Proverbs 27

Do not boast about tomorrow,
    for you do not know what a day may bring.
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
    a stranger, and not your own lips.
A stone is heavy, and sand is weighty,
    but a fool's provocation is heavier than both.
Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming,
    but who can stand before jealousy?
Better is open rebuke
    than hidden love.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
    profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
One who is full loathes honey,
    but to one who is hungry everything bitter is sweet.
Like a bird that strays from its nest
    is a man who strays from his home.
Oil and perfume make the heart glad,
    and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.
10 Do not forsake your friend and your father's friend,
    and do not go to your brother's house in the day of your calamity.
Better is a neighbor who is near
    than a brother who is far away.
11 Be wise, my son, and make my heart glad,
    that I may answer him who reproaches me.
12 The prudent sees danger and hides himself,
    but the simple go on and suffer for it.
13 Take a man's garment when he has put up security for a stranger,
    and hold it in pledge when he puts up security for an adulteress.
14 Whoever blesses his neighbor with a loud voice,
    rising early in the morning,
    will be counted as cursing.
15 A continual dripping on a rainy day
    and a quarrelsome wife are alike;
16 to restrain her is to restrain the wind
    or to grasp oil in one's right hand.
17 Iron sharpens iron,
    and one man sharpens another.
18 Whoever tends a fig tree will eat its fruit,
    and he who guards his master will be honored.
19 As in water face reflects face,
    so the heart of man reflects the man.
20 Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied,
    and never satisfied are the eyes of man.
21 The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,
    and a man is tested by his praise.
22 Crush a fool in a mortar with a pestle
    along with crushed grain,
    yet his folly will not depart from him.
23 Know well the condition of your flocks,
    and give attention to your herds,
24 for riches do not last forever;
    and does a crown endure to all generations?
25 When the grass is gone and the new growth appears
    and the vegetation of the mountains is gathered,
26 the lambs will provide your clothing,
    and the goats the price of a field.
27 There will be enough goats' milk for your food,
    for the food of your household
    and maintenance for your girls.

I coined the phrase “There’s no growth in easy” when I was a young mom and faced refining challenges in my life. I came to see that when God tests my heart and allows challenges to enter my story, He gives me opportunities to grow in Christlikeness (Proverbs 17:3). Challenges are a gift to embrace rather than to hold at arm’s length, even though they are often uncomfortable. Today’s key verse from Proverbs 27 describes one way we are given growth opportunities — through how we respond to praise. Just like precious metals are refined through heat, we experience a refining as we are tested with a seemingly good thing — praise (vs. 21).

Earlier in the chapter, the wise man says, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips” (vs. 1-2). Simply put, let others express warm approval and admiration for you, and don’t heap it on yourself. And even in the receiving of praise, be careful how you respond, for this, too, reveals your heart.

Pause: The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and a man is tested by his praise (vs. 21).

Ponder: How do I view praise? Do I heap it on myself or await the praise of others? If I wait, how do I respond to praise? Am I living with gratitude toward God or am I living puffed up?

Pray: Lord, thank You for giving me opportunities to grow in Christlikeness, even when the testing makes me uncomfortable. I pray for a humble heart to await man’s praises and then receive them well. May gratitude ever flow out of me.

— Jaime Sherman