Your 50 Favorite Proverbs: #48 No Fooling

January 2014 Your 50 Favorite Proverbs

If you love to goof around, act silly, or make people laugh—no worries. That’s not the kind of foolishness we’re talking about.

Two Foolish for Words

Instead, God uses the word fool to show us how to be wise.

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

Short but powerful, this verse points us in the right direction—away from egotism and pride, and toward humility and a teachable spirit.

Proverbs 12:15

The way…

Foolish people “suppose their way is straight” (CJB), when it’s clearly crooked. They “follow their own directions” (VOICE), rather than reading God’s map.

My-Way-or-the-Highway thinking never gets us where we want to go. If you’ve walked down that road, you know what a truly dead end it is. So been there. So done that. So grateful for God’s infinite mercy.

…of fools…

Here’s how God describes those of us who’ve been foolish: we’re “stubborn” (GW), “headstrong” (MSG), and “stupid” (GNT). Yes, yes, and yes.

It’s plural—fools—so at least we’re not alone, but I’d rather avoid going through life wearing a dunce cap. Not very flattering.

Want a perfect example of a fool? Abigail said of her first husband, Nabal: “He is just like his name—his name means Fool, and folly goes with him” (1 Samuel 25:25). Nabal was a rich man, but poor when it came to wisdom, refusing to offer hospitality to David and his army, rather than offering thanks for the services David had rendered.

Abigail, an “intelligent woman” (1 Samuel 25:3), used her wisdom to save the day—and in doing so, captured the heart of David.

No fool, that girl.

For the rest of us, what may sound like wisdom is often foolishness itself.

Follow Your Own Choice? Is That Really Happiness?

…seems right to them,…

This is the kind of thinking that gets us in trouble. It’s the world’s wisdom, but it’s definitely not God’s wisdom. I’ve discovered my choices are not always the right ones. And happiness depends on my relationship with the Lord and with others, not on making myself happy.

Rather than asking questions, a fool trusts “his own opinion” (NET). He does what is “right in his own eyes” (HCSB), instead of what is truly right. Fools “think they know what is best” (CEV), and end up making things worse.

In a nutshell, fools “always think they are right” (GNT).

Groan. This verse cuts way too close to the bone.


If you’ve been following my weekly studies, you know I love the word but in Scripture! Like a hinge on a door, but either leads to another possibility or makes an important comparison.

For such a little word, but carries a big punch. Of our fifty favorite verses in Proverbs, fifteen have the word but (the easiest word we’ll memorize). In Proverbs 12:15, the bad approach to life comes first, followed by the good one.

We’re ready for a better option, Lord. A way out. A solution.

Wisdom Written In Stone

…the wise…

The opposite of a fool is “a sensible person” (CEV). Someone who doesn’t do what fools do. So, they’re not stubborn, they’re flexible. They’re not headstrong, they’re cooperative. They’re not stupid, they’re smart.

What do they do that makes them so wise? They open their ears.

…listen to…

One of the qualities people look for in a spouse, an employee, a friend, a leader is this: they listen. They “pay attention” (CJB). They have ears to hear, and they use them.

They not only listen, they act. A wise person is “he who heeds” (NKJV). Few things are more frustrating than offering wisdom to someone who’s about to do a foolish thing, only to have them nod in agreement, then go off and do it anyway.


Wise people know better. They listen, learn, and follow.

Wise Advice


When someone who knows what they are talking about offers useful “counsel” (ASV) or “good teaching” (NLV), the wise person says, “Great idea!” The fool says, “No, thanks. I’ve got this.” Right.

It’s humbling to seek advice, to raise our hands, to admit we need help. Yet that’s what God calls smart. 

The best part? When wise people heed advice, it makes them even wiser. Talk about a great return on investment!

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

Now it’s your turn

Just one question for you:

  • Think of something that seemed right to you at the time—
    and what you learned from the experience.

Kindly take a moment to Post a Comment below. Your honesty will help us all grow wiser.

Meanwhile, here’s your Printable of Proverbs 12:15, with four copies of the verse to cut apart and post wherever they’ll come in handy. And check out the pin I created for us on Pinterest.

For those of us who are committing these verses to heart, a quick review:

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
    bind them around your neck,
    write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 3:3

For the Lord gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6

A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
    and how good is a timely word! Proverbs 15:23

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

Well done! Next Wednesday we’ll see the light with #47.

Your sister, Liz
@LizCurtisHiggs #50Proverbs

Your Sister, Liz Curtis Higgs  Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member  Your 50 Favorite Proverbs with Liz Curtis Higgs

32 Responses to Your 50 Favorite Proverbs: #48 No Fooling

  1. Christina Anderson January 29, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

    My dad used to call me “bullheaded”. Boy was he right. After years of bullheadedly going my own way, God got my attention and I’ve been trying to go His way ever since. Some of us have to learn the hard way. And again. And again. So grateful for God’s grace and infinite patience!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs January 30, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

      Right. There. With. You. God’s patience astounds me on a daily basis, Christina.

