First aid kit

Proverb 4: 20 – 22

My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them and health to all their body.

Colossians 4: 2

Devote yourselves to prayer.

Every adventurer knows to carry a First Aid Kit on excursions. We are encouraged to have an emergency first aid kit in our cars and our homes. I have one for my kayak and another in my hiking gear and yet another in my bike bag. One thing you learn about making your own kit is that you can’t pack everything you would like to have. It is a kit of essentials. You only pack those items which will get you through the tough situations.

We all need a spiritual first aid kit too packed with the essential elements. What are those? There are many good spiritual tools and we do not need to deny ourselves any of them. For example, music can be a very powerful tool. Meditation is another important spiritual skill. And praise – oh my goodness, what a powerful tool and even weapon. There are others as well, and they are all to be utilized but when the pressure is on and you only have time and room for the bare bones necessities, it boils down to two things. No matter what, load prayer and your Bible in your pack.

Now the thing about your Bible is that you need to extract its vital nutrients from it. Mindlessly reading the Bible can be a dull and near meaningless activity. In order for the Bible to help us, we must engage with it. Studying the Bible can be as empty if our only approach is to acquire intellectual information rather than applicable knowledge. The value of the Bible is its life blood. It can be like getting a transfusion but only when we try to pull wisdom from it. So, simple Bible reading or even Bible study can leave us dangerously void of the First Aid medicine we desperately need. Extracting life from the Bible, that is the key.

Prayer comes in many forms as well. Really, meditation can become prayerful. Obviously, intercession isn’t the kind of prayer we need to pack in our emergency kit. Telling the Father about all our problems really isn’t very helpful either though in an emergency that is often our response. Our Father knows our situation. He is omniscient after all. No, the kind of prayer you want in your backpack is the one on one conversation with you and your Lord. This prayerful, meditative conversation is as much about listening to what the Lord has to say as it is about what you want to say.

Allow me to be clear, I am not saying that each of us should not constantly involve ourselves in all forms of prayer and Bible engagement, nor should we deprive ourselves of any of the spiritual tools. I am merely saying that the essentials are like oxygen and water. Without these two we become depleted very quickly. Second, in the time of crisis, you cannot always have all of the niceties. At those times you must reach for your First Aid Kit and treat the immediate trauma. At those times do not neglect these two very important elements of your Christian life. There are days when praise can pull you out of a blue funk. There are days when journaling is just the ticket but alone time with God, quiet, pensive alone time is crucial when challenged. If you will treat yourself with the Bible and with prayer, then the Lord will direct your path. He may tell you to go put on some music. He may tell you to take a walk in the woods where you can be very meditative. He may tell you to go to a yoga class. Whatever you need, He is there and will guide you. Go to your prayer closet with your Bible. Slow down your physiology and psychology and let the Lord speak to you. Be still and let Him show you that He is God. Be calm and let Him be your God.

Paying Attention

Proverb 4: 20 – 22

My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their whole body.

This is probably the most well-known of the proverbs. It is quoted often because it contains such powerful truths. If we will take this proverb at face value and apply it to our lives then we will enjoy the fruit it yields. All too often, though, these passages become mere words in our ears. We hear them, we can quote them but they have lost all meaning. Perhaps today we can resurrect this proverb allowing it to breathe new life into us.

The truth is that everyday modern science is proving the potency of these ancient scriptures. The wisdom God gave us from the start is being shown to be absolutely accurate. His words and His sayings are giving life to people’s bodies. Prayer is being quantitatively measured and we are beginning to understand from a Quantum Physics perspective how right God was all along. I believe that means that those who have and can apply wisdom will not wait for science to prove the next parable or proverb but will accept them at face value and apply the age old advice offered in the Proverbs and, indeed, in the whole Bible.

The first admonition of today’s proverb is to pay attention to God’s words. This must be the starting point for all serious Christians. God’s Words are containers of His truths and thus of His power. Applying His power, authority and wisdom to any situation can only improve its status.

The second major part of this passage bears close scrutiny though. We have rarely given serious consideration to the ideas contained therein. If you tell someone that keeping God’s words and sayings in their sight and in the midst of their heart will bring them life and give health to their whole body, they will readily agree with you. However, that is usually the end of it. Shouldn’t we give it a great deal more attention than quick assent. I mean, if I can tell you how to add life and health to your life, wouldn’t you want to pause and consider those thoughts more carefully? That is the essential advice that Solomon has tried to get across to us in this passage. STOP! And consider. What God is telling us is the way to increase life and bodily health. Pause and think about how these words could impact your life.

There is little time for sober thought these days. We are busy and our environment is so noisy that you can barely think. My gym has a TV in the dressing room. Even the gas station pollutes the air with TV news while I pump my gas. Did the forces of evil know that I pray while I pump gas? You would think so. In truth, it is hard to get away from the constant noise. Even in our few minutes of alone time, we think of someone we need or want to call or text. There needs to be a few minutes in each day when you actually think, when other stimulation is not bombarding your senses so that you can actually consider God and what He might want to say to you today. You should guard those moments for they are precious. Take time to ponder. Enjoy a few minutes to ask yourself how the Bible, God’s words, can become more real in your life today. What can you do to apply more of God’s wisdom to your life. Give the TV a pass for an hour and pick up your user’s guide to the human experience and allow God to minister healthy, life and blessing to your life today.

There is Life in God’s Word

Proverb 4: 20 – 22

My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their whole body.

This is very similar to the advice God gave Joshua when he appointed him to take Moses’ place (see Joshua 1: 8). Interestingly enough, it seems that when God’s people have their backs to the wall God gives them the Word to help them break through their obstacle. In today’s verse we see that God’s Words are literally the stuff of healing and health. It is as if God wrote a prescription for what ails us. His Word fills us with life which and that filling overcomes sickness. Jesus said, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” (John 6: 63).

Jesus’ words are actually life and he is the life. So, as we continue to ingest the Word we literally saturate our tissues with the life giving, healing power of the Lord Jesus. I can imagine that it is difficult for some people to die because they have so filled their bodies with life.

God tells us to give our ear and our sight to the Word. Then He tells us to keep His words in the midst of our heart. This tells us that the attention that we are to give to the Word is not an intellectual endeavor but rather one of the heart. We are to open our inner being to the ministration of the Word. He is not calling us to become great theologians but rather to allow the Word to penetrate us and change us. It is not, then, what we do with the Word but rather what we allow the Word to do in us. The Word of God has the power to change our lives but it needs the fertile soil of our hearts in order to work rather than the sterile, antiseptic planting of our minds. Fill up on God’s Word. Keep it ever before your eyes and in your ears so that it can bring the abundant life that is Jesus’ will for you.