8 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

Job 34:1–36:33
2 Corinthians 4:1-12
Psalm 44:1-8
Proverbs 22:10-12

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

Proverbs 22:11 (NLT): “Whoever loves a pure heart and gracious speech will have the king as a friend.”

Reflections from Scripture:

As Solomon wrote Proverbs 22:11, he would have taken it personally. All of the other proverbs are true and helpful, but this one hit close to home. You see, Solomon was a king.

Proverbs 22:11 (NLT): “Whoever loves a pure heart and gracious speech will have the king as a friend.”

As a leader, Solomon knew of the intense strain that rested upon him almost constantly. But, Solomon was addressing something very personal in Proverbs 22:11. He knew that leadership can also be incredibly lonely.

  • The longer you are in leadership, the more likely you will have been hurt deeply by those you have led. So, to protect yourself from future harm, you might put up a “wall” that keeps you from enjoying relationships like so many others do.
  • The higher you climb, the more some people want to knock you down. It makes them feel powerful. So, you begin to question a little more frequently who you can trust.
  • The higher you climb, the more you are surrounded by folks who are ambitiously seeking their own interests and not the interests of the organization and the people within it. Therefore, they are incapable of being trusted or entrusted with authority.
  • The higher your climb, the greater the chance you will have to correct someone or remove them from positions of authority for indiscretions or incompetencies. In my experience, they rarely take that well. At that point, anything you have shared with them in private becomes ammunition to use against you. So, you learn not to be too transparent in future relationships.
  • It has also been my experience that many who profess to be Jesus-followers readily embrace God’s forgiveness of their own sins while harboring resentment, anger, and unforgiveness for a leader and his supposed offenses against them. 
  • I could go on and on regarding why leaders struggle to have friendships and know who they can trust.

Solomon would have felt this. He would have longed for friendships and relationships that he could trust. 

Well, who could he trust? As a king and leader, what kind of people would he have enjoyed being around him so that he could satisfy his heart’s longing for relationships?

Proverbs 22:11 (NLT): “Whoever loves a pure heart and gracious speech will have the king as a friend.”

He wanted people with “a pure heart.” They weren’t duplicitous. They wouldn’t say one thing to him and then something entirely different to folks out in the parking lot. They were people of integrity who he could trust because their hearts and motives were pure.

He wanted people with “gracious speech.” That means that they were known for being kind in what they said. Leaders know that if you talk badly about someone else in the leader’s presence, you’ll probably talk badly about the leader in someone else’s presence.

So, if you’re a leader, this verse provides a couple of the qualifications of people that you will want to surround yourself with.

If you aren’t in a leadership position and want to be a blessing to those who are, ask God to give you these qualities in abundance. Leaders are looking for people with pure hearts and gracious speech.

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your Word that always helps me understand how I am to think and live. I pray that my love for Your Word and desire to obey You continues to grow so that I can honor You and be a blessing to others. Even as I read about leaders and those who are safe enough to be friends, help me apply this truth to my own life. I pray this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash