As Iron Sharpens Iron

Proverbs 27:17, knowledge, wisdomAs iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another – Proverbs 27:17.  We all need to be sharpened and we all need to grow in our faith and knowledge of the Lord.  In doing some research for my writing I came across several excellent articles that really sharpened and helped me immensely and I want to share a few of them with you.  But before I do so, let me say this:

Although I fall short in many areas God has richly blessed me with an intense curiosity and a strong desire to learn.  If I want to know something or solve a problem or if I am having difficulty in a certain area of my life then I will always try to figure out what the problem is and how to solve it.  Most of the success that I have had in my life is due to my seeking out those who are wiser and more successful than I and modeling their behavior.  This is good advice no matter who or where you are.  If you want to be a smarter, wiser and sharper person, find the sharpest and most successful folks you can (and the internet is a fantastic resource for doing this) and learn to think and act like them.

(For two great Biblical examples of this, see the writings of King David in Psalms and the writings of Paul in the New Testament).

Now to the articles!

On the topic of Christian liberty and with an excerpt that should really get you thinking:  https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/80-11/the-true-meaning-of-christian-freedom

What does it mean to walk in the Spirit?  Walk is the idea of daily conduct, daily conduct, routine life pattern.  And how do you walk in the Spirit?  Very simply, where does the Spirit reveal His will?  Where does the Spirit give us His direction?  In the Word of God, right?  I don’t think walking in the Spirit is mystical or ethereal, I don’t think it’s some kind of heavenly thing, I don’t think it’s some kind of ecstatic emotional experience. Walking in the Spirit is very simple, it is walking in obedience to the mind and will of the Spirit of God.  And that means to be saturated with the Word of God so that the Word of Christ dwells in you richly and that then, that word then becomes the control factor used by the Spirit of God to lead you into obedience.  It isn’t enough to become a Christian and then stand around in a vacuum of knowledge without any information out of the Word of God and hope everything turns out right.  We have to be saturated in the Word of God on a day-by-day basis so that the Word of God implanted in the mind and the heart becomes the control vehicle by which the Spirit of God leads us as we live day by day.  And when we’re filled with the Word of God, controlled by the Spirit of God, walk in obedience to that revealed will of God, we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh, but we will fulfill the law by loving each other.

The whole sermon is quite a read but is well worth your time and effort!

 

And on the Christian perspective of boredom (do you get bored?  I do, and from what I read here I need to be very careful about that!)  https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/god-s-beauty-for-the-bored-busy-and-depressed

“What immediately leaps to our mind when we see the word holiness?” asks Dane. “Austerity. Coldness. Grim-faced. Jaw-set. In one of his early sermons Edwards says, ‘Holiness is a most beautiful, lovely thing. Men are apt to drink in strange notions of holiness from their childhood as if it were a melancholy, morose, sour thing.’ But Edwards says there is nothing in holiness but what is sweet and ravishingly lovely. Sin is mire and filth. Holiness is sweet, lovely, delightful, serene, calm. That corrects me. Holiness is calming. It is the only route by which I can actually enjoy my life, because I am not delighting in the world’s fraudulent offers of happiness. Holiness is quietly thrilling. Where else would you want to live but in the brightness of holiness?”

How does not being bored fit in with holiness?  Well, you’ll just have to read the article to find out!

And finally, still one more fantastic resource on the Christian perspective of boredom.  This one really convicted me!  http://www.keepbelieving.com/sermon/overcoming-boredom/

This week I was asked if boredom is a sin. Good question. After contemplating the matter, I think the answer is that sin and boredom go together, but I would rather say that boredom is a disease of the soul. It is a warning sign from God that there is a “dis-ease” in your heart that must be faced. Boredom is a sign that your life is moving in the wrong direction.

How can we overcome boredom? It requires a reorientation of the way we approach each day. I’d like to combine two very familiar verses—Ecclesiastes 9:10 and Colossians 3:17—in order to find a biblical answer to boredom.

