How Much Will You Lose?
“How much will you lose if you follow Jesus?” That’s the devil’s favorite question; he has successfully used it more than any other to lead billions to hell.
The Bible clearly warns that there will be loss in following Jesus. However, it also teaches that there are compensating gains. So, in addition to counting the cost, we must also count the profit. Yes, there are expenses, but there’s also income.
Proverbs 3:1–10 helps us answer God’s question, “How much will you gain if you follow wisdom?” In this article, we’ll audit wisdom’s material gains.
Wisdom Will Usually Make Your Life Better in the Long Term
Let’s pause to identify three general principles that will help us in our Wisdom University classes. First, by saying “usually,” we’re acknowledging that the proverbs give us general rules, but also that there are exceptions. Proverbs are not cast-iron guarantees, but general maxims that usually work out in life (though not always in the way we think).
Second, in the context of the book of Proverbs, better means “more blessed by God,” which means “more approved by God.” That approval is sometimes manifested in material success, but always in spiritual prosperity.
Third, the proverbs are more about the long term. We might experience short-term losses along the way, but ultimately we’ll attain perfectly blessed living forever.
Wisdom promises short-term pains but long-term gains.
Four Rewards from Wisdom
Proverbs 3:1–10 has five sections that call us to a certain action with an incentive that follows that action. It’s a “rule-reward” pattern. Verses 1–2 introduce the pattern and verses 3–10 show us how it works out in four specific areas.
- Rule: Remember and obey my commands from the heart (Prov. 3:1).
- Reward: Increased quantity and quality of life (Prov. 3:2; Ex. 20:12; John 6:35, 68).
But remember, this rule-reward structure is in the context of a loving relationship. The chapter begins with “my son.” Rules cannot start a relationship, but they do keep it happy and healthy. It’s not “here are the rules to become my son” but “here are the rules to keep our Father-child relationship healthy.”
Better relationships (Prov. 3:3–4)
- Rule: Tattoo kindness and truth on your heart and wear them as a necklace.
- Reward: You will enjoy love and respect from God and people (Luke 2:52).
Better choices (Prov. 3:5–6)
- Rule: In every situation, wholeheartedly submit to God’s providence and follow his word instead of your own intelligence.
- Reward: God will guide you along a straight path to better decisions.
Better health (Prov. 3:7–8)
- Rule: Don’t be in awe of your own mind but of God’s, in order to stop sinning.
- Reward: You will flourish and thrive in every way, spiritually and physically (Prov. 12:4; 14:30; 15:30; 16:24; 17:22; 3 John 2).
Better finances (Prov. 3:9–10)
- Rule: Recognize that all you have is from God and for God (Mark 12:44; 1 Cor. 16:2).
- Reward: You will have all you need and more (Matt. 6:33; Mark 10:29–30).
God gives us lesser rewards on earth to entice us to the highest rewards in heaven.
This article is adapted from Proverbs: Stories of Wisdom and Folly by David Murray.
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