Jesus, Give Me Your Forgiveness

Jesus, Give Me Your Forgiveness

What I Learned Last Sunday

and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. – Matthew 6:12

Check out last Sunday’s sermon here.

I don’t believe it is hyperbole to say that in Christ any sin against us from others can be forgiven. It may seem impossible in the moment, yet the transforming power of a Gospel that forgives our every sin, even the deepest and darkest deeds, gives us hope to forgive the deepest, darkest deeds committed against us or those we love.

You may be familiar with the life of Corrie Ten Boom, a Dutch woman, who was arrested by the Nazis for aiding Jews during German occupation. She spent time in a concentration camp, Ravensbrück, and suffered greatly, even having her sister and father die in captivity.

Though a Christian, Corrie battled the very idea of extending forgiveness to those who had been so cruel. She had no ability in herself to do so. However, as recorded in her book, The Hiding Place, Corrie was given a chance many years later to address her unforgiveness toward a former Nazi prison guard who had helped in her captivity.

He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. ‘How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein.’ He said. ‘To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!’
His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.

Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him.

I tried to smile, I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness.

As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.

And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on his. When he tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.

If we put a limit on our ability to forgive, as those who claim to be under the cross, we may find that we in fact are placing limitations on the power of the cross itself to forgive the great debt we owe to God.

Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little. – Luke 7:47

The Christian in Complete Armour

The Christian in Complete Armour

What I Learned Last Sunday

We were blessed this past Sunday to hear a simple message from Matthew 6:11 that brought to our minds many important themes: In prayer, we sign our declaration of dependence on God for both temporal and spiritual necessities. We trust God for the present and leave the future in his providential care. We pray for one another and with one another; (‘Give us…our…’) Finally, we are reminded that Jesus is the ultimate staple for all of life. In him we find sustenance, in him we find rest and peace, in him we find life.

What follows are some of my favorite quotes along these themes from The Christian in Complete Armour”, by William Gurnall. I hope they will be a blessing to you as they have been to me.

Suppose a man was going about some important business, and had him in his company that alone could help or hinder the dispatch of it; were it not strange that he should travel all day with him, and not apply himself to this person to make him his friend? This is thy case: thou and all thy affairs are at the absolute disposal of the great God, to bless or blast thee in every enterprise. Now, God is always in thy company, at home and abroad. Surely, didst thou believe this firmly, thou wouldst often in a day turn
thyself to him, and beg his good-will to favor thy undertaking.

Whatever we prefer in our desires, above the glory of God, is an idol-worship by us. The heart can engrave as well as the hand; and an idol in the heart is as bad as one set up in the house.

Secondly, when the thing prayed for is denied. He that aims sincerely at God’s glory in prayer for a mercy, (I speak now of such mercies as are but conditionally promised,) will cheerfully submit to the will of God in a denial, because God can in such petitions glorify himself, by denying as well as granting them. David prayed and fasted for the life of his child; it dies notwithstanding: does this denial make him fall out with God? Is he clamorous and discontented? No, it raiseth no storm in his heart, to hinder him in the service of God; he washeth his tears from his cheeks, changes his apparel, and goes cheerfully into the house of God and worshippeth, 2 Sam. 12:20, so powerfully did the will of God determine his will.

Pray often rather than very long. It is difficult to remain long in prayer, and not slacken in our affections.

1 Thes. 5:17-18 Pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks: in both which places the whole matter of prayer is comprehended in request and thanksgiving. These two are like the double motion of the lungs, by which they suck in and breathe out the air again. In the petitionary part of prayer, we desire something at God’s hands: in thanksgiving, we return praise to him for mercies received from him.

Now the good things promised are either spiritual or temporal; such a large field hath the Christian given him for his requests to walk in; for godliness hath the promise of life that now is, and of that which is to come (1 Tim. 4:8).

Pray and work or pray and starve.

Temporal blessings are chiefly to be desired for the sake of the spiritual. He is thy chief good, and therefore thou infinitely dishonourest him, if thy desires can be satisfied with anything short of him.

Prov. 30:8-9 Self-denial is the best self-seeking, for by neglecting ourselves for God’s sake, we oblige him to take the care of us upon himself; and he is the only happy man, whose sole dependence is upon God.

It shews a bad heart to make a great noise in prayer for corn and wine, and to be faint in the desire for Christ and his grace; nor is it any better when one acknowledges the goodness of God in temporals but takes little notice of those greater blessings which concern another life.
“Thankfulness is costly work: ‘Shall I offer to God that which cost me nothing?’

We see there is need not only to stir up our people to pray, but also to teach them how they may pray.

Observe, therefore, what is thy chief impediment to fervency in prayer, and set thyself vigorously against it: if thou art remiss in this, thou wilt be much more so in prayer itself.

