There are many times in Scripture where there are reminders of knowing how to conduct ourselves in life as Christians. In Proverbs 20, it gives us reminders on how we ought to live as aliens in this world. Examples go as far as how we should conduct ourselves with having wine, restraining from lying or gossiping, handling business in a godly manner, and simply submitting to His sovereign will.
Why is it important we conduct ourselves in a godly manner? It brings glory to God, and it can also give reasons for us to defend the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15). It is imperative that we desire to know how to conduct ourselves in earthly affairs.
Throughout this chapter, there is wisdom on the practical application on how we should conduct ourselves as true believers in Christ. Here are the few reasons given on how we should glorify God in our conduct: we should glorify God in self-control, in our speech, and our allegiance to Him.
Glorifying God in Self-Control (vs. 1-10)
Proverbs 20:1 states, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” It is a beginning of a theme of having temperance, which means to have self-control or restraint. When it comes to alcohol, how do you conduct yourself? Do you have self-control when you're drinking? Does it change your behavior or make your judgment cloudy? Although alcohol is not a sin to enjoy, it is profitable to consume in moderation, and Scripture talks loudly about drunkenness being a sin. The Greek word for temperance is ἐγκράτεια, (egkráteia), meaning self-control or mastery. Have you mastered the art of self-control or self-restraint? When it comes to self-control, how do you do? Do you desire to honor the Lord and not partake in sinning by drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18)? Drunkenness leads to moral intemperance and is clearly contrary to God's will for our lives. His will for His children is for them to be filled with His Spirit.
Being lazy (v. 4) can attribute to having the lack of self-control. There shouldn't be any laziness in the life of a believer. When God gives us a new nature, He empowers us with His Spirit to be able to be diligent in working and be productive with our time: "Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor" (Proverbs 12:24). Are you being productive with your time? How do you utilize your time at work? Are you working as unto the Lord according to Colossians 3:23-24? Do you remember to honor Him at your job in doing what the boss requires for you to do (as long as it's not sinning)?
Glorifying God in Our Speech (vs. 17, 20)
Proverbs 20:17 says, "Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterward his mouth shall be filled with gravel." Lying maybe sweet like a cinnamon bun or a nice hot roll but not for long; it ultimately leads to distrust and sinning against God. It is never positive, and sin will find you out (Numbers 32:23). Is it lying on a resume? Lying to the IRS? To your friends? To your parents? In your marriage? Repent and run to the God of truth and beg His forgiveness. Like gravel, it can be painful when you step on it with bare feet - imagine having full of gravel in your mouth! Sin is painful and impossible to enjoy. Dishonesty will ruin you. Make it in your conduct to have integrity and honesty in your character traits of a godly person, who seeks to glorify God in all you do.
Gossip will also do damage, and it can spread like wildfire. God warns us about gossip and how we should stay away from people who gossip; we are to guard our words when we choose to speak about others. "A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much" (v. 19). Nothing is hidden from the Lord's sight...He sees and hears all.
Glorifying God in Our Allegiance to Him (v. 24)
Do you have plans for today, tomorrow, or next week (v. 24)? God governs the universe, by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). He will alter your days in however He chooses to bring glory to Himself. Wise men will submit to God, knowing they can never determine the forecast or change the future. He knows the end from the beginning, and yet, we don’t even know what tomorrow will bring (Proverbs 27:1). We can plan, but the Lord rules the details of our lives. He created all and governs it all for His own pleasure (Ephesians 11:1; Isaiah 46:10). Since we do not know what His secret things are, we as believers go to God in prayer until they are revealed (Deuteronomy 29:29).
We often devise plans, but we know the Lord rules the details and fully trust in Him because He rules the future, saints. Do not despair in His secret things, but rather, rejoice and trust in His goodness. There is rest in whatever He chooses to do, and it will be for your good and for His glory. Seek Christ, keep His commandments, be cheerful, and give thanks regardless of your circumstances in this life. That's how we can glorify God in our allegiance to Him.
Whether it’s honoring your parents (v. 20), seeking counsel from older wise believers (v. 29), or obeying civil authority (v. 28), it is wisdom that the Lord has graciously blessed you with in order to honor Him.
Bhoranie Seide currently resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is a lover of theology, a style blogger, and an author of book called Unveiling Your Style: Becoming A New You Through Fashion, Style, and Grace. You may follow more of Bhoranie on her website, Bhoranie Speaks.