My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
2 for length of days and years of life
and peace they will add to you.
3 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 So you will find favor and good success
in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones. – Proverbs 3:1-8
Ever feel like you life needs a makeover? Things just aren’t turning out the way you thought they would. I suppose that many people who fall into deep depression are in this category and people who contemplate suicide. But, I also suppose that this idea of life needing a makeover applies to many of us who appear very “normal.” Whatever that is.
A few years ago I went through what many would consider a very radical lifestyle change. I discovered I was constantly dealing with aches and pains that most would just consider a part of getting older. In fact, in those days my doctor would often begin his explanation with the phrase, “As we get older…” At one point I swore I was going to slap him if he ever again commented on my getting older as an excuse for aches and pains.
To cut the story short, I discovered research that shows that most, if not all, of our chronic diseases (which includes general aches and pains) are dietary diseases. Change your eating and change your health. So, I figured, “What do I have to lose?” I began a journey toward eating a Plant Based Whole Food (PBWF) style. You only eat what grows out of the ground and isn’t processed. Oh yeah, and eliminate oils of any kind, they are just highly refined plants.
So what happened? I lost about 50 pounds, rid myself of sleep apnea, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, pre-diabetes and lots of generic aches and pains. It is hard to maintain this style of eating 100% of the time since most people don’t eat this way and don’t believe it can be really good for us. This article isn’t about diet so I will leave this here other than to say life is better now for me.
What does this have to do with Proverbs 3? It has to do with verse 8, “It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” It is health for you. What is “it?” “It” will be healing and refreshment. What is the “it” in this verse? We all want healing and refreshment so what is the “it” we must have for healing and refreshment to our lives?
“It” is definitely what is contained in verses 5-7 and I think it could be argued that it includes from verse 1 on. The “teaching” of verse 1 is the application of God’s word to all of life. It produces length of days and years of life and peace. Better quantity and better quality.
Verse 3 is a biggy. Steadfast love and faithfulness are how God explains his name to Moses in Exodus 34:6-7. He says he is “abounding with steadfast love and faithfulness.” To have this written on the tablet of your heart speaks of holding God’s word as a deeply held treasure. This particular treasure, spoken of in New Testament terms, is also known as “grace and truth.” That’s right. The law came through Moses but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Proverbs is telling us to treasure Jesus Christ and steadfast love and faithfulness or grace and truth.
Then comes the message of faith. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Trust him completely. No divided hearts here. This is radical, kind of like PBWF eating. Its radical and most people around you won’t support it. They will think you’re fanatical and something will go wrong if you keep this up.
Instead, “it” just becomes a bigger part of life. In all your ways acknowledge him. Don’t let any part of your life be kept separate from the steadfast love and faithfulness that has come through Jesus Christ. Then, he will straighten out your life that is in such need of a makeover.
One more big step. Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Why is your life in need of a makeover? There is a good possibility that you are into things that you should not be. Turn away from evil, aka, repent.
What will all of this get you? “It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” When I changed my eating habits it wasn’t magic that I got better. It is natural law. The healing to your life that you need isn’t magic either. When you begin to treasure Jesus Christ above all else and honor him and his word in every area of your life, positive change is inevitable. I didn’t lose 50 pounds over night and your life won’t be perfect over night when you begin to apply the formula of Proverbs 3, but it will change and for the better.