Prefer spiritual blessing in thy prayer for others before temporal. Is it a sick friend? If health be all thou beggest for him, thou art not faithful to him; he may have that and be the worse for it.

Thirdly, be not discouraged in your prayers for others, though and answer doth not presently overtake them. Thou prayest for a rebellious child, or carnal friend, who yet continue to be so; take heed thou dost not presently think them past grace and give over the work. Samuel saw the people he prayed for mend slowly, yet hear what he saith, 1 Sam. 12:23 ‘God forbid I should cease praying for you.’

Certainly, as it shews want of charity not to pray for others, so no want of pride not to desire prayers from others!

Do Your Will God!

Do Your Will God!

What I Learned Last Sunday

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  – Matthew 6:10

Check out last Sunday’s sermon here.

When you pray, do not add empty phrases to your prayer, thinking that God will hear you (Matthew 6:7). This is especially helpful when you pray the common phrase, “Let your will be done, God.”

Asking God to do His will should never mean, “God do something that I am clueless to because I do not know your ways.” Of course, God’s ways are beyond human comprehension (Romans 11:33), but consider how much you do know about what God wills.

…this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. – John 6:40

And…

For this is the will of God, your sanctification… -1 Thessalonians 4:3

And…

The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. -Psalm 146:10

You will never comprehend (in this life) many of God’s ways, and yet you are gifted with the greatest knowledge of God’s will. He is making all things right. He has made a way. He always accomplishes His purposes.

Asking that God’s will be done never means, “God I am afraid to ask that you work in specific ways because I fear that You may not answer my prayer. So, I will just pray that your will be done.” No, ask for God’s will to be done because you believe ultimately that His plan should be your greatest desire. You ask for His will because He truly knows what is best, knowing your every need.

…your Father knows what you need before you ask him. – Matthew 6:8.

So ask! Just ask. Ask specifically. Ask with confidence in the Father as you approach through the Son (Ephesians 3:12, James 1:6). And, if you want to know how to ask better, Let God’s will in His Word open for you the realities of life, revealing your greatest needs and God’s ultimate goal.

Asking that God’s will be done never means, “God do your will, and give me my desires, even if they are outside of your will.”

No, ask God to do His will because God’s will and purpose is, and always will be the ultimate establishment of His Kingdom. He is reigning now and will reign so that all the earth will worship Him.

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” – Revelation 11:15.

Ask with all your heart that God would move in this world, through you, through His people, to make His name known and cherished. Ask for God to do His will, a request for cataclysmic, miraculous, heart-changing, life-transforming action. May this never again be a cheapened filler phrase, devoid of meaning and desire.

So, Father we pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

Hope for the Prayerless

Hope for the Prayerless

What I Learned Last Sunday

And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. -Matthew 6:5-8

Check out last Sunday’s sermon here.

If you feel you are stuck in thought, frustration, doubt, or self-loathing about your prayer life, friend, there is one solution (hint, it’s to pray). However, true prayer may not meet your current definition of prayer. True prayer is not a thing you do to get public praise (if it is only that it is a shell of hypocrisy). True prayer is also not a perfect mixture of words that will unlock the door to God’s presence (like pagan chants that ‘appease’ the gods through their “many words.”). What is the prayer actually?

The point of prayer is humble, dependent, communion with God. -Pastor Mike

Prayerless: “I don’t pray as much as I should.”
Solution: “God, help me to prayerfully depend on You!”

Prayerless: “I don’t know if anyone will hear my prayer.”
Solution: “God, remind me that you are not far off but near and that you are a personal God who I can speak to like a child with her father.”

Prayerless: “I don’t even know what to pray right now.”
Solution: “God, teach me to pray and call to mind my present needs. Let your Spirit fill up all that I lack and advocate for me through the words I cannot speak.”

The Command and the Granting of It

The Command and the Granting of It

What I Learned Last Sunday

Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. – Matthew 6:1-4

Check out last Sunday’s sermon here.

1. “Command what you will…” -Augustine

God does not value or judge me based one how much people love me.

God smiles at the expression of worship from the heart…so when you serve other people, don’t do it for the fickle smiles of people but for the everlasting smile of God. -Pastor Mike

That statement, if really understood, defines the second most life changing reality in the world. It cuts counter to a culture that lives and breathes on the praise of other people. You and I, in our natural hearts, cannot help but crave after people’s praise.

  • It makes us high, endorphins surging, causing us to believe, “Now I’ve made it! How could my life get better?”
  • We get anxiety about getting or not getting praise. We grind our teeth at night. We mope about when we feel others think of us badly. If unchecked, we might just think ending it all is better than living without it.

Outward praise is not where God looks. He judges the secret things in my heart that most people never see (Romans 2:16).

He wants my heart. He commands it. He must have it for me to be His.
He wants my heart, not the curated game that others see.
He wants my heart, not my good deeds balanced on the scale comparing me with other people.
He wants my heart, not the offering of praise that others give me.

“Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. -Joel 2:12-13

2. “Grant what you command.” -Augustine

What then, if really understood, is the first most life-changing, eye-opening, otherworldly statement in all reality? It is intimately connected to the second.

It is that…

…when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. -Galatians 4:4-5

And that…

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? – Romans 8:32

So, in an upheaval of everything I have always known, valued, indeed loved, there is one simple call.

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household. – Acts 16:31

In Christ, I am saved by the selfless sacrifice of another, earning the eternal smile of God. Am I embracing this right now?

Excuses, Excuses

Excuses, Excuses

What I Learned Last Sunday

Wisdom has built her house;
she has hewn her seven pillars.
She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine;
she has also set her table.
She has sent out her young women to call
from the highest places in the town,
“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
To him who lacks sense she says,
“Come, eat of my bread
and drink of the wine I have mixed.
Leave your simple ways, and live,
and walk in the way of insight.”

Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
For by me your days will be multiplied,
and years will be added to your life.
If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
if you scoff, you alone will bear it.

The woman Folly is loud;
she is seductive and knows nothing.
She sits at the door of her house;
she takes a seat on the highest places of the town,
calling to those who pass by,
who are going straight on their way,
“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
And to him who lacks sense she says,
“Stolen water is sweet,
and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
But he does not know that the dead are there,
that her guests are in the depths of Sheol. – Proverbs 9:1-18

Check out last Sunday’s sermon here.

There are two invitations to every naive soul.
There are two promises of good, though only one is truly good. The other is a way to death.
There is no option to pick and choose, for each invite offers opposing paths. To choose both is to choose the path of death.
There is no time to delay or dabble with choosing the good, for “Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” – 2 Corinthians 6:2b.

Excuses
Just one look.
Been done before.
What could it cost with
tomorrow still an open door?

Or, why not just a taste of both?
I do love God, for what it’s worth.
I’ve got a friend who’s got it made.
She’s got her piece with,
Sunday worship à la mode.
Having both won’t make me drift.

Or, tomorrow I will turn again.
Tomorrow I won’t let it win.
See you tomorrow,
I’ll be refilled.
When I’m ready, though.
Not too early.

But he does not know that the dead are there,
that her guests are in the depths of Sheol. Proverbs 9:18

Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. – 2 Corinthians 6:2b

A Response to The God Who Hates

A Response to The God Who Hates

What I Learned Last Sunday

A worthless person, a wicked man,
goes about with crooked speech,
winks with his eyes, signals with his feet,
points with his finger,
with perverted heart devises evil,
continually sowing discord;
therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly;
in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.

There are six things that the LORD hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers. – Proverbs 6:12-19

 

Check out last Sunday’s sermon here.

Adoration
Triune God, Father, Son, and Spirit. You are the blessed and only Sovereign, King of kings and Lord of lords. You alone have immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light. God whom, in Your unveiled glory, man cannot see without the cost of death. May You be honored by every heart and may Your eternal dominion shine in unfading spendor across time and space for every being to see.
You are only worthy.
You are truth.
You are justice.
You are purity.
You are goodness.
You are unity.
See 1 Timothy 6:15-16 and Exodus 33:20.

Confession
Holy Father, You hate with a perfect hate those evils which take aim at Your glory and Your fame.
You hate the haughty pride of men, who conclude that You are a means to their end.
You hate the tongues that spit little lies as ‘my truth’ and the subtle spins we put on stories to look better in the eyes of men.
You hate injustice in all its forms. From great ones to small, You see it all.
You hate the schemes of evil, plans laid to commit offenses.
You hate disunity, chaotic discord caused by sin.
You hate evil.
In all these things Your hatred is good.

I have lived in pride, living for my way at the cost of Your honor.
I have lied with subtle deceptions to keep my boss thinking well of me.
I have been unjust to my children, unfairly handling discipline.
I have schemed that ‘perfect’ vengeful reply the next time she brings up my faults.
I have caused disunity with my lips through selfishness.
I have loved the evil that You hate.
For all these things, if on my own, Your hate would be my damnation.
See Proverbs 6:12-19.

Thanksgiving
Christ, You came to give Your life to ransom me from damnation.
Your sinless body became sin for me, making me the righteousness of God.
For Your body became the recipient of my sin punishment. On the cross You took on wounds, healing with Your blood
Jesus, Your life appeased God’s righteous hatred of me.
God, in Your perfect timing, You sent Jesus to redeem my condemned life. You have adopted me as Your child. You sent Your Spirit into my heart. I can call You “Father.” Yes, You are holy, righteous, and pure. But You are more, Father.
Triune God, Father, Son, Spirit, You have made me an heir of everything that You love, never to suffer for what You hate.
May my life be a response of thanksgiving as I meditate on what You have done.