Using the above resources God really opened my eyes about some things in my life.  You may not need the specific lessons that these articles are trying to teach but I would still encourage you to be a knowledge seeker and a wisdom searcher in all that you do.  God has provided everything that we need to be strong and complete in Him but it is up to us to learn and apply those resources.  No matter what you are working on or where you happen to be in your search, my prayer is that God would richly bless your efforts as you go.

 

What I Wish I Could Tell Myself Twenty Years Ago

Wisdom, Knowledge, GodThis is my thirty-ninth year.  God has been very good to me and every day I realize just how blessed and favored that I am.  As I start to count my blessings and thank God for His provision I can’t help but look back and see how far He has brought me.

Twenty years ago I was nineteen and in a state of transition, as many at that age are.  I had just started college, a semester late and a semester behind most of the other kids my age.  I was away from home for the first time and every day was a new learning experience.  Although I greatly enjoyed my college years I can look back and recognize mistakes I made and habits that I developed that I wish I hadn’t.

They say wisdom is gained through experience.  I pray that I gained wisdom from my errors and have learned a better way.  Even so, if I could take a few things that I know now and tell my nineteen-year old self back then, this is what I would say:

1. A life lived in complete surrender to God is the richest and fullest life you can have.  This is the absolute most important truth that I could impart to anyone, at any age.  Surrender is such a difficult concept for us humans and I believe that it gets tougher as we get older.  The younger you are when you decide to fully surrender your life to God and start to take the necessary steps to live a Godly life, the better off you will be.  The reason why?  Because God takes our surrendered lives and produces love, joy and peace in us and through us, something we can never do on our own.

2. You can’t take it back.  I’ve said some things in my life that I wish I hadn’t.  And as sorry as I might be after the offending words have left my lips, I have never been able to call them back.  My words have hurt people, led them astray and many times have been full of foolishness.  If you are like me, you can identify moments in your life when you wish you had said something different or just kept your mouth shut.  My goal at this point in my life is to try and make sure my speech matches up to Colossians 4:6 which says “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”  Speak grace (unmerited favor) and wisdom and you can never go wrong.

3. Don’t live in debt.  Financially speaking.  Don’t spend more than you make.  Live below your means.  Live well below your means because that is the truest and best path to prosperity.  Don’t waste what you earn and what you are given on fruitless pursuits and on things that don’t bring glory to God because you will only regret it later.  It’s so easy to use a credit card and to buy things that seem like fun now only to realize that you can’t afford to pay it off at the end of the month.  It’s easy to dig yourself into a financial hole and very difficult to dig yourself out of one.  Learn to handle money wisely, respect your resources and get into the habit of saving money.  That way you can give your tithe and offerings to God with a clear and unburdened heart and know that God will bless you for it.

4. Be patient.  All things happen in God’s time.  Despite what our society is telling us, you really can’t have it all right now.  Some things can and should be waited for.  Be patient and pray for faithfulness while you look for your cue from God that it is time to act.  Wait for sex until marriage, it really is worth it.  Wait until you’ve grown up a little bit before you buy a really nice car or other big ticket item because without the benefit of maturity, you won’t appreciate it properly.  Wait for experience and study of God’s Word to teach you wisdom and knowledge of the truth.  If you keep your focus on God then you won’t miss anything good that God has coming your way.  Getting impatient and doing things out of order just causes problems for you and for others and can bring you heartache and pain.

5. God can fix it.  Inevitably you will mess up.  I have actually failed at all of these in one way or another!  Amazingly, God still loves me and there isn’t a mess that I have gotten myself into that His love and His grace haven’t been able to get me out of.  That isn’t to say that we should ever take God’s grace lightly or forget what it cost Him.  Sin is serious and there are always consequences for our sin.  But praise God that His grace is always greater than my sin and He can work any problem, error or mistake out for ultimate good.  Only an awesome God could do something like that and I know that when I fail I can always turn to Him for His help.  If you’ve messed up, let God have it and let God fix it, because only He can.

These are the five things that I would tell myself twenty years ago, if I could.  Although it isn’t possible for me to deliver this message back in time, I can deliver it to you and ask you to deliver it to anyone that you think it might help.  I want the best possible life for everyone I meet and if someone else can benefit from my experiences then I will thank God for that.