20 Life Lessons Proverbs Taught Me

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When it comes to life lessons and wisdom, Proverbs is like the ultimate roadmap.  It’s filled with so many life lessons to help us tackle some of life’s everyday challenges and to help build great character.   King Soloman prayed to God for wisdom and God granted his request.  Soloman then compiled some of that wisdom into the book that is Proverbs.

I’d like to think that if Soloman was alive today he’d probably quote Jay-Z and tell us, “Sol did that so hopefully you wouldn’t have to go through that.”  I mean seriously some life lessons we can avoid learning through experience by reading his wisdom.  Growing up my mom quoted Proverbs 4:5 to me and my siblings more than once and for that I am grateful.

Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them.

– Proverbs 4:5 

20 Life Lessons From Proverbs To Live By

So one of my goals for this year was to get back on track with reading my Bible and my Bible journaling.  I will admit that I didn’t get off to a strong start.  However, I was recently gifted a new Bible- CSM Study Bible For Women– that has helped to motivate me to change that.  Seriously, this is probably one of these most beautiful and in-depth Bibles I’ve ever owned.

One of the first books, I delved in was Proverbs of course.  So here 20 of my favorite life lessons/guidelines as outlined from those Soloman’s writings.

1.  Stay Loyal, Be Faithful

Never let loyalty and faithfulness leave you.  Tie them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.  Then you will find favor and high regard with God and people.

– Proverbs 3:3-4 

I see so many people struggling with trying to find and invent ways to get on other people’s good side so that they can get favoritism.  However, the answer to getting favor nothing only with those people but God as well is being loyal and faithful/trustworthy.  People really respect loyalty and faithfulness because it requires a certain level of discipline and respect that not everyone has.

2.  The Heart Is Sacred

Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.

– Proverbs 4:23 

If you didn’t know, the heart is one of the most important organs in the body.  And as the source of our very lives, we should always strive to protect it.  From watching what we eat to being more mindful of the people and things we let into our hearts, it’s important to stay on guard 24/7 to keep our hearts healthy and sacred.

3.  Follow Instructions, Accept Correction

The one who follows instruction is on the path to life, but the one who rejects correction goes astray.

– Proverbs 10:17 

I know it’s hard taking instructions and correction.  We’ve all those had those “I don’t need to you tell me what to do” and a few “I’m not trying to hear what you have to say right now because I’m grown” moments.  But sometimes it really pays to put pride and stubbornness to the side and listen, especially when we know that the correction and instruction are coming from the right place.  At the end of the day, we don’t know everything and we all need some tough love now and then.

4.  Don’t Front

Better to be disregarded, yet have a servant, than to act important but have no food.

– Proverbs 12:9 

This is not to be confused with faking it til you make it.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  However, if you’re going out coping the latest Gucci bag because you want to keep up with your favorite Instagram It Girl and you barely have money to cover your rent, that’s a problem.

In the words of the never-aging Pharrell, “Stop frontin’!”  Live within your means and make sure your basics are taken care of first.  Stack your leftover coins until you can actually afford that purse without putting yourself at risk of being evicted.

5.  Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

Even in laughter a heart may be sad, and joy may end in grief.

– Proverbs 14:13 

There was recently a discussion on Black Twitter about how we as Black people went through and are still growing through so much that we’ve mastered the art of masking our pain with laughter.  There’s so much truth in that and not just for Black people.  Remember how shocked we all were when actor Robin Williams committed suicide.  To us, it looked like he had it all and was happy but behind closed doors, he was really hurting.

Let this be a reminder that everything isn’t always as it appears.  Check-in on your friends who always seem so strong or like they have it together.  Chances are they really don’t.  And when you’re checking in on them, just be a listening ear.  Don’t try to fix them.

6.  Somebody’s Always Watching

The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, observing the wicked and the good.

– Proverbs 15:3 

My mom used to always tell me and my siblings to “Always do the right thing because even when you think no one is around, God is always watching.”  Even if you don’t believe in God, I think the greatest testament to how honest and pure of heart we are, are the things we do when we think no one is watching. 

7.  Patience And Control Are Virtues

Patience is better than power, and controlling one’s emotions, than capturing a city.

– Proverbs 16:32 

Nothing has taught me more about patience and emotional control than motherhood and marriage.  If I have power but I don’t have patience or the ability to control my emotions, I’m not going to be able to be the best mother and wife that I can be.  I’ll just be a ticking time bomb or one of those people who lets their emotions influence their decision making.  There are moments that I look back on and see how I’ve hurt people I care about because I didn’t exercise patience or control my emotions.  And y’all it’s not a good feeling.

8.  Choose Quality Over Quantity

One with many friends may be harmed, but there is a friend who stays closer than a brother.

