The insight of self-awareness

Two verses in Proverbs affirm the kind of self-awareness that characterise the wise. You might not find the somewhat psychologised term “self-awareness” in the topic index at the back of your Bible, but the more active description of self-awareness is that of “give thought to” your deeds and lifestyle.

The first verse is Proverbs 14:15

The simple believes everything,
but the prudent gives thought to his step.

(ESV, emphasis added)

The second verse is Proverbs 21:29

A wicked man puts on a bold face,
but the upright gives thought to his ways.

(ESV emphasis added)

The first speaks of the prudent person. A prudent person is one who uses reason to determine his next action. As the proverbs states, a prudent man gives thought to his step. He does not act impulsively, nor does he react with passive resignation to what goes on around him (Pro 22:3). Instead, each step is considered in light of what is right, wise, and good.

The second speaks of the upright person. An upright person is one who maintains a high and consistent level of morality. As the proverbs states, an upright man gives thought to his ways. Whereas his steps refer to his specific course of action focussing on the next one in line, his ways refers more to all the steps put together. A man’s “ways” are the habits and characteristic behaviour of a person etched in his life over a period of time (Pro 4:26; Pro 11:5). By examining your existing habits and past behaviour in terms of morality (right VS wrong), you can easily determine if you are upright or not.

So, give thought to the next step in your life, and also consider your previous ways. Be self-aware. Reason with yourself about how to proceed, and prayerfully evaluate how your steps are defining your ways.

The insight of self-awareness
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