Should we spend time learning, testing and understanding situations?
- Have you taken time to think about the impact your contribution makes to those around you – in your daily interactions, at home, out shopping or in your place of work?
- How satisfied would you be of you attainments?
We all know Peter in the Bible. Perhaps you have an image of him as you read this. He was outspoken. In the ninth chapter of Luke, we read the account of how Christ instructed the disciples. He took 3 of His disciples to a mountain to pray. Peter was one of them. While they were praying Jesus was filled in heavenly glory and it appeared that Moses and Elijah were speaking with Him. The disciples however had fallen asleep. When Peter awoke, renowned for saying what he thought on numerous occasions, he exclaimed that it was good to build three tabernacles, one for Christ, one for Moses and one for Elijah. In this verse we note that he stated all this without knowing what he was saying (Luke 9:33).
How many times have you said something in an impromptu and ill consider way and wished you had bit your tongue or thought before you spoke?
We often seek to look wise in front of others and pretend we have all the answers, but often this can get us into trouble not only with people but with God. It is a well-known fact that we cannot learn while we are speaking. We should observe what is happening or being said first. In that quiet space, we can listen for what God might be whispering to us. Many times the bad habit of speaking without thinking will hurt not only others, but you too.
There is nothing wrong in being quiet because you don’t know what to say. Generally people will respect you if you are honest and tell them you don’t know what to say, but can go away and pray about the situation or circumstance. Spend time thinking things through with God and get back to the person.
With more than 4 billion people using the internet today, we spend 80% of our time online, scanning our emails to browsing social media. There is an information overload in our culture, where sometimes it might be easier to google a question rather than pray about it. We are looking for answers. And we want them now. We don’t have the patience to wait. We seek people and places to fill the answers to our questions. Yet God is first at the top of the list, waiting for us to consult Him.
So how do we replace our sudden, hasty responses that are often imprudent and rash, for a more heedful way?
With an appropriate answer, how good and delightful is a word spoken at the right moment (Proverbs 15:23). Learning self-control allows us to subdue our impulse, emotions and behaviours with a more far sighted view of life. We have the power to not let our will control our words and actions. From this it will benefit our achievements, from our place of work or study and will impact our relationships with other people.
You may be wondering, how do I begin to develop this more cautious and tactical way of thinking.
- Is prudence a virtue that has long been forgotten? Where in our society we fail to remember how to act with goodness, while being discerning with the situations we confront every day.
- Can you recall the times where you acted impulsively without note of the consequences?
- Would you want to reverse a decision you wish you never made?
- Could you account for those moments where we should have used more common sense that would have prevented poor or rushed decision making?
- Are you unable to say no to others or things, even when you know that is the right thing to do?
Directing our thoughts, to changing our attitude, from one that is impulsive to being more prudent requires patience. Practice prudence at work, home or waiting at the checkout. In all you say and do, no matter where you are. With repeated progress this enables you to make wise decisions. In the long term you will make choices you won’t regret because you did the following:
- Acted more vigilantly,
- Discerned your needs,
- Set boundaries,
- Chose your friends wisely,
- Were intentional with your time,
- Became more confident in your decisions.
Are you careful and conscientious when confronted with conflicting or complicated choices?
Here are 7 practical ways you can acquire wisdom to develop prudence…
- Turn your ear toward wisdom and stretch your mind toward understanding. Proverbs 2:2
- Discretion will guard you and understanding will protect you. Proverbs 2:11
- Wisdom is found on the lips of those who have understanding, but there is a rod for the back of those with no sense. Proverbs 10:13
- Fools see their own way as right, but the wise listen to advice. Proverbs 12:15
- The prudent all act intelligently, but fools display their stupidity. Proverbs 13:16
- The naive believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps. Proverbs 14:15
- Good judgment proves that you are wise, and if you speak kindly, you can teach others. Proverbs 16:21
I recently came across this word magnanimity. One that is neglected and overlooked in our modern day lives, both at home and in the workplace. When we attain to act magnanimiously we are not doing things for our self gain, but for others. We are confident and choose excellence, in all we put our hands to, evident through our words and actions. So that when the circumstance arises, we can make the right and noble choices. We shouldn’t just show up, but we should opt for the role of stewardship in all we do.
- Ultimately, when we make decisions, we should be considering the impact this has on others, from those we respect to those we love.
- Frequently we need to consider what is being said to us in a situation, before we respond.
- By becoming prudent we are acting in a manner showing people we care and have thought about the future. Judging a situation and doing what is right.
- Have the ability to demonstrate self-control and avoid unnecessary risks. As we grow in confidence, we will become skilled in eluding and shunning temptations or saying and doing things we won’t regret.
- Because we regard what God would do, or how He would react to the situations we meet, clash with, run into and stumble upon.
- We can only achieve prudence gained from experience and knowledge, in being realistic to face life with caution and deliberation.
In week two, how can you improve an impulsive attitude and become more prudent? I would love to hear from you.