– Proverbs 18:24 

This one pretty straightforward.  It’s better to have that one best friend that’s like family than to have a bunch friends who are always plotting behind your back.

9.  Do Your Research, Don’t Be Hasty

Even zeal is not good without knowledge, and the one who acts hastily sins.

– Proverbs 19:2 

Do your research before hopping on the bandwagon!   Remember everything isn’t always what it seems and people aren’t always who they say they are.  Don’t rush into things only to end up hurt later.

10.  Actions Speak Loud

Even a young man is known by his actions- by whether his behavior is pure and upright.

– Proverbs 20:11 

My mom always taught me let my actions speak for me.  She wasn’t big on hearing what was I going to do.  She wanted to see it!  In the words of the Migos, she wanted me to “walk it like I talk it.”

11.  Stop Talking Out The Side Of Your Neck

The one who guards his mouth and tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

– Proverbs 21:23 

I always hear people brag about not having a filter when it comes to the things that come out of their mouths and always find myself wondering, how is that a good thing?  Often times, it’s those same people who always caught up in some type of drama because their mouths have written checks that they couldn’t cash.  Sometimes, it pays to not have loose lips.

12.  Karma Is Real

The one who sows injustice will reap disaster, and the rod of his fury will be destroyed.

– Proverbs 22:8 

At the end of the day, we all reap what sow.  So, sow good seeds!

13.  Let Fools Be Fools

Don’t speak to a fool, for he will despise the insight of your words.

– Proverbs 23:9 

Know when to keep quiet because your words will fall on death ears.  This verse reminds me of the time Jesus had to flee from his own people because they didn’t want to hear what he say.  They started chasing him trying to kill him and God told him to just get on the boat and leave them to their own foolishness.

Not everyone is going to want to be saved or receive what you have to say.  It’s okay.  Let them be.

14.  Be The Bigger Person

Don’t say, “I’ll do to him what he did to me; I’ll repay the man for what he has done.”

– Proverbs 24:29 

The golden rule may be “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” but that doesn’t mean that we sink their level if they don’t treat us right.  In the words of Michelle Obama, “When they go low, we go high.”

15.  Kill Your Enemies With Kindness

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap buring coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.

– Proverbs 25:21-22 

Nothing gets under a person’s skin more than when you’re nice them after they’ve done nothing but wronged you.  Their guilt will eat them alive and honestly, that’s better than any revenge than you could ever dish out.

16.  Encourage Others

Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another.

– Proverbs 27:17 

There’s nothing I love more than when I see other people uplifting and encouraging others.  When we build up/sharpen other people we’re making our world a better place one person at a time.  We’re changing that person’s life for better.

17.  Let Others Brag About You

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth- a stranger, and not your own lips.

– Proverbs 27:2 

While there’s nothing wrong with bigging yourself up every now and then, nobody loves self-bragger or a person who’s always trying to rub their accomplishments in other people’s faces.  Also, this scripture has reminded me to brag more about my friends and loved ones when I see them doing their thing!  It’s reminded me that it’s important to celebrate people in my life so that they don’t always feel like they’re the only ones celebrating themselves.

18.  Don’t Go Chasing Fantasies

The one who works his land will have plenty of food, but whoever chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.

– Proverbs 28:19 

While fantasies can sometimes serve as inspiration for our dreams, it’s important to put in the actual work to accomplish said dreams.  Focusing on the fantasy will get you nowhere if you’re not taking actionable steps to live the life you desire.

19.  Give Back, Have Compassion

The one who gives to the poor will not be in need, but one who turns his eyes away will receive many curses.

– Proverbs 28:27

I’ve talked more than once about how I grew up poor and a lot of people showed compassion to me and my family.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for sending those people to us and I always pray that He will bless them ten-fold.  I’ve even had the opportunity to return the favor for some of those people when they were in need.

20.  Don’t Let Anger Be Your Guide

A fool gives full vent to his anger but a wise person holds it in check.

– Proverbs 29:11

Remember, it’s okay to be angry.  However, letting our anger consume us can change us for the worst and cause us to do things that we regret.   Find a way to channel that negative energy in a positive way instead.

If you’re looking to study more of the Bible, I definitely recommend starting with Proverbs.  There’s just such a wealth of information in there as far as guiding up and advising us on how to be decent and good human beings.  And if you’re in the market for a new Bible that’s tailored to women, you can’t wrong with the CSB Study Bible for Women.  Not only is it pretty to look at but it’s filled with all kinds of helpful tools like full-color maps, profiles on different Biblical characters, key verses for every book, an extensive index, doctrinal notes and more. 

You pick up your own CSB Study Bible for Women here or click here to enter to win one. 

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