Have you ever felt like there just aren’t enough hours in the day?  Do you feel like you are just always behind, and will never get it all done?  Does it feel like you are always chasing life, and never able to catch up?  If you stop and think today, could you describe your life as a constant game of 52-card pick-up?  You are always chasing, never able to get ahead.  You wake up stressed, in a hurry, and never able to get it all done, just wishing there was more time.  Why do so many of us feel this way?  Like we are constantly behind and never able to get it all done?  Why does life have to be so hard, so busy, with so few hours in the day?  Can’t it just leave us wishing that we had a time machine or the ability to add hours to the day?  When we live at a deficit, chasing life, it’s an overwhelming and stressful life, which is very common in people isn’t it?  This leads to a very important question, and it’s the very question that we will explore today.  Was life really meant to be this intense, this chaotic, this stressful, and overwhelming?  The real question is this, was life designed to be this chaotic, is that really part of God’s design?  How do you feel about this?  Was life supposed to be chaotic, lived at a deficit, in a state of being overwhelmed and frantic, or could our lives have been designed for order and peace?  This is what we discuss today as we continue this journey into Proverbs, learning the way of the wise.

So, before we move forward let me answer the big question of the day and relieve some tension.  The answer is no, life was not meant to be lived in a chaotic, intense, overwhelming fashion.  God did not design life this way.  In fact, our God is a God of order, not chaos.  Think about that for a moment, God is a God of order, not chaos.  This means that God doesn’t want you operating at a deficit, in constant chase mode, living in an emotionally violent way…He doesn’t want life leading you around, He wants to lead your life.  Yet so many of us are living our lives at a deficit, constantly chasing, always behind, frustrated, tired, stressed, and just wishing for more time.  It’s a reactive life.  We live reacting to life and being bullied around by our lives and schedules rather than living as God designed.  I slipped a question in earlier that I want to come back to because it is important.  Did you ever just wish for more time, just praying that God would give you a time machine, then life would be easier?  What if I told you that there is a way to live that literally adds time to your day?  What if I told you that we do have a time machine, and it’s found in Scripture?  Today we are going to dive into this reality of our lives and how we live them.  We are going to talk about how we can stop chasing life and living at a deficit and begin to add hours to our day.  We can add time, peace, and order to our lives because there is a way to live our best life which God has laid out for us and we find it in Proverbs, in Solomon’s manual for living.  Check this out…

Proverbs 9:11 Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life. NLT

Wait just a minute, did Solomon just say there is a way to live that will give us more time?  This isn’t the first time he has brought this up.  Do you remember reading this back in Chapter 3?

Proverbs 3:1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, 2 for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. ESV

So, this is a big deal, isn’t it?  Today we discover an incredible benefit to wisdom, and it’s this.  The way of the wise is orderly, not chaotic.  Wisdom brings peace, health, and order to our lives.  Wisdom adds time to our day and years to our lives.  Wisdom is the time machine we have been wishing for and what is interesting is we will only find this way of living if God is leading, it’s found inside God’s design.  When we live for ourselves, doing life our way, we never find this order, we will never have enough time, and we always live life at a deficit.  So, this time machine, this orderly peaceful life, can only be experienced through God.  This is a big day, a very important day for all of us who would love to add time to our lives, peace to our lives, and step out of the chaos and constant overwhelming state of our current situations.  If we want to be crystal clear, are lives lived outside of God’s design, which is another way of saying we are living outside of the way God intended us to live.   But before we dive in let’s think about where we have been so far in our journey to wisdom.

We opened this series by talking about what wisdom is and what wisdom is not.  We learned something very important about wisdom.  It is not the same thing as intelligence and knowledge.  You can have a lot of knowledge and be very smart and still not be wise.  Wisdom is knowledge AND the capacity to live out.  We began wrapping our hearts and minds around a pretty amazing thought.  While so many of us Christians focus on the fact that found in Scripture is a way to Heaven someday, and a way to understand God and His rules and commands for our lives which are very important and very true.  There is more!  God also loves us so much, that He also lays out a way for us to experience our best lives possible on this side of Eternity too!  This is a big deal.  We often look for the instruction manual for life and we learned that we literally have an instruction manual written by Solomon on how to live our best lives possible.  We also took the first steps to obtain that wisdom on that first day as we spoke of humility and the fear or reverence we must have for our Heavenly Father.

