Thursday, June 19, 2008

Semi-Weekly Update

I was able to read three chapters of Proverbs--I think it was Monday/Tuesdayish that I got them read. Since I'm a night owl, up to the wee morning hours, I am never quite sure what day it should *officially* count on.

When I was reading Proverbs, there were a few things that stood out for me. Especially in chapter three. Proverbs 3:5-7 was one of the first verses I memorized as a kid. It is a verse that if you could actually follow through with it you could have a very good life--a healthy life, a spiritually sound life.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. (NASB)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. (ESV)

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track. Don't assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! (The Message)

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. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. (NIV)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Don't be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil. (NLT)

I could probably meditate on this one day and night for weeks and still find depth in it. It's against human nature to trust. For some it comes easier than others. It's especially against human nature to trust in God. But it is really really really against human nature to NOT "lean on our own understanding." That comes easily, naturally. It's always easier for me to think that my way is the right way, the smart way, the wise way. It's always easier to think that I know what is best for me. It's also easy for people to think that they know best for other people. To trust in God? To be dependent on God? To do his will in all things? That's not easy. That's not natural.

"In All Your Ways Acknowledge Him." Ouch. As if the whole trust thing wasn't hard enough. It's REALLY REALLY REALLY easy to compartmentalize your life. To have parts, sections, areas where God is invited in, where you welcome him in, and other areas where you like to think you're in control. Areas that you think are private, exclusive, unknown to God. Of course, God knows all, sees all, hears all. But we like to act, to behave, to live like he isn't aware of what is really really going on. Like if we invited God to see all the ugly scary parts, the parts we're most ashamed of, the sinful areas of life that we still cling to, that we'd be too afraid of the consequences. Something would have to give. And we're afraid that something would be us. Maybe I'm taking the verse out of context. Maybe it doesn't mean that we should live our lives as if God was right there with us. But I see it as meaning as we should live our lives wide open, acknowledging his presence, acknowledging his RIGHT to rule over EACH and EVERY part of our lives. It means to me that it isn't enough to just give God control over teeny bits of our lives. He's there for it all. We need to be trusting him in all ways. Not trusting in God for this and that, but ourselves for the rest of what we have.

It's scary, but I think in some ways it's an all or nothing deal. We either trust him or we don't. We either let him be in control, live like he is LORD of our lives, or we don't.

It's a very scary thought.

Fear the Lord.

In some ways it's not easy to puzzle out what it means to fear the LORD. In some ways I think it means seeing the GREATNESS of God and the smallness of man. Of realizing that we don't measure up. Not at all. Not even a little bit. It's like acknowledging that he's got all the power, we've got all the need. Of realizing that we're not as smart as good as we think we are. Of realizing that we're very much in need of a Savior and of a Lord. It's realizing that God's boss and we're not.

Sometimes it's easier to think these kinds of thoughts than it is to actually live them out in practice. I know that I often forget. I think it's easy to take God for granted. I think it is REALLY easy to shrug off sin. To shrug off our mistakes, our regrets. And if we've taken those sins, those regrets, those mistakes...if we've repented. If we've asked for forgiveness...I think those sins can be put away, washed away. We don't need to live in constant reminder of those. But just as quickly as we're repenting of one sin, we're often putting on another. Maybe not the same sin. But whether it be in thought or in action or in speech, we're always going to be messing up and needing forgiveness. We're never going to be perfect on this side of Heaven. But maybe living in Fear of the Lord means that we don't just wash our hands of the whole affair and go about merrily sinning with the philosophy of oh-I-might-as-well-sin-all-I-like right now, today, this week, this month, this year...and I'll repent later.

I don't have it all puzzled out. It's too rich in some ways.

Turn Away From Evil.

Oh my. I wish it was easier to turn TO God and AWAY from evil. Why is sin so delicious to cling to?  It's human nature at work again. I know that. This brings to mind Romans 7. Fortunately, there are the wonderful promises found in Romans 5 and Romans 8.

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Romans 5:6-10)

In other news....

I watched the first four chapters of THE GOSPEL OF JOHN. I don't know if that quite counts as Bible reading. But it is word-for-word from the Good News Translation I believe so it maybe counts. Anyway, it's definitely a film I'd recommend.
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