Wisdom

The Benefits of the word of God (Part IV)

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,  that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

We live in a world that is completely antithetical to the Kingdom of God. The spiritual battle is all around us, and it requires our focus, attention, and skill to overcome the obstacles on our path.  The above scripture tells us that not only the word of God establishes, corrects, and instructs us, but it also prepares us to live an overcoming life that is fruitful and pleasing to the Lord.

I have seen many Christians who thought they knew the word of God, but they didn’t! They assumed because they were around the Bible and the church that they knew the Bible, but in reality they didn’t have a practical knowledge of the word of God that helped them to live an overcoming and fruitful life. The scriptures are not meant to be just preached by a pastor or be heard in a Sunday school class. Christianity is a not a spectator sport. The devil does not engage only with those who want to engage with him. The scriptures tell us that he is like a roaring lion looking for whom he may devour (1 peter 5:8). That means whether an individual is engaged in the game or not, the enemy wants to win the battle over every person’s life! Nothing can replace our time in the word of God where the Lord uses the scriptures to equip us to live a fruitful and victorious life and learn how to fight in a spiritual battle waged against every soul! This requires every Christian to take their walk with God seriously and learn how to be equipped for living a God-honoring and fruitful life!

The scriptures equip us in variety of ways. Some scriptures warn us on issues such as foolishness, jealousy, lust, deception, and corrupt speech. These scriptures take the weeds out of our lives, so we can be prepared for the good seed of the word. Other scriptures are seeds to help us grow and bear good fruit. For example, the word of God shows us that as we abide in Christ, we can develop the fruit of the spirit and grow in love, joy, peace, patience, self-control, and many other Godly attributes. There are other scriptures that protect us from harming ourselves and others. For example, forgiveness protects our hearts, preserves our relationships, and equips us not to get baited by the enemy.  In Ephesians 6, Paul gives a description of the armor of God that teaches us how withstand the attacks of the enemy and our old nature. It tells us about the helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, belt of truth, shield of faith, sword of the spirit, and our feet shod with the gospel of peace. All the elements of the armor are the equipment that the believer needs to be able to live a victorious life.

Without the knowledge of the word of God, we would not be equipped for battle and we would become a pawn in the devils’s hand. The word of God helps us to be alert, wise, and discerning. The better equipped we are, the better prepared we are to handle people and situations in a Godly manner and escape the corruption that is all around us.

Are you being equipped by the word of God? Do you put the scriptures to work in your practical day-to-day life? How well do you discern between your own ideas, the schemes of the enemy, and the will of God!?

 

 

 

Success In Relationships (Part I)

One of the main areas of challenge in people’s lives is getting along with their loved ones. Interestingly, Jesus had only two major commandments and one of them was to love our neighbor as ourselves! So how do we successfully handle our relationships?

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.  Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:15-20 (NLV)

The above passage comes just before the exhortation to the married couples in (Ephesians 5: 22-33)  explaining the roles and responsibilities of a husband and wife in a Godly marriage. This passage describes that wife needs to submit to her husband and her husband needs to love her as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. Since marriage is the most important earthly relationship and the closest neighbor that one may have,  we can apply the above scriptures (Ephesians 5:15-20) as a launching point to healthy and successful relationships including our marriages.

Live Wisely

According to the above scriptures, the first thing that we need to pay attention to is to live wisely in an evil age. The truth is that most of the time we don’t live life as if the days are evil! We generally get up in the morning and we are after accomplishing our own goals and agenda for the day. We’re doing just fine as long as the day goes as we expect it and things are going our way. However, if someone blocks us or tries to derail us from our goals,  that’s when we get angry and may lash out!

The truth is whether things are going our way or not, the enemy is still prowling around like a roaring lion looking to see who he can devour (1Peter 5:8). How does the enemy devour? By causing us to be tempted to get angry and to speak harsh and destructive words because we didn’t get our way! He influences us when we  take on his nature and devour others by our attitude or words because they blocked us from our goals! We need to remain alert and recognize that the enemy is after stealing, killing, and destroying relationships and marriages all the time. He is looking for people to come into agreement with his lies.  He knows the true evidence of our love for God is how we love others! If he can make us fail in that area, then he can show the world that our relationship with Christ has not changed us and we still behave as we used to.