  2. Pat Schmidt January 29, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

    This is so frustrating, when I was young I could memorize one verse after another and I still remember them. Now that I’m old the words just don’t seem to stick. For those of you who are young and memorizing is still easy, keep up the good work. When you meet someone who needs a hand up or you come across a skeptic, being able to pull the right verse up without having to pull our your Bible gets their attention. And while you may not change their world you might just open a window. Thank you Dear Lizzy for your words of wisdom. I appreciate you!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs January 31, 2014 at 12:04 am #

      I so get the challenge, Pat. I’m asking God to literally write these Proverbs on the tablet of my heart. The happy news is, we can carry God’s Word in our hands too. Bless you for the encouragement.

  3. jaime January 29, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

    I have too many moments I did what I thought was right to name just one. I’ve done some bad things and lived in my car for a while. My experiences in my old life taught me lots of earthly things and more importantly, two spiritual things. I don’t know as much as I thought and I need God and the mercy grace forgiveness and all the blessings He gives.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs January 31, 2014 at 12:05 am #

      Praising God that he saw you through, Jaime, and that you learned such valuable lessons. He loves you so!

      • jaime January 31, 2014 at 7:32 pm #

        The Ruthie you talked about in the beginning of Bad Girls really hit home. So many things you say make me feel like you are speaking one on one with me. God gave you a gift and I am so thankful you use it so wisely. He made us perfect for our individual purposes and perfectly individual. I can’t thank Him enough.

  4. Janet January 29, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

    It’s been way in the past, but there were a couple of times I took on a leadership role when I knew in my heart I wasn’t the right person for the job. In one case I did seek out counsel, but ended up being flattered into taking the position. The counsel of the Holy Spirit trumps human counsel! Hopefully I’ve learned that.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs January 31, 2014 at 12:06 am #

      Wise words, Janet: “the counsel of the Holy Spirit trumps human counsel.” So right!

  5. Dale Lavely January 29, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

    I love your website! I am ADDDD and breaking up the text with great pictures is such a great idea. I heard you at Mt Hermon Christian Writers Conf and love you. You talked about the book of Ruth.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs January 31, 2014 at 12:08 am #

      I sure did! Glad you were with us, Dale.

  6. Linda H January 30, 2014 at 7:33 am #

    I am presently in a situation of caregiving for my mom who lays on guilt when I don’t do enough with her. I am constantly running ahead and trying to please, thinking I got this all figured out. It has left me worn. I am now trying to seek the Lord’s counsel and accept help from others. My ways just are not working. Stopping before leaping is bringing rest to my soul. Thankful for God’s word!!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs January 31, 2014 at 12:10 am #

      Good for you, accepting the help of others, Linda. I know it’s hard, but SO wise. May God give you the strength to carry on.

      • Marte February 2, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

        Dear Linda H, one mentor of mine, Florence Littauer, had a period of when her mom (who never gave Florence the verbal praise she needed, desired from her parent, especially missed since her father had died when she was young) had placed her in a senior home and felt this nagging hurt. She sought The Lord for wisdom and He answered her, with a need to ask her mom a question! Oh dear Lord, not that, I’ll be opening the floodgates of criticism of me, for not doing the right thing, too much to ask of me. Instead, when she “asked” her mom, she received insight into her mother she never would have seen or heard. Will pray for strength and girding of you up, and for the kindness and ability to speak her current concerns and fears for your mom. Start asking God for the right questions to ask your mom, video or record thru your phone or tablet because once she’s gone, it’s too late. The last 3 years of my mom’s life she spoke only French and I had been forced to take Spanish & Latin in high school! Whenever I tried to speak my French it made her giggle (not in a mean way just an honest response ! Only my husband gets the accents & pronunciation right! 🙂

        • Linda H February 2, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

          Thank you Liz and Marte. I so appreciate your prayers!!

  7. Sandra January 30, 2014 at 9:41 am #

    This one is so relevant. I was listening to advice from a trusted person. I made a decision based on that advice. It was a decision I made relative to my kids and I was aiming to keep them safe. I did keep them safe, but I also eliminated a possibility for their growth because of my fear. Sometimes being wise is actually being foolish. I have made this mistake more than one time!!! I am learning to trust that God knows me and has good plans for me, my family and my future, despite my own efforts! Thanks Liz!

