Centuries ago a person’s future was largely laid out from infancy. A child would be raised and directed to follow in the same occupation and lifestyle that his or her parents had known, but the modern era changed all that. Since the late 19th century and the onset of industrialization, history is now replete with tales of the accomplishments of those who have charted a different course, persevered through gigantic obstacles, and beaten the odds to make the leap from obscurity into fame, notoriety, fortune and success. And as if on cue, the world stands and applauds those who are “self-made.”
While those stories are inspiring and can encourage us to personally adopt a ‘never give up’ attitude, scripture warns us against moving beyond the reasonable joy we experience through personal accomplishment to an attitude of self-elevation. Romans 12:3 sternly cautions us to be on guard against the subtle intrusion of pride, and instead advises us to “not think of yourself more highly than you ought.” Proverbs 3:7 gives a similar warning against being deceived into believing wisdom comes as a result of your own efforts. “Do not be wise in your own eyes,” the writer says.
The truth is that any time you exalt yourself, you have in fact, taken a step away from wisdom and unwittingly moved closer to a life of foolishness. The remedy to this pernicious attitude is found in the second half of Proverbs 3:7 … “Fear the Lord”. But this must be more than mere words on a page to us. True ‘fear of the Lord’ will result in an enduring change of lifestyle where we value what He values, reject what He rejects, and embrace His perspective on all of life, In those instances where our feelings or desires conflict with God’s Word, we choose to willingly defer to His wisdom, realizing that His ways are not only higher than ours, (Is. 55:9) but better and the only way to flourish and grow to be like Him.
Verse 8 continues with a promise that “this will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” While that isn’t a ‘cover all’ guarantee for a pain free existence on this earth, a lifestyle of that fears the Lord will be spiritually refreshed, strong and constantly nourished because you have chosen to honor the Lord with your whole body, focusing on Him and His ability rather than your own.