Tight Fist or Open Hand?

by Caitlin

principles and methods

I’ve been devouring this sermon series on Proverbs by Mark Driscoll.


I think it was part one where he talked about truisms and methods versus principles. This is a combination I’ve never considered and I think it’s so important as we look at to do’s and to be’s.

Many of the sayings in the book of Proverbs are truisms. Meaning most of the time, generally speaking, they are true. {For example, if you train your children, they will go the way you taught them or if you invest, you will build wealth.} Because life is not perfect, there are cases in which even if you “follow the rules” the perceived “reward” falls through, but this is the exception rather than the rule.

He then explored the idea of principles and methods. While a truism states a principle {be a good steward and invest} and the {generally} true result {you will build wealth}, methods are the variety of ways to get from the principle to the result.

We should live by principles, but methods vary because we’re all different, with varying skills, families, and life structures. DON’T FEEL ENSLAVED BY SOMEONE ELSE’S METHOD. DIFFERENT METHODS WORK BETTER FOR DIFFERENT PEOPLE. Sorry I had to shout, but I needed to hear that myself. I’ll see a superwoman and try to implement what I’ve seen her do and it falls flat. Instead of feeling guilty, I ought to consider what tweaks I can make to fit that principle to my life.

My favorite word picture from the sermon series ties it all together: hold principles with a tight fist and methods with an open hand.

Have you ever thought about the difference between principles and methods and how they fit together? Do you have a method that tends to dictate how you live? Let’s let those go and show ourselves some grace.