Considering Proverbs 9:12

12 If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.

I could be looking at the verse wrong, but this is how I read it: if you are wise, you do yourself good. If you scoff at wisdom, then you will bear your foolishness alone.

Previous verses teach us that our wisdom is rooted in fear of the Lord, and if we are wise, we will have a longer and more fulfilled life.

If we consider that idea as Christians, then we can see how verse 12 is true.

If we are wise in the Christian sense, then we acknowledge that Jesus has made Himself Lord of our life, so we should do our upmost to honor Him as our Lord. As we become better servants, we see that our life becomes increasingly full of meaning as we find freedom from the destructive things of this world and grow in love towards God and others.

If we are foolish in the Christian sense, then we scoff at the things of God and the teachings of Jesus, thereby continuing in the chains of this world and its destructiveness. Without Jesus, we will bear these heavy chains alone, and that is indeed foolishness because we have One who bore these chains already.

Jesus sacrificed Himself so that we could be free from destruction, not so we can wallow in it without regard and without consequence.

The forgiveness of sin that we receive is meant to provide us with a fresh start so that we can approach God without fear or shame. This is a wonderful gift, and to count this gift as some light thing by means of sheer neglect and sinfulness without repentance is one of the most foolish things we can do.

However, I know how easy it is, and we have all been there.

I know how easy it is to become confused by the deceitfulness of this world, the cares of this life, the pursuit of wealth, and the pleasures of sin that seem so enjoyable for a time until they destroy your life and pull you away from the Lord.

As Christians, we have “put on Christ” as our “wedding garment” and we need to be ready to meet Him when He comes. If we willingly defile our garments with the destructive things of this world—the very things that Jesus died to free us from—how can we expect to stand before Him?

Read Matthew 25 for the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins.

I know that many will fulfil the fate of the “foolish virgins,” but I am thankful to know that Jesus will not lose any person that belongs to Him. He will do whatever is necessary to ensure our salvation, and this includes compelling us to grow in faithfulness to Him.

I know from experience that He will draw us to Him in a manner that we cannot resist. I also know that our faith is tried by fire, and this experience can be difficult and painful.

I know that all things are for our good, so I regret nothing about my life as a Christian. The insight He provided required a measure of suffering, but I can see how good it is because I am now in a position to help other Christians grow in faithfulness—and hopefully escape some suffering as a result.

It is my belief that the time of trouble is time of sifting and refining of Christians, and I believe that our ability to bear that time and “endure until the end” is made less painful when we are already right with the Lord. The wise will have oil in their lamps and they will make it through that dark time, ready to meet the Lord. It is not so for the foolish.

I know it sounds arrogant, but if my fellow servants will learn from my mistakes, they can avoid unnecessary trouble. We all have a story to share about how following Jesus changed us, and we can learn from one another. I also know that some trouble is unavoidable and necessary for growth, and the Lord gives us peace and strength “that surpasses all understanding.”

Christians, let us be wise. Let us consider the ways in which our lives are continuing down paths of destruction so that we can turn away from such things and turn towards a life lived in Jesus Christ.

Despite all that we have done to hurt Him, hurt ourselves, and hurt others, Jesus gave Himself for us. He became a man, suffered, and died for us so that we could escape destruction and inherit eternal life as sons of God.

We hear the same Christian tropes so much that we can become desensitized to it. Don’t be hard hearted. Let His suffering really penetrate your heart and change you. He loves you so much. He deserves better from us, not because we are earning salvation, but because we have received it.

This article is part of a weekly bible study in the Proverbs. A new article in this series is published every Monday. To follow along and receive email updates, you can subscribe to If you have thoughts or questions you would like to share, please leave a comment or send a private message. I would love to hear from you. ❤

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