There are two things the Bible tells us we should have when approaching God:
Humility = the opposite of pride.
Pride is arrogance, thinking we are worthy of people’s praise and affection. Always seeking the praise of others results in a dependence on this kind of attention, which is fleeting and will fail us. Instead, we are to take our cue about us from the One who created us
. No one’s opinion of us is more important or true than God’s (see God’s Opinion of Me
God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (Proverbs 3:34)
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:10)
Grace is the power in us to change, and this is how God lifts us up. Humbling ourselves means:
- Recognizing our current state as broken
- Acknowledging our need for God to repair us through Christ
- Asking for mercy from Him (like the tax collector in Luke 18), not boasting in our own ability.
Confidence ≠ pride, but it does = belief in God & ourselves (because God lives in us!).
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
In him [Christ] and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Ephesians 3:12)
Humility + Confidence = Power
This is how we are to move forward in Christ. We humbly repent (not wallowing in sorrow!) and move forward in confidence, always remembering that it is He who has set us free and given us His loving grace and mercy!
1:35 pm • 29 March 2012 • 3 notes
Proverbs Day #31
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. (Proverbs 31:10-11)
A man who is blessed with a Godly wife not only has full confidence in her, but in himself. A wife has a lot of power over the house. Many Proverbs outline how destructive this can be (i.e. 25:24), but when a wife is of noble character (essentially, when she follows the Lord), her entire family is blessed. Her husband is respected because of her (v. 23) and he has everything he needs.
Husbands also have lots of biblical instruction, but what might be hard to believe because of today’s culture is that marriage in God’s perfect design is an incredible blessing. Be patient, and in your time allow God to bless you.
6:28 pm • 31 March 2011
Proverbs Day #29
Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law. (Proverbs 29:18)
The first part of this Proverb can also read like this: “Where there is no revelation, the people are discouraged.” The second part of this Proverb is clear, but how does it relate to prophetic revelation?
When God’s revelation and wisdom is not visible— “When people can’t see what God is doing” (The Message)—they are discouraged, lose restraint and they miss God’s blessing. This revelation refers to reading the Bible, truly understanding it, and I would say this means finding Jesus in the it (the big picture). However, we don’t always see God’s work, especially not immediately, so we need to persevere, because “blessed is he who keeps the law.” Remember:
The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. (Isaiah 32:17)
Proverbs is still Old Covenant though (before Jesus) and so this reads quite differently when we bring Jesus into the picture: our salvation is not performance-based. Our righteousness isn’t even performance based and Jesus has already met the requirements of the Law. God’s blessings on us, peace, joy, His unending Love, eternal life, an abundant life—these things are not based on our keeping of the law, but are all based on Jesus’ performance at the cross—his finished work.
AND. When we don’t see revelation and it looks like God isn’t working, we need to remember this and realize that He is working and He has already given us so much! This is our prophetic vision.
Keeping the Law and doing righteous acts will come out of a belief and new life walking in Jesus’ righteousness.
5:50 pm • 29 March 2011
Proverbs Day #25
Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control. (Proverbs 25:28)
This Proverb is pretty self-explanatory: a city with broken down walls has no defense, easily overtaken under an attack. We need to prepare ourselves before a spiritual attack and gain control over our areas of weakness. And surprisingly, the Bible suggests that self-control is not something we can attain by ourselves. In Galatians 5, self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit. This means when we have God’s Spirit inside us, we can look to Him for control. We need to look to Him and realize we already have access to this, and receive it from Him.
1:29 pm • 25 March 2011 • 1 note
Proverbs Day #16
Two really great Proverbs in chapter 16 that require very little explanation:
1. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. (v. 3)
Jeremiah 29:11 falls right in line with this, an explanation of God’s plans for us. God’s plans for us align with our plans when we commit what we do to Him. When I made a pretty huge decision to ask Shawna to marry me, I committed it to God every step of the way—and we continue to, together—and we have both been enormously blessed in all of it.
2. In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. (v. 9)
We decide where we want to be, but God ultimately decides how we get there. I ran away from my call as being a pastor, but little did I realize how much more everything that would happen to me throughout that time would shape me to become a better pastor. If we are living for God, He will guide our paths.