  8. Helen Badman January 30, 2014 at 10:16 am #

    After my divorce, which I didn’t want, I got into a relationship that “seemed” good. To make a long story short I married him and even during the ceremony felt it was wrong. But rather than trust God’s leading I went on and it was the worse experience of my life, and could have cost me my life.
    Thankfully I was able to get out, lived many years alone and , when God said it was time, I married again. Listen to Him! I didn’t, but now I do! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

  9. Denise January 30, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

    What comes to mind when I think of this question is…I once had a pastor who sometimes said, “You can be so right, you’re wrong.” That hit me between the eyes! That was me. I was so busy noticing what everyone else was doing wrong that I didn’t even notice my own log(self-righteousness). I’m so glad for God’s mercy and grace and his gentle leading when we accept His invitation to be cleansed and learn from Him.

  10. Sheri January 30, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    I was so sure I needed to speak (yell) out about an incident happening to my husband and myself. I had it all planned what I would say. And what I wanted to say would be hurtful to many, but it would make me feel oh so good! The Lord stepped into the moment and reminded me that I would look like the fool, let alone sound like one! I listened to Him and the entire situation was handled, healed and all involved moved forward to good things! A fool really does not listen to The Lord!

  11. Johnna January 30, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    This is a great question. I can think of many examples, but the first one that stood out to me was this: when my daughter was in a Bible Institute she met a friend of a friend — a guy that she fell for hard. We knew all the right questions to ask, and he had all the right answers. We met he and his family during spring break of that year, and though I sensed some hesitancy on the part of his family and in my daughter, everything “seemed” right … I mean, he answered all our questions regarding relationships spot on! Then, a very trusted friend of my daughters approached us and warned us about this guy — he knew him from attending college with him. I loved and trusted this friend of my daughters as if he were my own child, but I neglected to truly hear him and neglected to check out the facts he was sharing with me, because, after all, God changes people, right? And everyone deserves a chance, right? Well, as true as those to things are, we all know that God’s Word is the ultimate Truth … and I should have listened. It “seemed right” but I didn’t take the “wise advice” we were given. This guy continued a relationship with my daughter, even moved to our area after she came home from college and … almost destroyed my daughter’s life with his lies, his fakeness, and his taking advantage! Hard, horrible lesson learned. Only fools (like me) don’t listen! I thank God He is the God of second (and third, and fourth, and fifth, and so on) chances for fools who He knows can become wise.

  12. Barbara Jean Peterson January 30, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

    There are many times I have thought something was the right thing to do and it turned out not so right. We decided we were going to move to another state; it turned out that all the doors closed in order to do that. As time continued, we found out there were many reasons God did not want us to move and we began to understand those reasons. Praise God he does step in and close doors he does not want us to go through; and in time we may or may not learn the reason why. We will always learn the reasons when we arrive in glory. In the mean time, we need his wisdom each day as we make decisions. Thank you Liz (My sister in Christ) for taking the time to encourage us all in the scriptures. We are blessed to have you as our sis. Love and Prayers for all who are memorizing and meditating on his words of truth. I agree with the sister who said, “As we get older, it is harder to memorize”. Just a little laughter here: The older we get the more files we have to go through in our mind to get to the spot we want – some of us have the spinning file, some of us have the one-index-at-a- time file and some of us have to spin through the alphabet to find the right choice and it takes us a little longer.” All in all, we do our best. Have a great day all.:) <3

  13. Nancy January 30, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

    There have been so many times I have done things because I thought they would make me happy, and at the time, my happiness was all that mattered to me. I didn’t care that I was hurting my husband and kids, and friends, all that mattered was that I was happy (or I thought I was). Thank God that He helped me through those times and got me to realize that as you said, happiness depends on my relationship with God and others. I can’t believe now that I was so selfish, but my thanks to God for turning me around.

  14. Susan Gruener January 31, 2014 at 12:34 am #

    I listened to my ‘heart’ instead of my head…and God. I ended up with a hurting heart but also a repentant heart, as I told God I would never disobey Him knowingly again! God is always kind, loving, and forgiving and always has His arms open wide in welcoming us back into the ‘narrow path’.
    Such great proverbs so far! I may get ‘wiser’ yet! 🙂

    Thanks Liz for more great insight on helping us to really ‘tear apart’ these proverbs to give us better understanding.
    Much love,

  15. Donna Lee January 31, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

    Having been an insecure child with a lack of confidence, I said and did foolish things to compensate. I am still lacking some confidence, but God, reading his word and “old” age, have made me see that its ok to be an indian, not a chief, in the background instead of center stage. I am not a college grad, which always made me more insecure about knowledge and smarts. But happily I know He loves me as I am. And his word is a constant education!

  16. Kathy January 31, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

    Hmmmmm, sometimes I feel like I respond too quickly and my words don’t come out like I’m thinking.

