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Oilfield Workers Sharing Christ Around the World

VICES, VIRTUES, AND EMOTIONS – Week 20 – PRUDENCE

By Mike Chaffin

The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves, but a fool’s heart blurts out folly. Proverbs 12:23

          The cure for foolishness is one of the four cardinal virtues – prudence. This isn’t a word that is bandied about daily, but it is something we should all try to cultivate. The church defines prudence as the quality of being prudent or cautious. Wisdom, good judgement, judiciousness, and common sense are synonyms. The definition goes on to say. “Although prudence itself doesn’t perform any actions and is solely concerned with knowledge, all virtues have to be regulated by prudence.” For instance, distinguishing which acts are courageous rather than foolish or cowardly is an act of prudence.

          However, prudence should never be confused with pragmatism. In the devotional on foolishness, Samual called Saul foolish for his disobedience. However, Saul just thought he was being pragmatic in the circumstances. When we practice prudence, we make the decision to obey rather than reacting to our surroundings. Martyrs, for instance, are prudent when they decide to be killed over rejecting their faith in Jesus Christ. A wise proverb to remember is Proverbs 14:15,

          The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps.

               A brash act done out of impulse, rage, lust, or any other vice leads to sin. The prudent think before they act, speak, or get angry. Prudence won’t cause us to freeze up and be afraid to do anything, it prioritizes our life to do God’s will.

          The path of life leads upward for the prudent to keep them from going down to the realm of the dead. Proverbs 15:24

              Possibly this verse prompted Jesus to teach that the way to Heaven is narrow, and few find it, but the wide path leads to destruction.

          Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13-14

              Therefore, since knowledge is required to act prudently, we must strive to learn everything possible about our walk with Christ. Paul, in his poetic fashion tells the Philippians as much,

          Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.            Philippians 3:13-15

Prayer:  Dear Lord, thank you for giving us clear direction in the Bible to follow your commands and how to live a holy life. Help me to cultivate a prudent mind so that in all I do I strive to do your will. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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