Making the Most of Ourself and Our Life
Proverbs 19:8, 16
He that gets wisdom loves his own soul: he that keeps understanding shall find good.…

How shall we most truly "love our own soul" but by making all we can make of the nature and the life God has entrusted to our care! And how shall we do this? Surely by "getting wisdom" and "keeping understanding." To look at the subject negatively and, beginning at the bottom, to take an upward path, we remark -

I. THAT CONTEMPTUOUS CARELESSNESS MEANS CERTAIN RUIN. "He that despiseth his ways shall die." The man who never pauses to consider what he can accomplish, how he shall spend his days and his powers, but who goes aimlessly onward, letting youth and manhood pass without any serious thought at all, and content to snatch the enjoyment of the passing hour, - is a man of folly, and he can expect nothing, as he certainly will find nothing, but the most meagre portion and a very speedy end of everything. He sows to the flesh, and of the flesh he reaps corruption. To "despise our way" in this fashion is to forfeit our inheritance and come to utter destitution. Moving higher up, but still failing to reach the right standard, we remark -

II. THAT ANY COUNSEL WHICH IS NOT OF GOD WILL PROVE DISAPPOINTING. There is much cleverness and keenness that is not wisdom; there is much concern about ourself and our future which is not a true "love for our own soul." There are many counsellors who will advise us to seek certain pleasures, or to aim at certain honours, or to climb to a certain position, or to seek entrance into some particular society, or to secure a certain treasure, - and it will be well with us. But any counsel which fall, short of telling us the will of God, which leaves untold the wisdom which is from above, will certainly prove to be unsound. A point will come in our experience where it will break down. It will not meet the deeper necessities of our nature nor the darker passages of our life. We must take higher ground - that on which we see -

III. THAT DIVINE WISDOM WILL LEAD US TO TRUE AND LASTING BLESSEDNESS. "The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding" (Job 28:28; see Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10). And surely:

1. To know God is, in itself, a real and a great blessing (Jeremiah 9:24). To know God as he is revealed in Jesus Christ is to be enriched in the most precious and valuable knowledge; it is "to be wiser than the ancients;" it is to have that in our mind which is of more intrinsic worth than all that men can put into their pockets.

2. To know God in Jesus Christ is to have rest of heart (Matthew 11:28, 29). Those who love themselves will surely care for spiritual rest - for a peace which no favouring circumstances can confer.

3. To learn of Christ and keep his commandments is to be preserved in moral and spiritual integrity; he that "keepeth the commandments" by consulting the will of Christ will certainly "keep his own soul" from all that stains and slays a human spirit and a human life - from impurity, insobriety, untruthfulness, dishonesty, profanity, selfishness; he will "keep his soul" in the love of God, in the light of his countenance, under his guardian care. To remain loyal to the wisdom of God (to "keep understanding") is to find every good that is open to us. It is to move along that path which is evermore ascending; which conducts to the loftier heights of moral excellency, of exalted spiritual joy, of holy and noble service; which leads to the very gates of heaven and the near presence of God. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.

WEB: He who gets wisdom loves his own soul. He who keeps understanding shall find good.

Coercing Men of Ill Principles
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