Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Virtue of Prudence

Lets look today at the first of many virtues that make up living a morally excellent life. Although, we must keep in mind that all things are lead by the spirit, it is of great benefit to see what God would say about these qualities and how we could apply them to our lives.

Philippians 4:8 says My brothers, your thoughts should be wholly directed to all that is true, all that deserves respect, all that is honest, pure, admirable, decent, virtuous or worthy of praise.

The agenda for today is the virtue of Prudence.

Prudence is not a word we really use today, so what exactly does it mean. Prudence is the quality of a person making them capable of exercising sound judgment in practical matters. They are cautious or discreet in conduct, circumspect and not rash. It is the quality of managing things carefully. Also it is often associated with wisdom, insight and knowledge.

2Chronicles 2:12 - Hiram also said: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who made heaven and earth, for He has given King David a wise son, endowed with prudence and understanding, who will build a temple for the Lord and a royal house for himself.

In this scripture King Hiram is talking about Solomon the son of King David having the quality of prudence (sound judgment) and understanding. This meaning to be good qualities for a person being used by God to build the Lords temple. He attributes Solomon’s sound judgment and understanding to God and considers him a blessing for God and also his father. Using sound judgment and understanding, Solomon would be used by God to build the temple for the Lord.

I could expound a bit about the practical application for prudence but let’s look straight at scripture first:

Proverbs 8:12 - I wisdom, dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge and discretion.

Proverbs 12:16 - A fool's wrath is known at once, but a prudent man covers shame.

Proverbs 12:23 - A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaim foolishness.

Proverbs 14:8 - The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, but the folly of fools is deceit.

Proverbs 14:15 - The simple believes every word, but the prudent consider well his steps.

Proverbs 15:5 - A fool despises his father’s instructions, but he who receives correction is prudent.

Proverbs 16:21 - The wise in heart will be called prudent, and sweetness of the lips increases learning.

Proverbs 18:15 - The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.

Proverbs 19:14 - Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.

Proverbs 22:3 - A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.

Through these scriptures in Proverbs we are told several things.

First, wisdom dwells with sound judgment. Wisdom and knowledge are two different things. Wisdom comes from God and dwells in the heart while knowledge comes from man and dwells in the head. It is the wisdom of the heart that we as Christians are to acquire. We can have all the knowledge the bible has to offer but with out the transference to the heart wisdom is nowhere to be found. We are wise when we have sound heart judgment and understanding of Gods ways. Wisdom of the heart urges us to apply what we know and become changed.

Next we are told these things about a prudent man. He man covers shame, he doesn't let his anger rage for others to see. He is not boastful of his knowledge. He understands and knows his way in life. He considers his steps and where he is going before acting. He takes correction from authority. He seeks and acquires knowledge about the things he needs to know to make a sound judgment. He or she is a gift from the Lord as a spouse. He does not play with evil but knows to turn away from it.

To be a prudent person, we must know and seek Gods truth. We must seek the knowledge given to us from the bible and ask God to transport it from our head to our heart so we can be changed by it.

To put prudence into practical use we must keep in mind these three aspects:

* We must consider our past experience with any given situation. How did things turn out? Are there things to be done again or avoided that were learned from past situations like this one?

*We must keep an open mind and be receptive to Godly advice or counsel. Always seek and heed the wise counsel of those that are older, more experienced and more knowledgeable.

*Once you have a clear vision of a situation, know your goals, understand any consequences of the actions you might take, consider any special circumstances or obstacles that you may need to overcome. Whether they are external and internal obstacles, such as temptations, injustice or fear, to name just a few, they must be considered.

Although we are to abide in and be lead by the Holy Spirit that lives within us, we are still required to feed ourselves with the knowledge of the word of God. Prudence is just one of the many virtues God word reveals we should acquire.

Tomorrow we move on to the virtue of Justice. Stay tuned!


richies said...

Great post. It reminds me that God wants me to use common sense. It seems to me like there is not enough common sense in Christianity today.

An Arkies Musings

John Roper said...

Great teaching, Sherri. Keep it coming!



Sherri Watt said...

Thank you both! I really appreciate your comments. I hope this study blesses you as much as it is me.