Walking The Way Of Wisdom: Scripture

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God says, “I’m not giving you a crystal ball. I’m giving you My Word. Meditate on it; see Me in it; and become like Me.”~ Kevin DeYoung

God’s Word is living and active. When we read the Bible, we hear from God with a confidence we find in no other book and from no other voice. We can read the Scriptures knowing that this is what the Holy Spirit says. And as we read and reread and ponder and study and digest the Scriptures, we will, as 2 Timothy 3:15 says, become “wise for salvation.”

But the Bible is not a casebook. It doesn’t give us explicit information about dating or careers or when to build a church or buy a house. We’ve all wished that the Bible was that kind of book, but it’s not because God is interested in more than getting us to follow His to-do list; He wants transformation. God doesn’t want us to merely give external obedience to His commands. He wants us to know Him so intimately that His thoughts become our thoughts, His ways our ways, His affections our affections. God wants us to drink so deeply of the Scriptures that our heads and hearts are transformed so that we love what He loves and hate what He hates.

Romans 12:1–2 is the classic text about this kind of spiritual transformation.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

There are three commands here: (1) Present your bodies as living sacrifices (2) Do not conform to the world. (3) Be transformed by the renewal of your mind. If we do these three things, then we will be able to discern what God’s will is. This is how the Christian life works. There are no shortcuts. We don’t get secret messages that tell us whether to drop the entomology minor. God wants us to offer ourselves to Him, turn from the ways of the world, and be transformed. Then we will have something better than special revelations and words about the future—we’ll have wisdom. God wants us to develop a taste for godliness…

That’s how we are to be with the Word of God. We must eat it and swallow it and digest it so regularly that over time we develop a taste for godliness. That’s wisdom.

Wisdom is the difference between knowing a world-class biologist who can write your papers for you and studying under a world-class biologist so that you can write the kind of papers he would write. Too many of us want God to be the world-class scholar who will write our papers and live our lives for us, when God wants us to sit at His feet and read His Word so that we can live a life in the image of His Son. God doesn’t tell us the future for this simple, yet profound reason: We become what we behold. God wants us to behold Him in His glory so that we can be transformed into His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18). If God figured everything out for us, we wouldn’t need to focus on Him and learn to delight in His glory. God says, “I’m not giving you a crystal ball. I’m giving you My Word. Meditate on it; see Me in it; and become like Me.”

~ Excerpt From Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach To Finding God’s Will, Kevin DeYoung, (Moody Publishers: Boulevard Chicago, 2009, Kindle Edition)

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Search the scriptures (John 5:39)

The Greek word translated search signifies a strict, close, diligent, curious search, the kind men make when they are seeking gold, or hunters when they are in pursuit of game. We must not be content with giving a superficial glance to one or two chapters, but with the candle of the Spirit we must deliberately seek out the meaning of the Word.

Holy Scripture requires searching—much of it can only be learned by careful study. There is milk for babies, but also meat for strong men. The rabbis wisely say that a mountain of matter hangs upon every word, indeed, upon every title of Scripture. Tertullian declared, “I adore the fullness of the Scriptures.” The person who merely skims the Book of God will not profit from it; we must dig and mine until we obtain the treasure. The door of the Word only opens to the key of diligence. The Scriptures demand to be searched. They are the writings of God, bearing the divine stamp and imprimatur—who shall dare to treat them casually? To despise them is to despise the God who wrote them.

God forbid that any of us should allow our Bibles to become witnesses against us in the great day of account. The Word of Godwill repay searching. God does not ask us to sift through a mountain of chaff with only here and there a grain of wheat in it, but the Bible is sifted corn—we have only to open the granary door and find it. Scripture grows upon the student.

It is full of surprises. Under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, to the searching eye, it glows with splendor of revelation, like a vast temple paved with gold and roofed with rubies, emeralds, and all manner of gems. There is no merchandise like the merchandise of scriptural truth. Finally, the Scriptures reveal Jesus: “They that bear witness about me.” No more powerful motive can be urged upon Bible readers than this: He who finds Jesus finds life, heaven, and all things. Happy are they who, in searching the Bible, discover their Savior.

