Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked;

whoever guards his soul will keep far from them.

Train up a child in the way he should go;

even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:5-6

There is a tendency to read vs. 6 as a call to ensure that a child, student, grandchild, niece, nephew, etc. has a meaningful life—where meaningful is a mixture of financial independence in work that fits their personality and temperament—all the while being a person of good character and morals.

On the surface this seems good. Who doesn’t want a life of fulfillment and moral integrity for a child with whom they have some significant relationship (such as those mentioned above)? And after all, is it not also a good thing to recognize and nurture their uniqueness and individuality?

I argue that while both of these things are good, only one of them, according to Proverbs 22:6 is to have prominence. That is to say, one of these is more important than the other. It is far more important that they have great character (i.e. being like and following Jesus) than that, say, they get into a good college.  What they become on the inside is vastly more important than what they become on the outside.

We prioritize this inward growth and transformation, by ‘training them up’ or, in other words, placing them on a path that leads to life with God now and forever. Such a path leads them away from the snares and thorns that line the path to destruction and teaches them to guard their own soul as they strike out on their own later in life.

Posted by Craig Lester with


Saturday morning, I was reading some Psalms. Psalm 4:8 caught my eye: "Be angry and do not sin: ponder in your own hearts on your beds and be silent." Naturally it reminded me of Eph. 4:26, 27: "Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger; and give no opportunity to the devil." They probably caught my eye because that morning I was allowing some thoughts to fester in my mind over information I lacked. Truly the thoughts were not even worth the time given them. So why did I give them the time of day? As I finished reading God’s word in another Psalm, I read: Ps. 40:4 "Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie."  I realized the Lord was saying to me, "Patti, trust in Me, don’t go to your pride, don’t listen to the lies."

You see, my whole thought processes that morning were stirred from a lie that I chose to consider. I had no basis for the lie. I could have made a simple phone call and cleared it up, but because I was listening to the lie that was quickly growing into other possible lies, I wouldn’t make the call. I was waiting for my husband to “call me”.

I came to church Sunday and listened to Pastor Marc preach on the conclusion of Titus 1. Although that powerful sermon was on the importance of doctrine, the principles of the process of being lured away from sound doctrine are just as applicable to being lured away from devotion to Christ in my marriage. Pastor Marc asked/stated to us: “How is Satan tempting you to think away from devotion to Christ? The battlefield is in your mind.” “False doctrine meets a need to the point that you’ll ignore truth to get that need met.” “How are you overlooking error, lies, untruth and to what end?” “The stronghold God wants in your life is His word” “Sound doctrine”, he said, “is healthy, balanced and all aspects are working together based on the full purpose of God’s word.” I likened his examples of balance to ‘looking at both sides of a coin’; not just the side you like or want to hear.

In my marriage, I need to pay attention to what I’m thinking about my marriage, my husband. I need to recognize lies and remember the truth. I need to separate what I ‘feel’ from what is real. It saddens me that I still can get so easily swept away from my devotion to Christ and therefore even my devotion to Manuel through a simple lie in my MIND because I do in fact have a need I’d like met. It saddens me that in my pride I’ll fuel the lie rather than humbling myself. If I don’t catch myself soon enough, I can allow myself to become angry and icy by the time I do talk to Manuel or by the time he gets home. And he is clueless. How wrong. I speak to you about my experience and what I do; but, it is a problem that runs in all marriages, in both husbands as well as wives.  How it grieves the Lord when we allow those thoughts to turn into actions that do not manifest the love of God in our lives. So, God said to us, "Trust in Me, let go of your pride, stop listening to the lies. Don’t give in to anger and sin. Listen to Me. Let Me meet your need first and foremost. Love Me first and foremost." We can be so easily deceived and lured away from imperfect love of our spouse… and the perfect love of our Father. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. His mercies are new every morning. He is faithful to forgive us, cleanse us, He renews a right spirit within us and He faithfully keeps working on us. He is the potter, We are the clay. I pray His word will be the stronghold in our lives that keeps us coming to Him.

Posted by Patti Calderon with

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