This week has been super crazy, in a good way though! (Except for all this rain which inspired this outfit today!) I’m finishing up my summer classes and that is awesome! I’ve been working a lot so that’s why it’s taken me a hot minute to get this post up. I’ve been loving this look that I’m wearing because it’s so comfy to wear (the pants are linked here). Plus, there’s been great lessons in my quiet time lately and even though the week has been busy, it’s been good overall.
I’ve been looking at Ecclesiastes 7 ever since there was a verse of the day on the Bible App from that chapter. When going into college, a new job, etc, I feel it is important to be aware of the new factors that will come into play in your life. Sometimes we get blind sided by things we can’t control but, when reading this chapter I saw that Solomon pointed out some important goals to focus our attention toward. He points us to love God, LISTEN, be serious about our reputations, and balance.
The first part of verse one says, “A good name is better than a fine perfume.” To put it into perspective today, you could say one’s good character is worth more than the most expensive pair of Louboutins. When you look at John 12:3, you know that perfumes also represent love and respect. Respecting your name is held at a higher value than what was considered an expensive luxury at that time. When we are in the will of God, we, as Christians, know that is pleasing in his sight. Not just because we are fulfilling what he wants us to do in our lives, but we are setting the example for others.
When you think about it, have you ever been around someone who just complains, doesn’t ever fulfill the things they promise, or is just not particularly nice? Contrastingly, what about a person who is kind, patient, and follows through? Who would you rather model yourself after? Side note: I think it’s important to go on mission trips and evangelize (it is the Great Commission), but we have to practice what we preach to those in our everyday lives as well and not just for a week or two to check a box. The spiritual need is everywhere (Luke 10:2). So before we even get into anything serious about balancing ourselves out, Solomon is like, “Yo, know who you are and lead by the example of God.”
Here comes the listening part. Verse five says, “It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools.” Which is easier said than done. I know that I’ve personally gone to two different people for advice before. I did this because I knew with one I’d get what I needed to hear, and the other would tell me what I wanted to hear. In the end, if I went the way I wasn’t supposed to go, I’d just have to accept the consequences because I totally knew what I was doing!! When I purposely did that, I feel like God was sitting me down – sort of like the way Ross sat down with Monica and Chandler – and he tells me just how silly I am.
Then, Solomon turns around in verse 21-22 and says, “Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you—for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others.” So yeah, the Father definitely knows that sometimes we don’t always say “Peace be with you” to the person that cuts us off on the road. These verses are regarding those who love us that are saying hurtful things about us. Solomon is saying to not listen to that form of gossip. It will disappoint you. This is different from the constructive advice given in verse five. (Here’s an article if you’d like to read more on verse 21-22.)
If you’re a college student you know that balance can be hard between schoolwork, your job, extra curricular activities, your relationship with God and others, and the list just goes on and on. I get it-same. I am a perfectionist and verses 16-18 stick out to me. The Jesus Bible writes that, “Solomon advised finding a balance between wearing oneself out in the pursuit of perfection and abandoning oneself to sinful excess…the balance is found in the knowledge and fear of God.” We don’t want to be so obsessed with being perfect Christians that we start worshipping the acts and religion rather than God himself. Some people feel like God can’t use them because they haven’t always lived a spotless life (#David) or they feel like something (like Moses’ stutter) would stop them from being used for the glory of God. Yet, there are soooo many people who were far from perfection that God used in great ways for the faith. Brené Brown says, “Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” Jesus is the only one who lived a clean and spotless life, therefore I feel like we should obviously run from what leads us to compromise, but also when we inevitably fall, not to be unreasonably hard on ourselves.
From my viewpoint as a college student, I take from this that I need to know and listen to my best “cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1) and to “avoid all extremes” (mentioned in verse 18). College is filled with different opportunities and time-consuming activities, and it is so easy to get caught up in extremes-intentionally or not. Once we realize it though, we should take a step back and reevaluate our values. What’s most important to us right now?
This was a long one today, but I hope you enjoyed it!