Proverbs 1:7 Start with God — the first step in learning is bowing down to God; only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning. MSG

Then last week Ken continued this dive into Learning the Way of the Wise, explaining that so much of our journeys in life will come down to the choices we make.  At some point, we will need to decide who or what the foundation of our lives will be.  We have a few options and Ken laid them out very clearly, didn’t he?  We can choose to live for people and the culture around us.  This is a very popular road taken by many.  We can choose to live for ourselves, which is the road our culture seems to be encouraging most these days or, we can do the rare thing, the wise thing, and choose to live for God.  Godly wisdom is when we choose to humble ourselves and live for God. It allows our lives to be vibrant and radiating life, and it’s rare to see.

Proverbs 4:18 The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day. 19 But the way of the wicked is like total darkness.  They have no idea what they are stumbling over. NLT

So that is where we have been on this journey to learning the way of the wise, and today we are going to look at this concept of living life inside of God’s orderly design.  The wise do not let life bully them around, our lives are meant to be orderly, not chaotic.  To get started, let’s take a very practical look at what we are talking about, and to do that we will look at two people, both very knowledgeable and intelligent, both understand time management, scheduling, and many good and important life principles on how life should be lived in a healthy way, but only one is wise.  And what do we know about the wise?  They not only have knowledge and intelligence they also have the capacity to live it out.  So, let’s look at a day in the life of our two people here today.

The Wise Person – First, let’s talk about the wise.  The wise person gets up rested with a good night of sleep.  They can do this because the day before they made the choice to prioritize their next day and rest well.  They choose to set an alarm and wake up early enough to spend time with God.  They can center here, and just breathe as they enjoy God’s Word, prayer, and a quiet time of reflection.  They eat a good breakfast and leave for work early.  Because of this choice, they get to work on time, (which is 15 minutes earlier), so there is no stress.  They can look people in the eye and love them well, they can think well because they slept well and ate well, and they can handle all the tough stuff that hits them because they are prepared, rested, physically, emotionally, and spiritually for their day.  They leave work when they should, and they say no to what they need to because they are living inside of Godly order and structure.  This means they have boundaries and priorities, so people can’t push them into doing things that are outside of their boundaries and priorities because they make well-thought-out decisions based on Godly advice inside their boundaries and priorities.  These choices now get them home a bit tired from their day but with a heart and mind that isn’t distracted by all the trivial drama from work, people, and those people’s words.  This margin and centeredness allow them to love on and lead their family well.  They are where their feet are.  They enjoy their day, and their time, and again are in bed at a good time fully aware that the next day is coming and will happen.  They go to bed at a decent time even though they would have loved to stay up late drinking, watching a sporting event or movie, and laughing with their friends, but it isn’t inside their boundaries and priorities because they are aware that another day is coming.  Their faith is actively part of every aspect of every day.  This means their faith life is consistent, and not volatile or compartmentalized only to Sundays but never is part of their work or home life, their faith is who they are, all the time. They have margin and space and love serving and engaging their church, and others because they have order in their life.  When they come to church, they are prayed up, and looking forward to being there, ready to love people, and excited to serve.  This is the way of the wise, a Godly life is a life of order, not chaos.  A person making wise, intentional, prioritized decisions that lead to health, to their best life possible.  So, it makes sense that Solomon would then say, if we follow his teaching and live wisely, it will add time to our lives, he literally designed a time machine, and is trying to give it to you.

