Good Intentions and No Ambition

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[When] you are trapped by the words of your own mouth, caught by your own promise.

Do the following things, my son, so that you may free yourself, because you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands:

Humble yourself, and pester your neighbor.

Free yourself like a gazelle from the hand of a hunter....

How long will you lie there, you lazy bum? When will you get up from your sleep?

“Just a little sleep, just a little slumber, just a little nap.”

Then your poverty will come ⌊to you⌋ like a drifter, and your need will come ⌊to you⌋ like a bandit. (Proverbs 6:2-3, 5, 9-11 GW)

(Context—Proverbs 6:1-11 GW)

An old English proverb says the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Intentions are like ambitions without action. Unless there is follow-through, intentions become rash commitments or poorly conceived plans.

A common example is the New Year's resolution that sounds good and useful but isn't carried out or sustained. Intentions can be rash—not thought through carefully or without consideration of possible consequences.

How often have you told someone you'd pray for them but forgotten to do it? It's embarrassing when you see them and they say, "Thanks for praying for me!" It's then you realize you didn't follow through on your intention to pray.

Neither is writing out a to-do list the same as taking action to do those things.

The two admonitions in these first 11 verses of Chapter 6 may not seem related but they're like intentions—either a rashly made promise or laziness—a lack of ambition and follow through.

In the first situation, the person means well but makes a foolish commitment. The wise thing is to humble oneself at the cost of our pride and annul the promise we can't keep. Better to admit wrong than be proud and foolish.

The second illustration reminds us of the danger of good intentions with no action. When this becomes a habit the consequences are dire. It's like when you get too much sleep—you wake up groggy and unmotivated. Ambition becomes a daydream that never wakes.

Don't make rash promises you can't or won't keep. Don't make a habit of putting off what you need to do. Be wise and be diligent!

You're more likely to be blessed and a blessing to others when you are both wise and diligent.


If you find yourself making rash decisions or committing to things you can't follow through on, then make a point to discipline yourself to think before you speak. Also, discipline yourself to do more than just think about doing something—do it!

Prayer Focus—

Pray for wisdom and include the Lord in your decision making—even with small decisions. Commit your goals, ideas, and plans to the Lord on a daily basis and ask for wisdom and clarity on how to move forward with them.


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