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A Fool's Wisdom: II
The following collection of aphorisms is the second installment. The first installment can be found here.
In the spirit of what follows, I’ll try to keep this short. I’ve compiled here a hundred aphorisms of mine in no specific order. For those who don’t know, aphorisms, most simply, are words which convey concisely. To put it another way, it is to take a big idea and place it in a small package, and the big idea fits in the small package because it has been carefully condensed. Let me illustrate this further. Say you have a package about the width of your palm and along with it you have two objects which you hope to place in it: a ball of lead which is also about palm-width and a ball of yarn which is about the size of your head. Which one of these objects will fit in the package? Well the ball of lead, of course, as it is much smaller and able to just fit. But even though the ball of lead is much smaller in appearance, it carries more weight. So it is with aphorisms—they are dense by design. As the writer Mike Bull once put it, their power is their ability “to pack gravity into a grain of sand.”1
Perhaps the best and most well-known example of a proper aphorism is in the Proverbs of Solomon. But aphorisms ultimately are not relegated to the Holy Scriptures, they crop up in all kinds of people who, in a moment of especial clarity, express it with their words. You don’t have to be a Marcus Aurelius or a William Shakespeare to drop a few truth bombs; your grandparents, no doubt, have dropped a few themselves, whether or not they (or you) knew it.
In terms of what to expect here, I’ll say this: Some may not make sense to you—and that’s sometimes the point. This is partly because aphorisms trade nuance for conciseness, and just like any trade, there’s value on both sides. Aphorisms are valuable in that they can not only provide you with a nugget of wisdom, but more so with an exercise in thought. Some are shorter while others are longer. Some are more prosaic while others are more poetic. Some are more straightforward while others are more cryptic. And some are more light-hearted in their subject matter while others are much more deep. Also, it is not my intention to preach to you in any way, but only to share with you that which I have preached to myself.
Finally, a note on how to generally approach aphorisms. Just as I would not recommend reading the Proverbs of Solomon in a single sitting, I would not recommend the same here. Matthew Henry, in his famous commentary on the whole Bible, once said that the Proverbs are like “a chest of gold rings, not a chain of gold links.”2 So reading straight through a lengthy narrative of Moses in Scripture, for instance, is an easier and more sensical thing than reading through a large number of Solomon’s proverbs all at once because, in the narrative, each thought follows the next—like a linked chain—whereas the proverbs (for the most part) are designed to stand alone—like individual gold rings. Aphorisms are designed not only to stand alone, but often to stand alone while being veiled in ambiguity. That is to say, they’re designed to give you pause and to make you think. So I recommend that you choose, either in order or at random, a single aphorism to carefully consider for a moment before moving on to the next.
I hope you enjoy, and I hope there is some wisdom to be gleaned from the words of another fool like me.
Another post with a hundred more aphorisms is planned for the future. Subscribe to never miss a new post and to support my work.
The numbering is purely for navigational means and does not reflect a specific order or any kind of ranking.
There’s this yearning to believe in something bigger than ourselves, or to believe in ourselves by making ourselves out to be bigger than we are.
When God becomes your greatest fear, He becomes your greatest sanctuary, for there’s nothing left to fear but the One who perfects your fear in His perfect love.
It is only a convicted heart which can convict hearts, for our hearts are often more potent in speaking and perceptive in listening than even our minds.
Humility is like a garden that must be continually tended but never admired.
Scripture ought to find its place first in your heart, then in your actions, and then on your lips. Hypocrisy is when you skip straight to the last, when Scripture knows no place but your lips.
Those who are most faithful to God are most foolish to the world.
Suffering either purges sin or intensifies it. The choice is yours. But just know that to double down on your sin is to double down on your suffering.
Insecurities begin to melt away in the presence of true love.
Live not in the shadow of death but in the light of eternity.
Anyone who unironically states their pronouns either has no regard for truth or just no concept of truth.
Be looking to achieve great things without looking to achieve greatness.
Comparison is the thief of joy when comparing to those who have more but can be the source of joy when comparing to those who have less.
Calisthenics tests proportional strength rather than outright strength, for if you aren’t even strong against yourself, are you truly strong?
God Almighty becomes Mother Nature. Divine creation becomes Darwinian evolution. Pro-murder becomes pro-choice. Men become women and women become men. They suppress the truth—professing to be wise, they become fools.
