Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment, but a man of understanding walks uprightly. Proverbs 15:21—NKJV

Does it ever occur to you that people seem to be thinking upside-down? Have you ever bought something while paying the full price in cash and still have to pay a refundable deposit? Thinking seems to be skewed, anything but straight-forward, and seems to be increasingly upside-down. Promises have loopholes which void the promise. People call a lie a “win,” or say that getting an A is not always best. Some call for reduced sentences out of mercy when the criminal showed no mercy. Society seems to define normalcy by the minority. You will even hear some say that someone who holds a belief of definitive moral conviction is, in fact, himself “immoral.” Our generation would do well to consult the dictionary once in a while. Rationalized thinking embraces compromises which manifest themselves through the consequence of eroding truth. We have elevated “feeling good” above “doing right.”

One of the highest priorities of parental stewardship is teaching children how to think. This charge should not be left up to someone else. Thinking is hard work. It is an art that has to be taught and caught. Bad thinking skills come from the natural urges of our benighted, unregenerate heart or from poor thinking principles instilled by society or pedagogy. The effort of thinking is useless when truth is abandoned. Be sure your thinking is not a product of “stinkin’ thinkin’.” People act as if there is nothing to learn from God, from history, or from those who have lived longer than they. They believe that they have the corner on the market of wisdom by virtue of their own musings.

Our verse speaks to the fickle “wisdom” of our time. You will notice that the first phrase relates to thinking which finds its boundaries dictated by feeling and the second phrase relates to thinking that leads to effective working. The first makes man the final authority and the second honors God as the final authority.

The word “folly” is defined by a person who is weak-mindedly confidant in his rash hopes yet lacking in a firm foundation. It is foolish for a man to have no reason for what he does but he just has “a mind to do it.” The fool is likely to treasure a fond expectation of some good result, yet there is no foundational truth from which to expect the good result apart from his trust in his own rationalization. He is willing to gamble and commit everything on an unfounded hope of a good outcome.

The foolish man is further defined as the one with a cheery outlook and merry heart, falsely comforted by his own ignorance. He doesn’t even know how much he doesn’t know! The text says he is devoid of wise discernment. The original word for discernment is the Hebrew word “heart.” As the genuinely wise heart finds solidity in truth, it gains in assurance, boldness and daring. Wisdom is to take heart in truth practically applied to life. The foolish man knows nothing of this form of confidence. Unthinkable disaster is on his heels.

The second phrase gives a visual picture of good thinking. The word “upright” means straight, as in cutting a straight path in the sea, or as in standing upright with good posture. When a man has poor posture he stoops and his going is impeded, especially for the long haul. Poor spiritual and mental posture is at its worst when it is upside-down. An upside-down thinking posture is no way to travel a straight path. Standing upright before God requires standing on an even keel, as God defines it, while skillfully applying discerning, unchanging, biblical insight to the journey of life. (Prov. 10:23, Eph. 5:15)

Who is teaching you to think? Are you letting God tell you how to keep your life “THIS SIDE UP?” Do you look to the unchanging Word of God to guide you in your thinking so that you may stand upright before God and progress on your way through life? Do you make it your business to speak to the thinking of others? Trust and obey.