Posts Tagged instruction

Multiplied Days

Proverb 9: 11 – 12

For by me your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you. If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, and if you scoff, you alone will bear it.

Alright, wisdom is speaking; wisdom says if you are wise, you benefit yourself but if you are a scoffer, you will bear the burden of it alone. Wisdom adds years of life, scoffing brings turmoil and trouble, and, presumptively, a shorter life span.

Scoff is not a word I hear used often. It means to mock at or treat with derision. The implication here is that people who scoff at wisdom, God or the scriptures will suffer. Sometimes people blame God for the bad things which happen to them but I cannot help but speculate that we may bring these things on ourselves. The principle of sowing and reaping works whether we intend it or not so one consequence of sowing scorn is hardship.

God gives us instruction and that instruction is for our betterment and our benefit. The Bible is well viewed as an instruction book. God instructs us about wisdom as even wisdom, herself, describes the benefits and pitfalls of following her or deriding her advice. We get to choose. Father effectively uses this book of Proverbs especially to lead us in the ways of good fortune.

God used this book of Proverbs to teach us which paths lead to happiness and well-being. If we sneer at the scriptures or go our own way rather than allowing them to guide us, then we shouldn’t be so surprised when the road isn’t smooth. We’re on the wrong road. Great news, though, in a moment you can find yourself on the well-groomed path the Lord has prepared for you.

Humble yourself and ask Him which way to turn. Listen to the words from your pastor and seek wisdom in the Bible. Wisdom pays for itself. A little humility up front pays dividends for years to come. Seek wise advice and ride on the smooth road.

Check-up

Luke 6: 46

And why do you call Me “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say?

I have this verse highlighted in my Bible and every now and again it just jumps out at me. I kind of wish I had not highlighted it. Then again, it is a good question the Lord Jesus poses and one that is worthy of repeated consideration. How am I doing, today, at following his words?

I am not the only Christian who stumbles here. It is quite easy to settle into a comfortable, if a bit apathetic, routine with the Lord. We are supposed to zealously follow Jesus but it is difficult to retain that zeal on a day by day basis if we are not purposeful about it. The world and life intervene. There are many things we must do and it is so easy for that myriad of obligations and just daily life to take our eyes off of our first love. Then we have to wake ourselves up and look at our priorities. When that event occurs, I think the question we must ask ourselves is, “Am I truly doing what Jesus said?” It seems to me that this question must be answered at two levels. The first and most obvious as well as most important is, “Am I doing all that is recorded in the Bible?” Some people might ask that question differently to essentially limit the assessment to the red letter portion of the New Testament. I believe that to be error because Jesus is the Word. He is the whole Word so when the Bible says in the Psalms to trust the Lord that is every bit as strong an edict as something printed in red ink. So, are we, am I, doing all that Jesus has directed me to do in the Bible?

The second inquiry is into those things God has specifically spoken into my life. Am I following the dietary instruction He has given me? Am I following the course He has laid out for me? Did I give what He told me to give? Did I apologize to that person He told me to apologize to? Basically, this question represents the directions God has given to you pertaining directly to your life.

How are you doing? This is a challenging process but it helps us get back on track if we have slipped a little and it helps us refocus on whom we actually serve as our Lord. As Jesus says, if I am not following what He has told me to do, then how can I really say He is my Lord? It hurts a bit to realize how disobedient I have been but oh, it feels so much better once I realize the truth and apologize to Jesus. We get to start again and he holds no grudge. He is so good.

So, give yourself a check-up. Regardless of the answers, it really does bring life and light into your life and we all need that.

On Track

Psalm 32: 8

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

I am always attracted to the many scriptures that tell us that God will lead us and teach us. It seems to me that as long as we have his counsel, that he is guiding our steps and instructing us, that there is really no need left in our lives. He can always lead us into what we need and also give us wisdom and knowledge for each situation. With God leading us, we can never go too far astray. Perhaps we do not always listen as well as we might but he is right there to help us get back on the right path. His eye is on us, looking over us and watching out for us. We are certainly blessed. Incline your ear towards him so that you will better hear the instruction of the Lord.

Honor and Humility

Proverb 13: 18

Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline but he who regards reproof will be honored.

This is a difficult verse and certainly for the maturing Christian rather than cultural Christians. Cultural Christian is my term for people who are Christians but who are not pursuing spiritual growth. We might call them passive Christians. This is not a passage for them because this one causes one to look introspectively. 

The word which is translated here as discipline can also be translated as instruction. So the honored among us are those who do not neglect instruction and correction. No one likes being corrected. Few will even stand instruction but for those who are masters of their egos rather than a slave to it there is honor and promotion. So, let us all look inwardly for a moment? From whom do I receive instruction? To whom am I submitted? Christians are expected to receive daily instruction. I think that can be seen in the number of devotionals which are available. Of course the master instructor is the Holy Spirit and we should all be tuned in to his daily program but let us not deceive ourselves. The Holy Spirit also uses people for his purposes.

First of all, not everyone is sensitive and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit and some are just better receptors than others. Secondly, he employs people in every area of expertise to speak his wisdom. So each one of us should first of all submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit and take our direction from him rather than being our own leader. Second, we are deceiving ourselves if we think that we are not supposed to submit to human leaders. To think we should lead our own parade is just the voice of ego. You may be the leader of hundreds or even thousands but you should also have someone from whom you receive instruction and if need be, correction. 

The other side of the coin is, don’t follow someone who isn’t also a follower. We are all at various stages in the journey. Make sure that the person you are following is still travelling; a stagnate person can only lead you to stagnation. We should all be growing in the things of God. None of us has yet arrived but like Paul said, we press on to that high calling. If you want to follow that high calling you should submit yourself to another’s leadership and make sure that person is also submitted. Then we are all receiving instruction and growing the result of which is the unveiling of the mystery which is in Christ Jesus.