You might think you’re already an expert on wrecking your life, but over the course of five weeks, we’re going to help you take it to the next level!  We’ll be examining five excellent ways to totally ruin your life!

For some, this series will serve as a precautionary tale, but for most of us, it will be about how we can travel the road to recovery.  Throughout this series, we’ll draw on the journal of the wisest man ever to live: King Solomon.


Introduction

This week, Gene tackled two ways to wreck your life:

  1. Isolate yourself.  Cut yourself off from meaningful relationships and don’t let anyone speak into your life.

  2. Reject wisdom.  Prioritize money or fame or success or pleasure over wisdom.

  • How did you meet your best friend?


Understanding

Have a volunteer read Proverbs 13:20.

Solomon was smart, rich, handsome, powerful, and universally famous, a king’s king, the envy of nations, and yet he was the poster child of loneliness.  He had all kinds of parties, the adoration of millions of fans, 700 wives, and 300 mistresses.  Yet he was lonely.

History has seen some great partnerships: Woody had Buzz, Fred Flintstone had Barney Rubble, Batman had Robin, Laverne had Shirley, Zach had Screech, Jordan had Pippen.

But when you think about Solomon, there’s no one else who comes to mind.  Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “It’s lonely at the top”?  In reality, it doesn’t even matter if you’re at the top.  All of us at one point or another think, “No one gets what I deal with. It’s lonely where I am.”

The truth is, we flourish when we’re connected to others. We languish when we aren’t.

  • Have you ever intentionally or unintentionally isolated yourself?  What was the result?

Have a volunteer read Ecclesiastes 4:7-12.

What Solomon wrote thousands of years ago is confirmed by contemporary research.

People who have bad health habits such as smoking, a poor diet, physical inactivity, etc. but have strong social ties live significantly longer than people who have great health habits but are isolated.

An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, reported a study that indicated that those with strong emotional connections did four times better fighting off illness than those who were more isolated.  These people were less susceptible to colds, had fewer viruses, and produced significantly less mucous than relationally isolated people.

  • What impact have those closest to you had on your life?

Have a volunteer read Ecclesiastes 9:17-10:2.

There’s an interesting shift that occurs in Solomon’s writing style when you get to Ecclesiastes 7.  After telling us all these ways he wrecked his life, he reverts back to the writing style of his earlier writings that we find in the book of Proverbs.

He again shares nuggets of wisdom and tells us that wisdom, which comes from God, is a gift better than any other.

Proverbs says that folly is bound up in the heart of a child. In other words, we are all born with a case of the follies, we all are born with a bent toward foolishness, so Solomon says, do whatever you have to do to get wisdom.

  • Share a funny, foolish story from your childhood with the group.

Have volunteers read Proverbs 3:13-15, 4:5-8.

It’s like Solomon is saying that attaining wisdom is better than winning the lottery, discovering a buried treasure, or investing in Apple a decade ago.

If you’re a little unsure about that, think about people who have been raised by wise dads, dads who just seem to know when to encourage, when to coach, when to give a well-timed hug, and when to correct firmly.  How much healthier and happier are they than those whose dads were pretty foolish?

If we’re honest, some of us would have to admit that life has been pretty good. It’s been one long elevator ride to the top.  For those of us who fall into that camp, we must cultivate the gift of wisdom that God wants to give us to keep us steady, to keep from losing our spiritual equilibrium.  To keep our feet on the ground as God gives us blessings.

And some of us have had the opposite experience, whether because life dealt us a bad hand or because we’ve made mistakes and errors in judgment that have royally messed up our lives.  And those of us with that experience need God’s gift of wisdom all the more.

So how do you get wisdom?  It’s not complicated.  There are two things to do.

Have a volunteer read Proverbs 1:7.

You walk with God.  You decide to follow Jesus, which is more than making a decision to intellectually believe in Jesus.  That’s certainly where it starts, but then it continues with the following part, the time spent in prayer and in God’s word, the pursuit of Christlikeness, the desire to live in the way that Jesus taught us to live.

  • What is one area of your life that you need to surrender to God? Schedule? Family? Work? Finances?

Have a volunteer read Proverbs 13:20

When you walk with people, you become like them.  Spend your time with foolish people, and you’ll start making bad decisions.  Spend your time with wise people, and you’ll start making wise decisions.

This doesn’t mean that we cut off everyone who we would consider a negative influence.   God calls us to be a positive influence on others.  But those we draw closest to, those whose counsel we listen to, those should be wise people.

  • Who is one person who is a positive influence who you need to spend more time with?  Who is one person who you need to intentionally be a positive influence on?


Application

Make a plan to engage with those two people—the one who is the positive influence on you and the one who you need to be a positive influence on.

Text each of them now to figure out a time to go to lunch or a ball game, to have them over for dinner or whatever else would make sense based on your relationship with each of them.