Family Bible Reading Plan

Isaiah 41

Revelation 11

© Truth For Life Devotional, 9th June 2016

Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. Copyright © 2003, Good News Publishers and used by Truth For Life with written permission.

Does God Have A Specific Plan For Your Life?

Screenshot_2016-06-05-23-30-24-1God does have a specific plan for our lives, but it is not one that He expects us to figure out before we make a decision. I’m not saying God won’t help you make decisions (it’s called wisdom, and we’ll talk about it in chapter 8). I’m not saying God doesn’t care about your future. I’m not saying God isn’t directing your path and in control amidst the chaos of your life. I believe in providence with all my heart. What I am saying is that we should stop thinking of God’s will like a corn maze, or a tightrope, or a bull’s-eye, or a choose-your-own-adventure novel…

Many of us fear we’ll take the wrong job, or buy the wrong house, or declare the wrong major, or marry the wrong person, and suddenly our lives will blow up. We’ll be out of God’s will, doomed to spiritual, relational, and physical failure. Or, to put it in Christianese, we’ll find ourselves out of “the center of God’s will.” We’ll miss God’s best and have to settle for an alternate ending to our lives.

Several years ago I read The Will of God as a Way of Life, by Gerald Sittser. His book helped me crystallize my understanding of what I felt was wrong with the traditional understanding of God’s will. Here’s Sittser’s explanation of the usual, and misguided, way of looking at God’s will.

Conventional understanding of God’s will defines it as a specific pathway we should follow into the future. God knows what this pathway is, and he has laid it out for us to follow. Our responsibility is to discover this pathway—God’s plan for our lives. We must discover which of the many pathways we could follow is the one we should follow, the one God has planned for us. If and when we make the right choice, we will receive his favor, fulfill our divine destiny and succeed in life If we choose rightly, we will experience his blessing and achieve success and happiness. If we choose wrongly, we may lose our way, miss God’s will for our lives, and remain lost forever in an incomprehensible maze.[1]

This conventional understanding is the wrong way to think of God’s will. In fact, expecting God to reveal some hidden will of direction is an invitation to disappointment and indecision. Trusting in God’s will of decree is good. Following His will of desire is obedient. Waiting for God’s will of direction is a mess. It is bad for your life, harmful to your sanctification, and allows too many Christians to be passive tinkerers who strangely feel more spiritual the less they actually do.

God is not a Magic 8-Ball we shake up and peer into whenever we have a decision to make. He is a good God who gives us brains, shows us the way of obedience, and invites us to take risks for Him. We know God has a plan for our lives. That’s wonderful. The problem is we think He’s going to tell us the wonderful plan before it unfolds. We feel like we can know—and need to know—what God wants every step of the way. But such preoccupation with finding God’s will, as well-intentioned as the desire may be, is more folly than freedom.

The better way is the biblical way: Seek first the kingdom of God, and then trust that He will take care of our needs, even before we know what they are and where we’re going.

~ Kevin DeYoung, Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach To Finding God’s Will, (Moody Publishers: Boulevard Chicago, 2009, Kindle Edition)

Notes

1: Bruce Waltke, Finding the Will of God: A Pagan Notion? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), 15.

Knowing God

are_you_there_godBy J.I Packer

It has been said by someone that ‘the proper study of mankind is man’. I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God’s elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings , and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father.

There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can compass and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, ‘Behold I am wise’. But when we come to this master-science, finding that our plumb-line cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass’s colt; and with solemn exclamation , ‘I am but of yesterday, and know nothing’. No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God . . . But while the subject humbles the mind, it also expands it.

He who often thinks of God, will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe . . . The most excellent study for expanding the soul, is the science of Christ, and Him crucified, and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity.

And, whilst humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatory. Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief; and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore. Would you lose your sorrow? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated.

I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of sorrow and grief ; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead.

~C.H. Spurgeon, January 7th, 1855, Introduction to morning sermon preached at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark. Quoted in Knowing God, © 1973 by J. I. Packer.