Faith in God is like a child willingly falling into their father’s arms. Though the child cannot prove that the father will catch them, the father has given the child every reason to believe that he will.
Virtue signalers: prideful people who, for the sake of their own ego, wish to proclaim their supposed moral superiority to the world while having a complete and total lack of self-awareness.
Sin erodes a man while righteousness builds a man.
Voluntary suffering is nothing compared to involuntary suffering. Failure to participate in the former will likely subject you to the latter.
Distractions merely put anxiety on hold, allow it to compound, and delay its onset. Action, not distraction, alleviates anxiety.
I’m not a Christian because I’m after meaning or purpose or community or structure or conformity or guidelines or serenity or anything else of the sort—such things can be found elsewhere. I’m a Christian because I’m after truth, and I’ve found no truer truth to bet my life on.
Live as if God is real and His words are true and you will discover what it means to truly live.
The totality of what you know is much closer to nothing than it is to something.
One of the great things about the internet is that it enables community, and one of the terrible things about the internet is that it destroys community.
Better yourself not for the sake of being better but to be better for the sake of others.
While all sins are equally sinful, not all sins are equally consequential.
Love your neighbor as yourself, and love God above all else.
There are many issues, when dealing with, which I am happy to preface with the words: “I might be wrong.” But when it comes to the exceedingly clear-cut issue of sex and gender, my only response to the liars and the deceived is: “You are wrong. I am right. And I will not apologize for the most basic of truths.”
Love does not comfort lies but confronts lies.
Ceaselessly grind the blade of your sword and you go from wielding a sharp and formidable weapon to a dull and worthless stub. Grind with care.
A book ought to serve as a guide that allows for unlimited detours.
The only case study you need on human nature is yourself—humility is when you open that book and take an honest look.
Life as a whole can be overwhelming, but today is always manageable.
You may say silence is violence, well I say conformity is cowardice.
You are a niche of your own—monopolize yourself by being yourself.
Be a pragmatist without being a pessimist.
Not the origin of species, the origin of existence—this is where your thoughts ought to be, for the former is meaningless without an answer to the latter.
Gay marriage, accurately termed, is gay mirage.
There’s nothing more powerful than prayer because there’s no one more powerful than God.
An underrated skill is throwing perfectly good junk food in the trash because it’s either going in the trash or the trash is going in you.
Christians are not as much called to master ourselves as much as we are called to be mastered; for the latter is, after all, the means to achieving the former.
The best quotes need only be accompanied by quotation marks.
Work with sweat to make your leisure sweet.
Dating apps give hope only to crush hope.3
There’s a digital substitute for seemingly everything these days: sex, communication, ownership, community, and the list goes on and on. But the physical will always be more fulfilling.
The Christian with less money is no less secure than those with more and, perhaps, even more secure as they, unlike the other, are forced to cling to that which cannot be lost. You are not ready for worldly riches until you have taken hold of the greater riches of faith in the faithful One. To possess worldly riches before such faith is the treasure of your heart, will prove to be an affliction rather than a blessing.
Let your only fear be the fear of Yahweh.
Slow down the body to slow down the mind.
In my writing I seek to quote men, sparingly, and the Bible, always.
When catastrophe strikes, we often just want to get back to normal when perhaps its purpose is to help us to get forward to better.
The most beautiful Bible is the one where man’s fingerprints can be seen the least.
Mixed martial arts is a sport because it can be, not because it has to be. Football does not exist beyond the field; basketball does not exist beyond the court; hockey does not exist beyond the rink; golf does not exist beyond the course—but fighting knows no such bounds.
The writer seeks only to be writing while the author wrote merely to have written.
The gospel is, I think, by design so simple that a child can grasp it yet so deep and vast that it can keep theologians talking for millennia.
The true measure of a man is what he would have if he had everything taken from him and was left only with himself.
Our gods change while idolatry remains.
Abortion is a sacrifice to the god of self on the altar of conceit.
I think one reason Protestantism is more valid than Catholicism is for the simple fact that it comes from the bottom up rather than the top down. Just like the early Christians, no one told them to thrive, they just did, because they had truth on their side.
Any person can make their friends laugh, but a funny person can make even strangers laugh.
Praying the Scriptures is lacing your lowly prayers with heavenly truths.
Quit reading books about the Book and just read the Book.
Any workout is better than no workout—get moving.
The starving artist need only seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and the artist will be starving no more.
