• Jason Wade


19 Listen, my son, and be wise,

and set your heart on the right path:

20 Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat,

21 for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

Proverbs 23:19-21

If you have ever seen the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or the older version of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the character Veruca Salt may be one that you remember. She was the daughter of a very well to do family, and she struggled with wanting to have everything. She literally had a passion to own the world. But to be honest, all of the characters in the movie had an issue of some form of uncontrollable desires except for Charlie. Violet Beauregarde struggled with chewing gum, Augustus Gloop struggled with gluttony, Mike Tevee struggled with obsession of games and TV. All of them had something that was controlling their life and ultimately led to their downfall. Why do I mention this today, because this is the same lesson on wisdom that we hear from the teachings of Solomon. There are many things that unfortunately control our lives and we eventually find ourselves in situations where we truly struggle in our daily journey. Just like each of these characters, we have things that may seem to control our lives and we need to find the path that will help us to overcome these shortcomings.

I know that it is not going to be easy. In fact I know that there are times where we are so caught in the indulges of life that we cannot even recognize that we are in this pit of despair and destruction. We catch ourselves trying to look at every one else that is around us and point out their flaws. When we should be taking a stronger look in the mirror and having God to help us overcome the shackles. Gluttonous behavior is not just in the form of food. On the contrary, we find ourselves truly struggling to recognize that there are things in our lives that have us pinned down. I tell people all of the time that if you are doing something that you don't realize, and it takes up several hours of your day, you may be living in a

gluttonous scenario. For me, I know that there is a time that my whole family are gluttons of social media and technological devices. I know that I can find my girls lost in their iPads and not realize that they have lost an entire day of opportunity to change the world. I remember when I was in high school, I would find myself playing NCAA College Football on my Playstation from sun up to sun down. When I was finished I would find myself tired and as if something had run over me. It had zapped all of my energy from my body and caused me to truly feel as though I was wiped out. When we tend to be controlled by these type of actions, we lost the ability to recognize was is best for us because we are lost in the moment and find ourselves controlled instead of being in control.

Solomon pretty much gets to the heart of the matter in his words to us today. Once again Solomon is reminding us that we should be quick to listen and discern the steps that we should take. The path is something that we all may understand to be the steps we take in our lives. The decisions that we make to go one way or another continues to lay the foundations for our path. Solomon then enters into the conversation about indulging too much into things of this world. It would not matter which examples Solomon used, the major issue is that there are things that we allow to take over our lives and we find ourselves addicted to them in such a way that we lose control of who we are. In using drunkards or gluttony, Solomon is recognizing the struggles of the day of people that were getting too intoxicated to function and being way over weight because of their inability to eat properly. As I mentioned earlier, if Solomon was using the same words for today, he may actually talk about getting off of social media or watching how much time we spend playing video games or binge watching Netflix. The truth is that God has created us to move and be connected to the world, but not in a way that would cause us harm to ourselves. We are able to enjoy the things of this world, but doing it in a way that is healthy and in moderation. The true struggle is actually recognizing the struggles that we currently have that we may not realize.

To close today, I kinda do want to flip the story a little. In understanding the teachings from Solomon today, I hope and pray that we are able to see people as the beautiful creation God has created them to be for this world. I pray that just because they are having a bad turn in their current situation, we recognize the fact that we have all been in a situation that is out of our control. Being a Veruca means that we have an issue that has been conditioned in our lives, but just like Veruca it is not too late to turn it around. I know that she was considered to be a "BAD EGG", but I hope we all realize that we too have been defined as a

bad egg from time to time in our lives. All of us are in need of help from ourselves from time to time and I hope and pray that we glean from today that we need each other to really make it through this crazy life. We need to grow in wisdom and in truth and find ways to walk with each other in our times of need. Anyone can fall into a pit that they cannot get out of, but those who surround themselves with people who honestly care about them will find the strength to find their way back to the path of freedom from these chains. I pray that each day we continue to grow deeper in our ability to learn from those that have gone before us and that we are able to take the time to truly see who we really are. Veruca just needed someone to introduce her to God and things may have turned out a lot different.

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