Proverbs 27:9,”Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.”
Today’s passage is great because it reminded me of what I will need to succeed. As I am working through my 100 day challenge, I have found certain seasonings that are sweetening my success. This first one is refreshment. There is a continual need to be refreshed because of the ornery challenge that presents itself before me every day. When Proverbs 27 talks about oil and perfume in this context, the writer is likely describing the benefit of oil and perfume for their soothing and curative effects on the body. Guests were often honored by their hosts through the anointing of oil and perfume. It would bring refreshment after a taxing journey through dusty hot paths.
Certain things in life make the heart glad and revitalize the journey. This morning my wife and I enjoyed sharing a chocolate glazed doughnut with French Pressed Italian blend coffee from Starbucks. (Earlier this week I learned about this special treasure, and I had to share it with my wife.) Coffee tasting is an art that begins with smell. We cupped our hands over the lip of the mug and allowed the comforting aroma of coffee to sweep through us as we inhaled. This prepared us for an inviting taste as the coffee rolled across our palate. Left behind was a sweet smooth sensation each time we sipped and savored. In my 100 day challenge, I have not been plagued by moments like this morning because they have been rewards bringing refreshment.
The second ingredient that I have found sweetening my success is relationships. Life is not meant to be lived alone. The Christian life is a communal life. Anyone who lives in isolation- whether geographical, emotional or spiritual- is not able to enjoy the benefits and blessings that come by authentically living in the presence of good friendships. It is important to be surrounded by people who are for you, who are willing to be authentic and vulnerable with you, yet who are willing to speak the truth in love as you are open before them. Reciprocity in authentic living is vital to have in order to taste the sweetness of such friendships. (That is what the writer means when he says that, “the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.”) Reciprocity in authentic living involves the skill and compassion to gently instruct a friend with truth when he errors. It also means one being humble and carefully considering the counsel of a friend who is bringing such counsel.
Today I know that as I weighed in on the scale and celebrate losing 10 lbs, I know that my celebration will be shared with others who have allowed me to be open with them and who have been graciously truthful with me as they have spurred me on in this challenge. This morning I savored the sweet relationship with my wife, Samantha, who has been my greatest friend who brings me encouragement and counsel. I also share this gladness with those closest to me, my community group from Watermark. I do life with them and they know the deepest and darkest parts about me. Yet, they love me and instruct me and bring encouragement to my life. Authentic relationships are necessary so that we will do the things we don’t want to do so that we can be the person we long to be.