Proverbs 3:4

So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.


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What a glorious description! What a noble ambition! Can a man or woman achieve this level of success in life? Yes! Dear reader, do you see the blessing here? It is an incredible privilege to be taught how to obtain this kind of favor and honor. This is the highest measure and standard for a person’s life. You can learn right now how to achieve it.

You first want to find favor in the sight of God and man. And if you are also known for good understanding, it is that much better. The proverb describes being blessed and preferred by God and men and having the reputation for wisdom and discretion. These are great goals, and the book of Proverbs teaches you how to obtain them (Pr 3:1-3).

Some few think that having a good reputation or loving favor from others is not very important, as long as God approves of them. But God inspired Solomon to write otherwise. A good reputation and loving favor from others is more important and valuable than wealth. Men make great effort and spend much time to acquire financial assets, but being approved, esteemed, and promoted by others is a better choice (Pr 22:1).

Samuel and Jesus both grew in favor with God and men (I Sam 2:26; Luke 2:52). They both thought it was an important goal, and they adjusted their lives accordingly. You want to follow these two holy examples. If you keep the two great commandments carefully – love of God and love of neighbor – you will achieve both goals. This means you will keep the golden rule perfectly, adjusted for what others truly desire (Matt 7:12).

It starts in the heart. Choose God as the most important object for your affection and attention (I Pet 3:15; Is 8:13). Then choose to purely and sincerely make others more important than yourself (Phil 2:3-4; Jas 3:17). With these pure motives, your speech will be gracious, and even important persons like kings will want you as a friend (Pr 22:11).

For you to be gracious, you must learn the wise use of self-consciousness. You need to become sensitive to all those around you in a new and deeper way so as to adjust your speech and conduct to meet their expectations and please them. This is not compromise, if the worship of God is not involved; it is discretion and an excellent spirit like Daniel. It has been said for career advancement that this self-consciousness is greater than genius.

Are these your goals today? Will you behave so that both God and men are pleased with your words and actions? Most cannot or will not adjust their conduct to help and please others, for they love their habits. The opportunity and privilege of earning these two great marks of character and wisdom should grip you. They are wonderful goals for your life.

Joseph behaved so well that Potiphar, his Egyptian slave owner, put all his assets totally under his care (Gen 39:1-6). When thrown unjustly in jail, he earned the same approval of the jailor (Gen 39:21). And when Pharaoh needed a wise and prudent man to oversee the preservation of the whole nation, he could think only of Joseph (Gen 41:38-45).

David behaved so well all Israel loved him and his name was much set by (I Sam 18). King Darius planned to promote Daniel over the whole empire for his excellent spirit (Dan 6:3); even his enemies could find no fault or error in him (Dan 6:4). Mordecai was great among the Jews, advanced by Ahasuerus, and accepted by his brethren (Es 10:3).

The Christian life is not petty rules and haughty liberty. It is much more – righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. And the man who does these things is accepted by God and approved of men (Rom 14:16-19), as was the early church (Acts 2:44-47). To be accepted by God and approved by men are the excellent ambitions of a successful life.

Mercy and truth are the preceding context (Pr 3:3); you will often find them together (Pr 14:22; 16:6; 20:28). Trusting the Lord with all your heart against your own ideas in every part of life is the following context (Pr 3:5-6). Learning the wisdom of this book is how you achieve these goals (Pr 2:1-9; 3:1-2; Josh 1:7-9; Ps 111:10). God bless you.

What is your life, Christian? Are you merely working, raising a family, getting older, and heading to the grave? Or is it even less than this sorry description? Or do the lofty ideals of this proverb attract you? Apply yourself to them today. True greatness is before you.

The word of God can perfect every flaw in your life, if you will read and obey it (Ps 19:7-11; Jas 1:21-25). To have God and man’s approval and blessing now is precious by itself, but approval of God now will also result in His approval later, which is far better.