Read also Psalm 16:11 for the blessings of a path led by God.
10:53 am • 17 March 2011 • 2 notes
Proverbs Day #9
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through me your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. (Proverbs 9:10-11)
This passage is simple, and it reminds me of the importance of knowing (1) who we are in Christ, and (2) who God is. From these things come the ability to receive from God a full, abundant life full of joy and peace, and the ability to truly love others and so much more.
Knowing God is capitalizing on who He made us to be.
12:49 pm • 9 March 2011
Proverbs Day #8
Wisdom is speaking: I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep….I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind. (Proverbs 8:27, 30)
Think of the complexity of the human eye or the brain.
Think of the intense make-up of the smallest organism.
Think of the absurd instincts and co-dependence of certain creatures in nature. (Or maybe you need to watch more Planet Earth)
It’s obvious that God has enormous wisdom and creativity, beyond what we will ever understand—He contains all wisdom—and He used it in creating everything, especially human beings, something so complex and powerful that Wisdom personified “delights” in it. This means His creation is deeply complex, but it is also wise, and has incredible capacity.
This very same wisdom that existed before eternity, that God used in creating everything on earth, is available to us now (in a small portion, but still however much we need), for our situation, unique to us and to our relationship with Him. And all we need to do is ask and God gives, “without finding fault” (James 1:5), which means regardless of our performance, whether we deserve it or not.
For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. (1 Corinthians 2:11-12)
But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16)
10:17 am • 8 March 2011
A Blessed Fountain
Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well….May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. (Proverbs 5:15, 18)
Proverbs 5 is:
- A warning against adultery/sexual immorality
- A hope for marriage in a relationally-pessimistic culture
- An encouragement and delight in marriage!
God designs things a certain way not to force us to follow rules, but because they are the best way and most rewarding for us! A satisfied marriage will bring us the most pleasure and happiness, and is glorifying to God. And it’s also possible, because God says it is, when we are filled up on Him.
If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. (John 4:10)
A few things about “Living Water”:
- Symbol of satisfying a spiritual thirst (see this quote by CS Lewis, for example)
- Symbol of satisfying a physical need (i.e. using the example of sex: thirst = lust)
- We don’t need to be constantly filled (on the Holy Spirit)
- We need to know who Jesus is
- We need to understand the “gift of God”
The “Gift of God” =
And more. In Proverbs and 1 Corinthians, a wife is described as a gift from God! God wants to bless us—in marriage, in life, in all things—so we need to believe this and start receiving it!
It helps to be encouraged that He is a VERY GOOD God.
1:04 pm • 3 March 2011
Proverbs Day #2
He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless … and protects the way of his faithful one. (Proverbs 2:7-8)
These promises all apply to us, because we were made righteous (right standing with God) when Jesus settled the score, and this also means we can add a few things to our identity. We are:
Now read the Proverb again. God not only protects those He favours (us, me, you), He guides us down the path of life. And all of this comes from wisdom. Knowing who we are and knowing that God’s got our back!
Like Proverbs 3 says (from my last post), if we trust in God’s wisdom, he will guide us down the right path for our lives. This means making our purpose clear (which involves our gifts and talents and passions), and when we fulfill our designed purpose, we are truly satisfied.
Check out Psalm 16 too.
3:39 pm • 2 March 2011 • 1 note
A Proverb a Day
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
I decided this morning to read a chapter of Proverbs for every day of March (31 chapters for 31 days), and I encourage anyone to do the same. Here’s why:
God told Solomon, David’s song and King of Israel after David dies, that he could ask for whatever he wanted and God would give it to him (not unlike what Jesus tells us in John 14:14). And so Solomon, probably feeling a little overwhelmed by his new responsibility, asked for wisdom. Proverbs tells us the benefit of wisdom, and it takes wisdom and revelation to know who we are and who God is and to live overflowing lives out of this identity.
Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. (Proverbs 4:7)
Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed. (Proverbs 3:17-18; “she” being Wisdom)
So Solomon wrote down the wisdom that was from God, and this is known as the book of Proverbs, and it is available to all.
See also James 1:5 and James 3:17 for further encouragement on wisdom.
11:25 am • 1 March 2011