  17. joanna mclaughlin January 31, 2014 at 11:13 pm #

    I was offered a position, could of done it with my hands tied behind my back. It was no challenge so I figured it was the right thing to do, and said, “Why not”. But God had other plans and I had to go and turn the position down. And that was the right thing to do. After that my life made a 180 degree turn and I would not of been able to do it. And God knew that.

  18. Yvonne February 1, 2014 at 11:51 am #

    Wisdom is a very hard work to digest for me. I’ve always attributed this to being smart and I’m not smart. the comfort I have is I love the Lord and know HE will guide me. As I sit here praying for my very dear friend and Sister in Christ who is before an interview team for the ministry I prayed for wisdom for her and discernment, thanking God for peace and assurance HE was there with her guiding her and giving her the answers to the questions she may be asked about her faith and her walk with the Father.
    Wisdom is such a deep word and is more than the dictionary has shared with us. Thanks Liz for a whole new perspective and insight on the wisdom and fool. Great food for thought. Peace & Blessings

  19. Margaret James February 2, 2014 at 6:57 am #

    Even though i was brought up in a loving christian home, and gave my life to Christ at an early age, I still made foolish choices regarding my relationships with men when a teenager and would dispise myself for doing so. Then I made the foolish choice of going ahead and getting married at the age of 19, even though my parents suggested I wait. Warning signs were there about the manipulation, emotional and mental abuse to come but I didn’t want to be ‘left on the shelf’, especially as I had given into his persuasion by sleeping with him, and therefore believed no other man
    would want me. How wrong I was!
    What I have learnt is that God’s timing is perfect and that ‘great is His faithfulness’ yes it would have been better to have waited, yet He is able to turn things around when you give the situation over to Him. I am now 35, and after leaving my ex 6 years ago I found the strength to file for divorce 4 years ago. Its still on ongoing thing, yet He has blessed me with such a supportive family and even more He has blessed me with my very own
    Boaz who I met 3 years ago. In his words ‘if God’s will, we are going to be spending the rest of our lives together and somewhere along the line we will be married. And if He says we’re having children, no age will be a barrier to Him’ 😀 can’t argue with that.
    Thank you Liz for your heart and God’s love which you show through your books. They make sense, are funny and make me look at things from a new perspective at times. God bless you xxx

  20. Marte February 2, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

    Liz, see you just landed in NYC…neat! Your fresh approach to Proverbs is a way of serving us such nutritious spiritual food….what a rare & awesome talent, and God given and blessed gifts.

    The dogs in sunglasses & dunce hats draw us into Laughing and Learning His Lines, where they can soak into our needed “wisdom”! Precious time in this FB, online Sunday School classroom.

  21. cherrie:) February 4, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    when i was younger, i thought i knew alot(i really did not). so i would just do what i thought was right. because of that people did not want to be working with me. i would encourage people to listen and accept others help. it will save you heart ache in the long run.

  22. Tracy February 4, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

    I love the above statement “the counsel of the Holy Spirit trumps human counsel”. This is so true. I have followed the advice of others and ended up in dead end situations only to blame myself because I listened to the advice of man over the leading of the Spirit. But, now I can say and have learned that I would rather listen to the Spirit because as stated above, “the Holy Spirit’s counsel trumps human counsel.” Why is it though that even when you share what you feel the Holy Spirit saying to you to others, at times you get criticized by some Christians. They look at you like you are a fool.

    I am still a single woman at the age of 42 and I have at times wanted to go foolishly and blindly into marriage not truly waiting on the Lord because of the loneliness but I know that it is in God’s timing and His timing is PERFECT. So, I await for my Boaz to come and I will lean my ear in even more as the time draws closer to hear the counsel of the Holy Spirit.

  23. Regina February 15, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    Missionary friendship. You know, continuing to be close friends with someone who once walked the straight and narrow but is now following the wide and popular…thinking my presence would shine a light in a darkened place – a principle that may be true, but that is a path that must me walked with great care and intention. Because while it is true that the light of Christ can shine in the darkest of dark, it is also true that bad company corrupts good character. And when roles are reversed, and the once discipled becomes the missionary to the disciple-er….the regular rules of outreach become blurred. Advisors told me to distance myself from my friend, but I foolishly thought if I held out, I could show grace and compassion and unconditional love and, be a conduit of reconciliation. But in this case it was foolish. When hearts are hardened, it doesn’t matter what my walk shows. The fallen friend sees what they want to see, and hears what they want to hear. Truth be told, my character and testimony *did* suffer for a time, and it was incredibly hard to back away from someone I loved. But through my experience I learned the difference between showing Jesus to a new audience vs. showing Jesus to a hardened heart. It’s a heartbreaking lesson, and I still pray for my friend…but I no longer walk as closely by her side.