To say you can plagiarize the Bible is like saying you can plagiarize the words listed in a dictionary. The Bible, like a dictionary, is not a mere source you can pull from but an essential foundation you must stand upon. Just as you cannot speak without the words of a dictionary, you cannot exercise an ounce of reason without the truth of revelation under your feet. It is truth to be properly quoted, certainly; but more so it is truth to be infused in a way where Scripture simply becomes your vocabulary, where you know no other words to speak and no other thoughts to think.
Great writing is downstream of great reading.
While all are not children of God, all are creations of God, and every creation can become a new creation and thus can become children of God.
Thy will be done, not my own; let me embrace, by Your grace, whatever Thy will may be.
The most valuable people are simultaneously both the interviewer and the interviewee no matter which side of the desk they happen to be sitting on.
Very rarely will one’s life change drastically for the better in a single day—do not place your bets here. But very often will one’s life change drastically for the better by simply embracing life one day at a time—place your bets here. Therefore, do not bet your life on a single day, but also, bet your life on a single day.
There is but one rule in grammar: Don’t confuse your reader. Anything beyond this is pedantry.
Aphorisms trade nuance for conciseness, and just like any trade, there’s value on both sides.
It is the height of arrogance to think that you can be a great writer without being an even greater reader.
The placement of a single asterisk is what separates false advertising from sleazy advertising.
You can do all the right things and still have it all go wrong, but at least you can have the peace of mind knowing that you did all you could.
Brokenness is just one of many such uncomfortable yet effective treatments for this mortal disease called pride.
If living in the Information Age has taught me anything, it’s that ignorance really is bliss after all.
Godly obedience is to obey without delay.
Doing nothing is one of the most productive things one can do.
The irony—beauty, even—of the cross is that what was a great instrument of death was, simultaneously, the greatest means to life. And therein lies the majesty of our God who glories in paradox, in whom darkness is light, weakness is strength, and death—yes, even death—is life.
Think of your failures as lessons in humility and your successes as tests for pride.
I’m not looking to work a job; I’m looking to live my life and make a living while doing it.
One of the jobs of a writer is to put into words what you’ve been thinking all along but could never quite articulate yourself.
You were faithful then; You are faithful now; You will be faithful always.
Any man who claims to fully understand the trinity has most certainly lost his mind and found his pride.
To take every thought captive is to interrogate every thought with truth.
Do not ever treat the grand promises of God as “wishful thinking” when nothing has ever been more sure.
The timeless truths of God will never grow stale—no matter how many times they are read or said, no matter how many times they are sung on one’s tongue—they will never lose their power.
I’m a Christian nationalist just as I’m a Christian townsman and a Christian husband and a Christian friend and a Christian worker because to be a Christian is to have all of Christ for all of life, and to be secular in anything is to risk losing Christ in everything.
Cutting social media out of your life gives you one less thing to do and a million less things to think about.
A book should be as long as it needs to be and as short as it can be.
If Satan’s offer to give Jesus the world teaches us anything, it’s that the absolute most Satan can ever offer us is dust.
When you’re creating something that will last, you can afford to take your time.
I believe in local churches like I believe in local businesses because just as you lose the heart of a town without local businesses, without local churches you lose the heart of the church.
If the trinity has taught me anything, it’s that two things can be true at once.
Let us all be like Jesus in that we always cut straight to the heart of every issue, every person.
Cheap today is often expensive tomorrow.
Writing is just a means to a greater end called conversation.
A writer is an entrepreneur whose product just happens to be a book.
You can be sure that the Bible does not provide a man with the hubris of knowing everything but only with everything a man needs to know. The Bible does not tell us all there is to know, for such a task would give us a scroll which is entirely inaccessible for the very fact that it would just keep scrolling; but it does, like I said, tell us all we need to know. It gives us the black and white while providing us with the necessary principles to navigate the endless sea of gray. It doesn’t tell us everything, but it provides us with the foundation for everything.
Reading without critical thinking is simply programming.
Truth is the foundation for wisdom. For how can you expect to be wise when you are stooped in lies?
If you enjoy nuggets of wisdom like these, then you might enjoy my other Twitter account, @parrotedwords, where I seek to share quotes that will stir your mind and feed your soul. Feel free to check it out below and follow along if you like.
Bull, Michael. Birds of the Air. Page 6.
Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible. Psalm 119.
It is very ironic for me to write this given the fact that the spark which led to my marriage was ignited by none other than a dating app, yet I still believe this to be generally true nonetheless.