“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.” Proverbs 27: 1-2
On Tuesday I shared how my family learns scriptures by setting the words to songs. If you missed that post, click here.
Just as important as memorizing scripture is knowing what the scripture means. So just how did I apply the meaning of this verse to real life for children of various ages?
A whole lesson can be done on just the word boast, although this verse has so much more.
1) It clearly says not to brag. Does this mean we cannot share things with others that we do well or are proud of?
* We can teach to check our motive before speaking or sharing. Our motive should be pure, meaning our reason for sharing is not to gain attention, to look better than someone, or to put another person down. Our motive is to share something we are excited about.
* Talk about motive. Our motive for sharing good news or our successes should be pure. Knowing this principle helps a child (and us) think through the difference between bragging and sharing exciting news. It helps them make right choices of whether or not it is okay to:
- show a friend their newest trick they can do on their bike
- let their friends know they made an A on a super-hard literature writing assignment
- share about being accepted into medical school
- show their new purple Converse tennis shoes
2) The verse says not to brag about tomorrow for we don’t know what tomorrow may bring. This means our trust needs to be in God, not in ourselves, our talents, strengths, skills, abilities, money, jobs, or possessions.
- The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. He has made us, created each of us uniquely with nothing to brag about in our own strength, but all glory should go to Him. We can not count on our own ability being here tomorrow. Our job is to give our whole selves to Him and use all that He has given us in talents and resources with a pure heart of serving today.
- This means letting go of wanting to manipulate things by trying to make things happen. This applies to waiting on God to bring a future spouse to us rather than, as teenagers, trying to make sure people notice us so that we are sure to get a date. We should be so confident in God’s plan, knowing His timing is perfect, His way is best, His person is far better than we could imagine, that we serve Him wherever He calls us — even if it is working with preschoolers while all of our friends are in the college program mingling with each other.
- If the house we want to buy is sold to someone else, should we be mad or should we immediately recognize that it was not God’s will for us?Things are not important to God. People are. Be about others. If you are more concerned about your nice car, house, or clothes, your priorities will be out of line. Are you more concerned about keeping your second car in mint condition rather than letting the furloughed missionaries use it while visiting?
- If your vacuum lines on the carpet become more important to you than opening your home, as God leads you to do, to allow a group from the youth group to come over, then you are not fully aware that you are holding onto something that could be gone tomorrow, rather than investing in people.
- Everything we have should be given to the Lord to use for Him… even a child’s new basketball. He can be taught this so that he learns to easily share.
4) Let another man praise you, and not your own lips.
- There it is again; don’t brag. In fact, if you’re good at something, someone else is going to notice anyway. You don’t have to tell them.
- Our focus, our motive, should be on serving and glorifying the Lord. When our motive easily slips into “I want people to notice me” or “I am doing this so people can see my talents,” we should stop our activity until our motive is right.
- If you have a child who brags on everything, stop the world (stop the busyness of life and make this a priority) and deal with the deeper issue of the heart.
- Perhaps there is a problem with putting things over people. If this is the case, most likely sharing is difficult because this person likes his things just right, for no one to touch his things. Teach this child to share and to be about relationships more than “hey, look at my new shoes… AAHH. Don’t step on my new shoes! MOM, He got my shoes dirty!”
- There is no reason for us to try to impress anyone.
- Teach kids how to receive a compliment. When someone says, “You look nice,” say “thank you” not “No, I don’t. I forgot to wear my mascara.” One is respectful and one response puts the other person in an awkward situation.
- Teach kids how to deflect praise. A compliment to your child of “You play basketball so great” could be replied with “Thank you. I have my older brother to thank for playing on the court with me and teaching me the ropes.” Perhaps you’ve heard Heisman Trophy winner Florida Gator Quarterback Tim Tebow say when complimented that his whole team works hard to make things happen.
- Teach kids how to give a compliment – sincere, specific words rather than flattery (lots of verses on this in Proverbs!) This helps kids cheer for others, be comfortable with the success and strengths of others as well as confident in the way the Lord has created them.
- We should be complimenting our children on character, on their heart, on motives far more than on the outward appearance, although I do think we should tell our children how beautiful/handsome God has made them.
- Encouraging words should flow from our lips to others with the motive to build them up. They should not be spoken with the motive to look good or to gain friends. “Encourage one another and build each other up” Ephesians 4:29 and I Thes 5:11