Proverbs 3:1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, 2 for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. ESV

The Unwise – Now that we have looked at the wise person, let’s look at the unwise.  Remember, they both are intelligent and very knowledgeable people, they both know and understand how to live healthy lives and how to manage time…but only one is wise.  So, by their choices, it is the unwise person who lives in chaos.  This is the person who flies through life led by desires, and emotions and reacts to everything.  They have no boundaries.  They have no ability to prioritize or think through their decisions or to think past the moment they are in and with every decision, they only fall further behind in life.  They never have enough hours in the day because they are led by their feelings, cravings, and desires and live a reactive life.  Let’s look at what a day living this way can look like, to do so, we must look at the night before which sets up the typical day of the unwise.  So, the night before, they are tired, but they get a text in the group chat that their friends are going out, so even though they feel tired and have a big day the next day, they react, and they go out on the town.  They stay up late, with no priorities or thoughts about tomorrow, spending hours out with their friends, and having a great time.  Laughter and libations all around.  They get home late and have to get up early.  They ate poorly the night before, knowing that wings and pretzels at 11 pm aren’t great for their system these days, but it was fun.  Now, out of nowhere, it is the next morning.  The alarm is blaring, and they wake up late the next day, and they stressfully race to work, with their head still foggy and hurting from the night before.  They are almost startled or surprised that this day is happening. They are late so they are road raging their way passing on double yellows, angry the whole way, screaming at the windshield over the person with the audacity to go the speed limit that is now holding them up, racing into work at the last second to punch the clock.  Because of their choices, they are hungry, tired, and grumpy.  Their heart is racing, too stressful a day already, and it is just starting.  They are too late to talk and relate to people who need them.  No time with God to center and enjoy or simply prepare for the day, and all day long they are behind, at a deficit, playing 52-card pick-up.  They say things they shouldn’t because their hearts are not ok.  They worry about how they look to others and need to look busy and important all day long complaining about the stress and busy life they live.  They are so worried about appearing important that they can’t say no to anything, and may even stay late at work, even when the reality is they could have gone home if they could just make choices inside boundaries and priorities.  So, they get home late, they are completely empty and totally exhausted, and it jumps them into fighting with the family instead of loving them.  Still stressed and distracted by all that happened around them, they aren’t where their feet are because when you are tired all you can focus on is the negative stuff (and we know that negative stuff hits our lives each day)  And the cycle begins again because of the stress and overwhelmed feelings they need to blow off some steam or escape and then spend the night reacting to whatever they desire that evening, which means the next day, well it is gonna look just like this one…now, carry that out over a lifetime.  We spend our lives in chase mode, at a deficit, probably wondering why God would allow life to be so hard and overwhelming.  While choosing the unwise path of life, only to do it again the next day…then the next, crossing days off a calendar that is going by way too quickly.  No time with God, no priorities, no boundaries, and no thought of tomorrow, just living how we want, doing what they want as it happens, much like the life Paul described to us in Titus 3…

Titus 3:3 It wasn’t so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back. 4 But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, 5 he saved us from all that. MSG

This is the chaos of most lives today, living in the moment for the moment, outside of the very life that God lays out for us that could lead to our best lives possible.  Then wondering why God wouldn’t allow us to live our best lives possible.  So, the unwise live this way, then by Sunday, even though they love God, they have nothing to give, and suddenly being part of a Spiritual Family seems like a burden and becomes the only chance in their week to catch up on rest and life a bit, they need a “Me Day” without recognizing that every day of their life is a “Me Day,” which leads into another week back at square one again.  If they decide to come living in this deficit, exhausted, empty, and stressed, they inevitably come and are offended or hurt others, which gives them an excuse to dive back into the chaotic life they are choosing to live while not embracing their Spiritual Family.  They love God and want to go to Heaven but aren’t making choices to live inside God’s design.  They never grow and then wonder why this faith stuff doesn’t work for them, while never experiencing their best life possible, wondering why they can’t find the person they were called to be, all while being frustrated with life and God for giving them such a chaotic life.  Do you see it?  There is a way to live that leads to so much more than reacting through life…Godly wisdom leads us to choose to live God’s way which leads us to our best lives possible.

It’s the wise who find peace, health, and centeredness in their lives.  It’s the wise who literally find time while the unwise never have enough of it.  The wise live an orderly life, the unwise, not so much.  The wise are intentional and think through their day.  The unwise, not so much.  As I write this, I can’t help but think of something Solomon says later in this manual for living that really hits on this concept but may seem a little fuzzy if you aren’t paying attention, but he is saying that the wise do something here.

