In Proverbs 9:6 we find the two indispensable elements of conversion and holiness. These basic ingredients have not changed since Old Testament times: “Forsake your folly and live; and proceed in the way of understanding.” Here we find these two vital actions:
— Repentance: “forsake your folly”
— Faith/Commitment to God: “proceed in the way of understanding.”
Notice that the Proverb does NOT merely enjoin us to: “forsake your folly”. Turning away from something is not enough; it must be replaced with something else, as Jesus taught us in Luke 11:24-26.
And it is also not merely: “proceed in the way of understanding”. One cannot hope to proceed in a new path while continuing to be entangled in his old ways (Hebrews 12:1).
Thus it must always be both: “forsake your folly … and proceed in the way of understanding.” Repentance and faith are each required if we are to be genuinely converted to God’s ways.
This is true for initial conversion, of course: Paul reminded us in Acts 20:20 that his uncompromising basic message was “repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” But it is also applicable for each of us who seeks to follow the Lord better as a Christian. We can’t just “proceed in the way of understanding”; there are some areas of our lives in which we need to “forsake (our) folly” so that we may indeed proceed in God’s ways without impediment.
What are some of these ways in your life? Proverbs 9:6 is a good reminder: we must turn FROM some things, and TO some things. BOTH repentance AND faith are indispensable elements as we seek to follow God.