The Better Way
Proverbs 16:32 NIV “Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.” The BBE translation says “He who is slow to be angry is better than a man of war, and he who has control over his spirit than he who takes a town.”
When I was reading this the other day the Holy Spirit highlighted this verse. So I began to meditate on it. In any given situation we have choices. We are free to make any choice or response we choose. So what makes one “better” than another?
The definition of better is to surpass or exceed, more advantageous or effective. Choosing the better way is God’s way, choosing my way is to use my own strength and might. Obviously I want to make the better choice, but we all know our emotions can push really hard to get us to react in a way that satisfies the flesh! Did you ever notice how quickly a hateful or hurtful response is right on the tip of our tongue immediately without even having to think to much about it?
It’s so easy to just let that fly isn’t it? But…God’s word is telling us to choose the better way: God’s way. Galatians 5 lists the fruits of the Holy Spirit that should be in our lives. Fruit is simply what comes from our lives (what we say and do) as evidence of our Christianity. So to see how well we are doing as Christians we can just check our fruit…are we patient, kind, peaceful, joyful, faithful, and gentle in hard circumstances? #ouch
If not it’s time to work on some stuff! How do we develop our fruit? We PRACTICE. Stuff comes up consistently, so we pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help us take a deep breath and think before responding to something. While we breathe in we remember that better way and then we choose it. After awhile it becomes natural. Choosing the better way=fruit developed.
This proverb we are looking at tells us it is better to be patient than to be a warrior…in other words it is better to operate in God’s principles than to use your own self effort to fix the problem. We may think being a warrior and taking a whole city sounds impressive but God is saying to be patient or kind or faithful is much better, it’s more advantageous to us, simply because we are obeying God. His ways are not our ways.
His word says that he delights more in our obedience than in sacrifice, 1 Samuel 15:22. The King was forbidden to make the required sacrifice. Only the priests could do that. But Saul was worried that Samuel wouldn’t arrive in time so he performed the sacrifice before going to battle. That disobedience cost him his throne. God was not as concerned about the sacrifice (Sauls effort) as he was Saul’s obedience.
He would rather we obey than anything else. I remember telling my kids please just do what I say because I knew that what I was asking was the better way but they could not understand that.
It’s the same with God. He knows what will be the best. Our own self-effort says our way will be best because deep down…we don’t trust God. There I said it. That hurts my feelings because I want to do what I want to do sometimes. I have to face the fact that I do that because I’m afraid to trust.
I get it, really I do. I’ve been the queen of self-effort but not any more. I’ve learned, mostly the hardest way, that I don’t have a clue what is best. Ugh. On the bright side I did learn!! I may be hard headed but I’m not stupid.
So, today is a new day. Let’s start today choosing the better way. Choosing his Word over our self-effort. There are so many rewards to obedience. We do our part and God is always faithful to do his. His word cannot fail. I promise you will not be sorry when you choose better!