Let love and faithfulness never leave you;Proverbs 3: 3-4 (NIV)
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
The book of proverbs starts with advice from parent to child, and you don’t get very far into the book before you come across the words above.
I find it interesting that the child is told to write the qualities of love and faithfulness on their heart or bind it around their neck. This is a very intimate instruction, holding these qualities close to your body. There is a sense that these qualities could easily be stripped away if we do not hold them close. And in fact, that is the warning, “don’t let them leave you”.
We think of faithfulness, loyalty and integrity as being an intrinsic characteristic of a person. But this proverb seems to indicate that being a person who is loyal, who is faithful, a person who acts with integrity is actually hard work. You have to constantly remember to hold on to those qualities, those truths.
In a world that measures your success by the number of likes, followers, and friends that you have this proverb suggests a very different paradigm. One that values inward qualities over outward appearances.
Yet this proverb also tells us that these inner qualities can be hard to hold onto. Often integrity is shown in small everyday choices, and there is a reason the intimate image of writing these qualities on your heart is used. It is about deep inner work rather than shiny surfaces.
Maybe it means doing the right thing when no one is looking, maybe it is speaking truth, maybe it is giving voice to someone who is voiceless.
The passion translation phrases these verses as:
Hold on to loyal love and don’t let go,Proverbs 3: 3-4 (TPT)
and be faithful to all that you’ve been taught.
Let your life be shaped by integrity,
with truth written upon your heart.
That’s how you will find favor and understanding
with both God and men—
you will gain the reputation of living life well.
I love that this instruction to hold on to integrity, also comes with an acknowledgement that if we do we will find favour in the eyes of both God and man. If you are willing to put in the hard work of being some one of sound character, then you will have a good name. Not if you follow these ’10 steps to get more followers and become an influencer’. But by holding on to love, mercy, kindness, faithfulness and truth. Letting these qualities define you.
Are you willing to do the hard work? Are you willing to hold on to integrity and let your life be shaped by truth and faithfulness? That’s how you find favour and gain the reputation of living life well.