A calm spirit: Proverbs 17:27 says, A person of understanding is of a calm spirit.
If you had to pick only one of the above character traits to best describe yourself, which of the two would you choose? Be honest, now. Are you generally a calm person or is hasty a better word to describe you?
To help you make your choice...
A hasty person is often in a hurry, urged on by pressing business, excitable, easily irritated and short-tempered.*
A calm person is cool, moderate, not easily provoked, humble, patient and long-suffering.*
Calm or Hasty. Have you made your choice?
Two verses in the book of Proverbs give us insight into these two opposite traits. Let's read them now.
He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly. Proverbs 14:29
He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent (calm) spirit. Proverbs 17:27
Proverbs 14:29 refuses to beat around the bush, doesn't it? He that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly. In other words,
Hastiness = Foolishness.
But in contrast, Proverbs 17:27 says, A person of understanding is of a calm spirit. Therefore,
Calmness = Wisdom
Hasty vs. Calm Foolish vs. Wise
Total opposite descriptions with total opposite results.
When I am hasty I actually set up and display my foolishness as a banner for everyone to see. But the opposite is also true. When I choose to be calm, I lift up and exhibit wisdom to all those around me. Hmm... I know the characteristic I'd like to consistently display in my life, but is it the same one I demonstrate most often?
What areas in your life cause you to lose your calm, excellent spirit and open the door for a hasty spirit to come rushing in? My list includes many things; running late or being short on time, frustrations with my children, overtiredness, disorganization, computer problems, and, probably at the top of my list, busyness. These things, along with others, are like the first push that sets a domino effect in motion and begins to raise the flag of foolishness in my life. But this does not have to be. Hastiness may knock down the first domino but calmness doesn't even touch it. When I choose to be calm, wisdom takes the stand. Instead of the domino effect, each piece stands tall and aright, waving the flag of wisdom on high.
How about you? Which spirit is most displayed in your life - a hasty spirit or an excellent spirit? Can you pinpoint areas in your life that set hastiness (and therefore foolishness) in motion? If we demonstrate a hasty spirit more often than an excellent spirit, something had better be adjusted. If busyness is one cause, (which in my life can actually be the starting point for other things on my list - disorganization, running late, etc.) we must make changes. We are only as busy as we choose to be. None of us want to be parading our foolishness around for all to see. Is a hasty spirit controlling you? Calmness can stop it in mid-action. The next time you're rushing out the door or getting frustrated over your circumstances, stop and ask yourself; Am I being hasty of spirit or of an excellent spirit? Am I displaying foolishness or wisdom?
Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. Proverbs 4:5-9
* according to Webster's 1828 dictionary
Written by Zonya Bergsma Reach Hearts Ministries