Proverbs 1:23-33 - 23If you will turn (repent) and give heed to my reproof, behold, I [Wisdom] will pour out my spirit upon you, I will make my words known to you.
24Because I have called and you have refused [to answer], have stretched out my hand and no man has heeded it,
25And you treated as nothing all my counsel and would accept none of my reproof,
26I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when the thing comes that shall cause you terror and panic--
27When your panic comes as a storm and desolation and your calamity comes on as a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you.
28Then will they call upon me [Wisdom] but I will not answer; they will seek me early and diligently but they will not find me.
29Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord,
30Would accept none of my counsel, and despised all my reproof,
31Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way and be satiated with their own devices.
32For the backsliding of the simple shall slay them, and the careless ease of [self-confident] fools shall destroy them.
33But whoso hearkens to me [Wisdom] shall dwell securely and in confident trust and shall be quiet, without fear or dread of evil.
Proverbs 31:26a - She opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom...
Recently, Tyler said something to me that was really profound, it helped me. He said, "God will respect anyone's right of freedom of choice." Everyone has complete freedom of choice! For the sinner or Non-Believer, God will completely protect their right to go to hell. He does not force ANYONE to choose Him. He is a Gentleman and allows each person to make their own decision whether to follow Him or not. He does the same for the Christian. He allows each Christian the CHOICE to follow and be obedient to Him. Equally, He allows them the choice to choose wrong if they want. If they want to choose to go "their way," He will allow them that choice. Again, He is a Gentleman and does not have ANY forced followers. Every person who follows Jesus, follows by their own free will.
I typically don't include such a large section of scripture, but this morning I just couldn't decide what to leave out, so I included Proverbs 1:23-33. I study out of a Zondervan Parallel Bible which includes the King James Version in one column and the Amplified Bible in the other column. I really like it. This morning, as we were introduced to Proverbs chapter 1, I read some of the notes at the bottom of my Bible. It made a great recommendation in saying this, "Wisdom here is personified. Read 'Wisdom of God' instead of 'Wisdom' and see the wonderful power of this book." That has been helpful to me as I have read Proverbs 1.
It has been helpful to realize that we can not change people, we can only be obedient to the leading of God's Voice & direction. In interacting with Christians and Non-Christians, He may lead us to share the Gospel with them. He may lead us to just listen. He may lead us to live by example. Ultimately though, however God may lead us in each situation, the person we are interacting with has choices to make on their own. They have the freedom to allow the Bible to be their guide, and be obedient to the Bible. OR, they have the free will to choose their feelings & "their" wants over what the Word says. Proverbs 1:23-33, to me, is a bit scary when read from the eyes of the person who chooses to go "THEIR WAY." I want to do what I want. I want to go MY way. I want to do it MY way! I don't care what the RIGHT thing to do is, I want to do it MY way. I don't feel like doing it the way the Bible says.
All I have to say is, YIKES! That is a scary place to be for that person. As believers, we have the responsibility to be obedient to what God tells us to do. If it's directing a friend, we need to be obedient in directing them. But.... ultimately they have Freedom of Choice.
Don't forget the power of prayer. Prayer changes things. When someone we love chooses to go "their way," remember that the power of prayer can always help them to soften to the leading of the Holy Spirit. That their "Freedom of Choice" would change to be a choice that would please our Heavenly Father.
Is their someone you need to pray for today? Is their someone you need to talk to today?