The book of Proverbs paints a vivid image of foolishness: “As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly” (26:11). The shocking nature of this image makes it hard to forget. Of course, we could also say, “We should learn from our mistakes,” but that wouldn’t be half as impactful.
Images convey meaning in a powerful and effective way. That’s one reason Jesus often taught using parables. His picture of the wise and foolish builders illustrates the principle that godly learning means putting knowledge into practice. A wise builder constructs his house on a rock (vv. 47–48). When the storms come, the house endures. The wise person not only hears Jesus’ words but also puts them into practice. By contrast, a foolish person builds his house with no foundation or on a foundation of sand (v. 49; Matt. 7:24–27). When the storms come, the house collapses. He represents the person who hears Jesus’ words and does not put them into practice. The difference is obedience!
It’s absurd to call Jesus “Lord” and not to do what He says (v. 46). It’s as ridiculous as a person looking in the mirror but then forgetting what he looks like (James 1:22–25). The key to Bible-based living is straightforward: “Do what it says” (v. 22).
We may think it’s possible to “learn” only with our heads, but Scripture says differently. Knowledge must affect our heads, hearts, words, and actions—everything! Orthodoxy (right doctrine) must be accompanied by orthopraxy (right practice). To put Jesus’ words into practice means to take them from idea to action and from thought to deed. This is not a one-time thing but a spiritual habit or discipline. After all, we’re being transformed into the image of Christ (Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor. 3:18)!
>> The Book of Proverbs has many engaging images of wisdom and folly. We encourage you to use a concordance or other study tool to pursue further learning in this area.
Lord, forgive us if we have only been giving You lip service. Give us resolve to take steps of obedience, so that our lives show Your rule over us. May we be willing servants who joyfully obey You!