How to know if you're being foolish

Proverbs 1:32 says, “For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them.” Much of Proverbs goes on to tell us how fools live and wreck their lives, including these behaviors.

10 Unmistakable Characteristics of a Fool

1. Speaking too much

“Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues” (Proverbs 17:28).

“The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered” (Proverbs 17:27).

2. Putting hope in money

“Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf” (Proverbs 11:28).

“Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil” (Proverbs 15:16).

3. Having no self-control

“Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control” (Proverbs 25:28).

4. Gossiping

“Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool” (Proverbs 10:18),

5. Not planning ahead

“Desire without knowledge is not good—how much more will hasty feet miss the way!” (Proverbs 19:2)

“The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps” (Proverbs 14:15).

6. Meddling in the matters of others

“Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own” (Proverbs 26:17).

7. Speaking quickly

“Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end” (Proverbs 29:11).

“Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them” (Proverbs 29:20).

8. Being stubborn

“The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice” (Proverbs 12:15).

9. Being lazy

“A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied” (Proverbs 13:4).

10. Being stingy

“The stingy are eager to get rich and are unaware that poverty awaits them” (Proverbs 28:22).

“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done” (Proverbs 19:17).

The Good News for Fools

Ephesians 5 tells us, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity…Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (5:15-17).

The Lord’s will is wisdom. “The Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6). Wisdom is always available; we just have to surrender and ask for it. The Bible assures us that, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).

Wisdom is always available; we just have to ask for it.

Are you asking God for wisdom or resting in the ease and comfort of foolishness? James asks, “Who is wise and understanding among you?” and answers, “By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom” (3:13-14).

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