Proverbs 12:12

Proverbs 12:12 "The wicked desireth the net of evil men: but the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit."
Proverbs 12:12 Buffalo NY Baptist Church
Typically, we connect contentment to circumstances.  Solomon chose instead to connect contentment to character.  When we think of contentment, our minds immediately go to what we have.  When writing about contentment, Solomon wanted the minds of his readers to go to WHO WE ARE.  We don’t become discontent due to a lack of possession – we become discontent due to a lack of character.  We don’t become discontent due to a lack of pleasure – we become discontent due to a lack of character.  Discontentment doesn’t come from without – it comes from within.  

In this proverb, the wicked and the righteous are once again are contrasted.  The wicked desires something from without but the righteous has no desire since he has something within.  The wicked wants the net of evil men in order to catch something he doesn’t have while the righteous has no desire because he has no need.  The wicked are barren, hungry, thirsty and empty while the righteous are full of satisfying fruit.  Clearly, character and contentment are connected.  Wickedness produces an emptiness.  Righteousness satisfies.  Wickedness results in regret, guilt, anger, envy and jealousy.  Righteousness results in peace, joy, love and gratitude.  Who we are, not what we have, is what makes us content or discontent.
 
A person rooted in righteousness has no desire to become rich and famous because his virtue is satisfying and fulfilling.  On the contrary, a person who has no respect for righteousness finds the rich and famous fascinating.  They want that net that easily collects the what they lack.  They want that net that seemingly gathers wealth with ease.  The net of evil men is so appealing to someone whose life isn’t founded on righteousness.  When a life lacks a conviction for righteousness, it will be drawn to ungodly lifestyles and unethical business practices.  When a life lacks a conviction for righteousness, it will lack virtue and therefore, lack satisfaction.  Void of satisfaction and inner peace, it will seek popularity, possessions and pleasure to fill that void.  Fueled by this carnal thirst, it will want ways to get popularity, possessions and pleasure quickly.  Nothing seems to get these things quicker and easier than the net of evil men.  Prostitution and pornography are easy ways to make money because they prey on the weakness of men.  Dealing drugs is easy money because it taps into the addictive nature of mankind.  This is why so many people fiercely pursue Hollywood because they see how successfully movies and music collect money and fame like a commercial net collects schools of fish.

This proverb exposes the real problem with discontentment – our character.  If you’re miserable, it’s not because of what’s going on on the outside – it’s what going on on the inside.  Discontentment doesn’t come into our lives – it comes out of our lives.  DISCONTENTMENT RISES FROM WITHIN.  It only occurs when we lack the inner virtue to sustain the outer losses of life.  This is especially visible in the lives of young people when their souls are not rooted in righteousness.  When a child sees little to no value in righteousness, he will lack the virtue or spiritual fruit that brings true satisfaction.  Without that genuine satisfaction, he will then be drawn to all of the things that the world presents as fulfilling.  Before long, he will be doing all the things he thinks will get him what he wants.  He sees how the rich and famous dress so he dresses like them thinking it will be the net that gets him attention.  He sees how the rich and famous act so he acts like them thinking it will be the net that gets him affirmation.   He sees how the rich and famous think so he thinks like them thinking it will be the net that gets him wealth.
 
If you want to know why people emulate the rich and famous, it’s because they lack contentment.  They lack contentment because they lack virtue.  They lack virtue because there is a lack of conviction for righteousness.  When a person is rooted in righteousness, that righteousness produces wisdom.  When you have WISDOM, what is wealth?  When a person is rooted in righteousness, that righteousness produces the favor of God.  When you have the FAVOR of GOD, what is fame?  When a person is rooted in righteousness, that righteousness produces peace.  When you have PEACE, what circumstance can make you miserable?
 
If you’re discontent, your problem is not your circumstances – it’s your character.

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