The other aspect of being wise with our time is that we need to keep some buffer in our schedule during any given day. This gives room for the unexpected and allows us not to run through the day frantically trying to squeeze too much in any given day. The more overcommitted we are, the greater the stress level! That’s when a little mishap by our children, a few unwashed dishes in the sink,  or a bit of delay by a friend can send us through the roof! If things don’t go the way we expected, most likely, we are going to take out our stress on our loved ones and they are the victim of our overcommitments! Seemingly, they are blocking our goals while all along they were only living their lives- just not at our desired pace!

As you begin this week, plan to be intentional with your time and be cognizant of the enemy’s schemes. In addition, plan not to overcommit your time and see how more peaceful your relationships become!

 

 

The Blessing of Fearing God (Part II)

We are called to revere a holy God and fear Him only. In our culture, we either see God as a distant absentee landlord or think of him as a Santa clause who can’t wait to shower his prince and princesses with everything they desire!! Both of those perceptions don’t line up with the truth of the Bible describing him as a holy, loving, and mighty God! He is an all-present God who loves people and has great expectations of those who call Him Lord.

 God is the preserver

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy, To deliver their soul from death, And to keep them alive in famine. Psalm 33:18-19

The Lord keeps His eyes on those who fear him. Isn’t that awesome!? In a world that people go to great lengths to get the attention of others and keep people’s eyes on them, we can have the eyes of our creator on us all the time. God loves those who fear Him, and he pays special attention to them. He knows that we choose to live life vulnerable and without self-preservation. We resolve not to hurt our enemies or gossip about them because we fear and love God. We choose not to lie or steal to make provision for ourselves. Unless the Lord preserves us and provides for us, we will have no protection or provision in times of difficulty or famine in our lives!!

Joseph is a great example of a man who feared God, and when he had the opportunity, he didn’t sin against His God!! While he went through years of difficulty, God’s eyes were on this man. God’s favor was on him everywhere he was sent and finally in the time of famine, he became the resource/answer through the Lord for saving many lives including his own family!!!

Fear of God is foundational to wisdom

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever. Psalm 111:10

Wisdom is having good sense and discernment to navigate through life, making Godly decisions, and getting along well with other people. The fear of God gives us the open door to walk through wisdom and learn to become a skilled, wise person. If we don’t fear God, our decisions are based on trial and error rather than keeping in mind God’s boundaries in our lives. The fear of God gives us the caution not to get ourselves involved needlessly in things that could cause problems in our lives. It keeps our path clear and narrow.

Just as we desire for our children to be successful in life and make good, Godly decisions, so our heavenly father desires for us to have a successful life in Him. We can pursue this by following His commandments and taking them seriously.

He is the final judge of our eternal state

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28

The Lord is ultimately the only one we need to fear. He is the one who has the power to choose where we will spend our eternity. In light of that, we shouldn’t fear anything or anyone else because He is the one who holds our lives and our eternity in His hands!! We still honor and respect people, but there is no need to fear them.

Christian history is filled with stories of persecuted and martyred believers for the sake of Christ. They understood and lived the above truth very well. Most of us will never be faced with that type of opposition, but we are called just as Jeremiah was: “Do not be afraid of their faces, For I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.” Jeremiah 1:8

Holiness is the fruit of fearing God

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2Corinthians 7:1

The Lord, through His love covenant gives us many promises. In order for us to enjoy the benefits of our relationship with the Lord, we need continually be motivated to keep ourselves from corruption, and seek His holiness in our lives. That means we don’t justify our actions, make excuses for them, or think because God loves me so much, he’ll look the other way. As the scripture tells us; “as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” 2Peter 1:3a  We have no excuse before a holy God not to pursue a pure and holy life!!

We live in a culture that trains people in self-esteem and confidence. However, the only true esteem and confidence is established on our relationship with a holy God. Everything else is paper-thin and has no substance to hold up under pressure or conflict. Fear of God develops a true confidence in the one who is worthy, and He esteems us because we are rightly and closely connected to Him!! Thank you Lord!!

It is a blessing to fear God!! Please examine yourself in the light of above scriptures and see if you truly have reverence and a healthy fear of God in your life.