Proverbs 27:23 Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds, NLT

Ok, so you might be thinking Sam, I was tracking pretty well with you today, but you just lost me.  I’m not a farmer or shepherd so I’m not sure how this statement can relate to me today.  Well, let’s not think about this as an occupation, think about this for your life.  What is Solomon saying?  He is saying we need to be intentional and deliberate with our lives.  Think about your life practically speaking…you may not have flocks and herds, but you have cars, a home, possibly a yard, a computer that you use to work…yard equipment, tools for work…you have things that need to be maintained to keep them running smoothly.  You don’t have flocks or herds, but you have a bank account and finances that need to be taken care of or you can get into trouble really quickly.  You don’t have flocks or herds, but you have a heart, mind, and soul, and a physical body that also needs to be deliberately taken care of, right?  So, Solomon seems to be saying to me, that whether a farmer or a banker or a shepherd or a student, or a stay-at-home mom raising a family you must take inventory, be deliberate and live intentionally in life.

Ok, so let’s slow down and think for a moment because I want you to understand something about God.  He is a God of order, not chaos, and He loves us enough to lay out a way for us to live inside His design that is orderly, peaceful, healthy, and not hurried or chaotically lived at a deficit and when we live inside God’s design we find and experience our best lives possible.  But if you are thinking with me today, you may be wondering why I would say that God is a God of order, where is this idea coming from?  Well, I’m glad you asked, and I want you to track with me here for a bit as we move around Scripture and I show this to you, to you.  Now I said I want you tracking with me intentionally, because I have sat through sermons where the Pastor takes me from a particular subject to Genesis and Creation, and then to the New Testament while I thought we were studying something else, and it can be a bit confusing.  So, stay with me, and as we do this, remember, God loves us so much that He lays out a better way for us to live today, it’s a wise life.  And today we are learning that a wise life is orderly, not chaotic.  So, with that said, let’s look at this concept of God’s design, which starts all the way back in the beginning with Creation.  In how He created all things God is already showing us something, check this out…

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.  NIV

So, all the way back in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth from nothing, and I want you to see that He does so in an orderly way.  It shows us something, as all God’s Word in Scripture does.  There is an order to Creation and an order to how God works, and we humans are created in His image.  So, we need to see this.  Day 1 God created day and night.  That was a good day of work.   Day 2 God created the sky separating the water from the Earth from the water of the heavens.  That was enough good work for that day.  Day 3 God created the land and the sea, and all plants, trees, and vegetation and it was a good day.  Day 4 God made lights for day and night, the sun for the day, and the moon and stars for the night.  Another good day.  Day 5 God created the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, it was another good day’s work.   And on Day 6 God created life on the Earth, animals, and humans in His image, it was another good day of work.  Six rhythmic, deliberate, intentional days of work…and then the 7th day was what?  A day to rest from all the good work He had done.

Genesis 2:2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.  NIV

Now, this isn’t a trick question.  Do you think God gets tired?  I mean He is God, so I am not thinking He needed the rest, so in this, we are being shown the orderly design of how we are to function as people.  Why did I take the time to show you Creation in this Proverbs study?  Well, think about why this would be so deliberately recorded for us in Scripture.  God created the world in a deliberate orderly fashion.  He is showing us how to live, the rhythm of life and we need to see it.  God created us with a way to live life, and when we live in it we find order, we don’t chase life, we find our best lives because there is order, not chaos.  Solomon would say it’s as we live out Godly Wisdom that we find a better, healthier, orderly life because we are living inside God’s orderly design…and it’s a better way to live.

Proverbs 8:32 “So, my dear friends, listen carefully; those who embrace these my ways are most blessed. 33 Mark a life of discipline and live wisely; don’t squander your precious life. 34 Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me, awake and ready for me each morning, alert and responsive as I start my day’s work. 35 When you find me, you find life, real life, to say nothing of God’s good pleasure. 36 But if you wrong me, you damage your very soul; when you reject me, you’re flirting with death.” MSG

Do you see it?  There is an order to Creation.  There is an order to how we should live our lives.  There is a work, rest rhythm set in place from the moment time began.  And Solomon says it’s the wise who live this way.  Did you see it?  The way of the wise is orderly, not chaotic because we are living inside God’s design, and God is a God of order, not chaos.  Now, I have confidently said that phrase a lot, haven’t I?  Why?  Well, I find this in Scripture.  If we go to 1 Corinthians, we see Paul writing to his friends in Corinth, and he talks of God as orderly.  Now he is addressing worship here at this moment, but it truly shows us something about God that we need to see!

