Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Proverbs 2:11
Lake Junaluska, a 200-acre reservoir near my home, is fed by Richland Creek, which flows through a densely populated area in our county. Two nets, spaced 100 feet apart, have been stretched across the creek’s mouth. After heavy rains, a lot of debris is caught in the nets—bottles, sticks, tires, balls, even Styrofoam coolers. Periodically, a maintenance crew spends many hours scooping the debris out of the creek with a track hoe.
Proverbs 2:11 comes to mind each time I pass those nets. As they prevent trash from polluting the lake, discretion and understanding can prevent trash from polluting my life. Discretion and understanding may seem like synonyms, but their definitions have subtle differences. Understanding is intellectual—comprehending what is right. Discretion is experiential—doing what is right in the most effective way at the appropriate moment.
We need both skills to avoid the dangers Solomon mentions in Proverbs 2:12-19: ways that are wicked, dark, and crooked as well as people who are devious, seductive, and perverse.
The Lake Junaluska nets keep dangerous debris out of the lake. Because the nets are constantly on duty, people can kayak, canoe, and fish in the lake. Waterfowl swim safely. Wildlife has an ample supply of drinking water. So much of God’s creation benefits from the lake’s cleanness.
Similarly, many people other than myself will reap the benefits if I keep the nets of discretion and understanding stretched across the creeks that flow into my life: work, friendships, media, trends, and experiences. Keeping my life clean affects not only my family, friends, and coworkers, but also anyone else I encounter day-to-day.
How do I obtain these protective nets? They can’t be purchased. They must be crafted. They’re handmade and heart-woven, made strong as I weave scripture and more scripture into my life. Here are four of my net scriptures: Romans 12:17-18, Colossians 3:12-15, Philippians 4:6-8, and 1 Peter 2:11-12.
How about you? What protective scriptural nets keep pollution out of your life?
- What do Proverbs 11:22 and Proverbs 19:11 teach us about the value of discretion? (Some versions use “wisdom” in 19:11).
- Read Romans 12:3-20. Which of these scriptural truths do you need to weave into your nets? Choose one or two to memorize this week.
- Read 2 Timothy 4:9-18. Demas, Alexander, and others didn’t keep their nets up. How did that affect Paul? How did Paul keep his nets in place in spite of other people’s failures?
- The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about setting up nets, or guards. You might also want to read the posts on Proverbs 4:23 and Proverbs 13:3.
Denise K. Loock