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July 1, 2003

Self-governed or God-covered

Proverbs 1:31,32
Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, And be filled to the full with their own fancies.
For the turning away of the simple will slay them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them;

After years of reading Proverbs every day it's never ceases to amaze me the stuff that I still find in this book. There seems to be this theme for me beginning in May of warnings about not fearing God and following your own way. This is another one of those passages.

The section begins with with people calling out to God, but He does not answer. It says they seek Him didligently and do not find Him (v. 28). This appears to be in contrast with one of my favorite passages where God syas, "You will seek my and you will find me when you seek for me with all of your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13). But there is something different here. Vs. 24-25 says that God called out to these people and was ignored. That He offered His hand to help and was refused. That God's counsel and His insructions were viewed as irrelevant. I think this describes many people, and myself at times, who respond to God with, "I can figure this out. I can do it myself." Eventually this kind of thinking lands us in situations that are over our heads. Then we are left to suffer the consequences of a life that is self-governed instead of God-covered.

It's like a story my dad told me about when his dad caught him smoking as a kid. My grandfather did not get mad or upset. He just got a whole pack of cigarettes and gave them to my dad. The catch was my dad had to smoke the entire pack in one setting. Needless to say, that experience kept my dad from developpng his habit. I'm not trying to say that God in His infinite wisdom disciplines us us this manner. I am saying that He loves us enough to let us tastelife without him. Like the people in the passage, my dad was "filled to the full of his own fancy," so full in fact that it became repulsive.

This passage also warns agains the wisdom of other men. Vs. 32 seems to talk about when we place our confidence in the opinions of others above the counsel of God it wil lead to destruction. It's kind of like a rookie stockbroker who pitches a stock to a cold call, selling this unknown client on the company's "pitch of the day" that the broker has no personal inestment in - either the stock itself or the relationship with the client. His only goal is a sale. If the stock does well, he makes money. But if it does badly, then you are stuck with the loss. Continuing this analogy, if you aren't willing to do your own research, complacent to depend on the "wisdom" of others, destruction may be lurking.

Lord, let me be a man who responds to the call of wisdom. Pour out Your Spirit and make your words known to me (v. 23).

May 4, 2007

Living Generously

Psalm 112 (NIV)
1 Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
who finds great delight in his commands.

This Psalm describes the how the fear of the LORD affects the way one lives his life. This man does not see the commands of the Lord as restrictive or burdensome. Instead, they are rules for success. Rather, they free one's self from self-dependence to recognize God's care.

2 His children will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.

"Their children will be successful everywhere;
an entire generation of godly people will be blessed."
(NLT)

Since "more is caught than taught," the way my children see me living my life become the way thier lives are lived. This God-fearing, and life-releasing way of living is passed down to each generation. What is it that my kids are "catching" from me? I want them to experience the blessing that fearing God produces. Some of these blessings are described in the following verses.

4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.

In the darkest times, personally or circumstaneually, there is aways hope. When my life reflects the compassion and grace of God, that resource is measured back. It doesn't come as a result of my actions. Rather it is out of the overflow of what I experience of God that I'm able to live compassionately and graciously.

5 Good will come to him who is generous...
....who conducts his affairs with justice.

I'm blessed to be surrounded by many generous people. I've never seen someone who is authentically generous ever "lack." It's because of how they view what they have; they don't "own" it (or let things "own" them). Generosity is not a "gift," it is a value. It is what you are when you hold a certain perspective on life.

Generosity also allows one to conduct one's affairs with integrity. There's no need to maintain an upper-hand or to seek an unfair advantage or leverage. That's a "poverty" mindset - I need to do what's best for me. The generosity approach produces benefit for all involved.

7 He will have no fear of bad news;
his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.

For so many, any news that is outside of what they are expecting is life shaking. Fear of God produces trust in God. It is the Romans 8:28 principle - "in all things, God is working for the good of those who love (or "fear") Him..."

I think this Psalm teaches me how to view life from God's perspective. As His word take hold of my heart, the life principles of the Kingdom begin to become "second nature" (better to say my "new" nature).

February 12, 2009

Quick Change

Exodus 33:7-8,25 (NKJV)
7 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. 8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them...
25 Now when Moses saw that the people were unrestrained (for Aaron had not restrained them, to their shame...)...

Moses is meeting with God on the mountain for 40 days and nights. And in that span, God's people decide to create an idol - the golden calf. The process of this slide is documented in these verses. It says that thay had "corrupted themselves." What was the cause of this corruption? They turned aside quickly from the way God had commanded them. See, God had placed boundaries on thier life that were not intended to restrict thier life, but to protect it. Yet in a very short time they chose to live without that constraint.

Everybody wants the quick change: weight loss, cosmetic surgery, stock speculation...the list goes on. There is no easy way, but it doesn't stop us from looking for one. This is especially true when it comes to our spiritual lives. People want a "bailout" from God, but as soon as we get it, we go back to the old ways that brought us to that desperate position. In my life, I always go backwards when I live without the restraint of God's directives for me. Anytime I step outside of those life principles, corruption creeps in and disipline leaks out.

There is no quick change that produces any real and lasting good in life. Real change is made by little decisions to live with your boundaries, your means, your assignments. This kind of living requires focus, discipline, and perseverance. Without it, we're left to worship the life we've created for ourselves and face the consequences.

About Life Management

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to JustJeff | Life Journal in the Life Management category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Life Challenges is the previous category.

Lordship is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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