1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. NIV

This lines up so well with Solomon telling us what happens when we choose to live the way of the wise.

Proverbs 3:1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, 2 for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. ESV

Proverbs 3:17 Her (Wisdom) ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed.  NIV

So, think about this concept of the way of wisdom.  We start with fear or reverence for God.  We humbly follow how He says we should live.  We make choices to live inside God’s design, and inside the orderly rhythm of life as He designed it to be, and Solomon explains over and over again, it leads to a healthy, centered, peaceful life.  It leads us to find and experience our best lives possible.

So, as we close here today, I want us to slow down, and be very honest with ourselves.  I would like you to take some inventory of your life.  You know as that wise tweet from Solomon said earlier…

Proverbs 27:23 Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds, NLT

We need to know the state of our flocks and care for our herds.  So, let’s think about our lives and get very honest and personal here today.  We could separate our personal lives into three big areas that need to be cared for well.  We could call them three important areas of health in our lives.  Our mental health.  Our physical health and our Spiritual Health and ironically all three tie together.  For the sake of our tweet, let’s call them our flocks or herds.  There is other stuff, like our stuff but let’s focus on these three because if we get these areas right, wow would life look different!

Three areas of personal health, (the flocks or herds of our life we must care for)

  1. Mental Health
  2. Physical Health
  3. Spiritual Health

How are you doing in these areas of your life?  Are you tending to your flocks and caring for your herds?  What are some of the practical choices you make in your life that are very positive for these three big areas of your life?  How about your mental health?  Your physical health?  How about your spiritual health?  Now could you think through some of the practical choices you make each day that are not helping you find health in your life?   Please don’t leave this moment too quickly.  Take some time today, get out a piece of notebook paper, and make some lists.  Look intentionally at your life and learn the way of the wise.  The wise live a life of order, not chaos.  They don’t allow their emotions and feelings to lead their lives, they allow God to lead their lives and they live inside God’s design, and they experience their best lives possible.  They don’t react to life and are not bullied around by life, they make the practical choices to live as God intended, this is the way of the wise.

I would like you to think back to the two people we talked about earlier.  Both are intelligent, with plenty of knowledge on how to live a healthy, centered life, but only one is wise.  This means that only one is living a life of order, a life of peace, a life with margin, and a life with plenty of time.  So, let me ask you as we close, are you living an orderly life or a chaotic one?  Would you say you live intentionally, or do you live a life reacting to whatever happens next?  Are you always behind and wondering why there aren’t enough hours in the day?  Do you have boundaries and priorities in your life that lead you through your daily choices?  Do you react and follow your emotions allowing life and others to push you into the next thing you do?  Does every morning sneak up on you?  Should it?  Do you live at a deficit and if so, do you think that is how God intended you to live?  I know this may be challenging but think about this, all through our manual for living Solomon will keep bringing this up, and something on repeat in our Bible is very important…

Proverbs 8:34 Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me, awake and ready for me each morning, alert and responsive as I start my day’s work. 35 When you find me, you find life, real life, to say nothing of God’s good pleasure. 36 But if you wrong me, you damage your very soul; when you reject me, you’re flirting with death.” MSG

Do you see it?  There is a better way to live, and it’s found in the choice to live in Godly wisdom.  You don’t have to live at a deficit, you can add hours to your day, this happens as we make the practical daily choices to live inside God’s design, which is laid out for us in Scripture.  You walk through life wishing for a time machine?  Well, Solomon is trying to give you one, but you have to be humble enough to take this knowledge and then make the intentional daily choice to apply it to your life.  I will leave you with the wise word of Solomon because I can’t say it any better than this…

Proverbs 9:10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment. 11 Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life. 12 If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer. NLT

What tomorrow looks like is completely up to you.  Choose wisdom and find peace, health, order, and time, choose the way of the unwise and find chaos, and live in the overwhelming state of reaction, the choice is up to you.