor.

Proverbs 19.2
"Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.”

Passion without discipline is dangerous. It’s an unguided missile. Everyone has passion, but not everyone has the discipline to properly focus and manage their passion. This is the great challenge of humanity.

The apostle Peter wrote about this. “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul” (1 Peter 2:11). The word here for “passion” is epithumia, which can also be translated “desire.” It is sometimes translated “lust.”

Again, everyone has passion. The question is, what is the object of your passion? What do your passions want? A desire is neutral until its attached to something. A desire to serve and support people is good. A desire to lie and steal from people is bad. The desires of our new nature are good. The desires of our old, sinful nature are not good.

Peter also spoke to this in his first epistle: “Do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance.”  The apostle is warning against the desires of our old, sinful nature. This is misdirected passion. This is the unguided missile that Proverbs 19.2 speaks about. This is desire without knowledge.

In Ephesians 4.22, the apostle Paul calls them “deceitful desires.” The passions and desires of the old nature lie to you. They promise fulfillment they cannot deliver. They first seek to deceive, then seek to destroy.

Pay careful attention to your desires and passions. What is the object of your desires? Toward what are your desires directed? What do your desires want you to do?

“Guard your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4.23)

Tim Kight

Written by Tim Kight

Founder of Focus 3, Tim focuses on the critical factors that distinguish great organizations from average organizations. He delivers a powerful message on the mindset & skills at the heart of individual & organizational performance.

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