See Mark 10:45, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:24, and Galatians 4:4-7.

Supplication
Spirit, be my help!
Produce the fruit of holiness in my life. I have a life record of self-empowered failures.
Guide my heart to fear the Lord and to love the mystery of Christ. I am prone to forget why I was made.
Make my worship pure, full of truth. You, O God, are worthy of my everything.
Spirit, help me see the bitterness of sin before I give into temptation. I desire to hate what God hates and need Your guidance to do so.
May I walk by You, avoiding the path of my flesh. Please, help me do so.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

See John 14:16, Galatians 5:22-23, John 4:23-24, Gal 5:16, and Romans 8:26.

Resolved to be Diligent

Resolved to be Diligent

What I Learned Last Sunday

Go to the ant, O sluggard;
consider her ways, and be wise.
Without having any chief,
officer, or ruler,
she prepares her bread in summer
and gathers her food in harvest.
How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want like an armed man. – Proverbs 6:6-11

Check out last Sunday’s sermon here.

Pastor Mike shared, “Diligence is, doing the appropriate thing at the appropriate time.

Laziness is the opposite of diligence.

How do I handle my time? The topics of laziness and diligence are subsumed within this question. We have only been given so much (time). It (time) is a gift. And, we must wield it (time) rightly for the glory of God.

Additionally, as so often happens with God’s Word, there are high stakes to how we use it (time). God is not indifferent to lazy living any more than He is to sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Or, was Jesus only interested in passive devotion when He said, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48). No, God calls His people to holiness, to devotion. Laziness is not simply that unadmirable but silly term, “procrastination” we often label it to be. It is unholy.

An Example in Jonathan Edwards
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), the great theologian, pastor, and thinker, has challenged many with his 70 Resolutions which he began to write in his early twenties. I encourage you to give them a read (the English is a bit challenging but the struggle is worth it).

In them, you will find a young adult resolved to live a diligent life, for the glory of God. You will also be challenged to the core if you ponder taking each of these seriously for your life.

For example, Edwards says, “5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

What a challenge!

You may read his statements and find them laughably hopeful and realistically impossible. However, Edwards prefaced his resolutions with the following, “Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.”

Edwards then writes, “Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.”

In the task of doing the impossible, Edwards relied and remembered. He relied on God’s help, asking for God’s empowering strength. He remembered what he was resolved to do, reading his resolutions each week.

In this preface, the heart of diligence is found. God gives the strength, and we prayerfully fight and fight to remember what we are resolved to do.

A Proposition

Will you consider making these following resolutions for 30 days?

  1. Resolved to pray daily for God’s empowering strength to strive for diligence (to do the appropriate thing at the appropriate time).
  2. Resolved to remember, “…[I am] his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that [I] should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
  3. Resolved to spend as much time each day in intentional fellowship with God through prayer, God’s Word, and God glorifying content as I spend consuming media (Social Media, TV, Movies, etc.).
If Sinners Entice You

If Sinners Entice You

What I Learned Last Sunday

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching,
for they are a graceful garland for your headand pendants for your neck.
My son, if sinners entice you,do not consent.
If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason;
like Sheol let us swallow them alive, and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
we shall find all precious goods, we shall fill our houses with plunder;
throw in your lot among us; we will all have one purse”—
my son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths… -Proverbs 1:8–15

Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice;
at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? – Proverbs 1:20–22

My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding;
yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God. – Proverbs 2:1–5

Here are a few takeaways from this week’s message on Proverbs 1:8-2:22:

Who are these sinners?

Don’t all sin? Even Christians? Yes. Pastor Mike used the example of when we call someone a runner. These sinners are defined by what they are doing. Though the Christian falls short and sins, we are actively pursuing the righteousness of Christ and waging war on sin with his help. The sinners in this passage are actively living in their sin, pursuing it.

And though verses 10-11 might seem irrelevant to us due to the specifically murderous context, we see the bigger reality in verse 19 that “such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors.”

Evil desires are counterfeits of good ones.

The result of consenting to the enticement of sinners seems worth it. They promise a sense of togetherness and of great reward in precious goods and plunder (1:13-14). We might desire to seek such sin because we long for a sense of community and common cause. God hard-wired us to long for the church and for the common interest of Christ.

These sinners set an ambush for their own lives. The thought that it might be worth it is a lie.

You will never be sorry for following God.

The alternative to falling for the enticement of sinners is to treasure God’s wisdom in our hearts. Whoever listens to true wisdom will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster (1:33). The Lord will give us wisdom, will be a shield to us, will watch over us, will give us knowledge, will give us discretion, and deliver us from evil (2: 1-15).

If you throw in your lot with Jesus, you will live. Build your house on the rock (See Matthew 7:24-27 as referenced in the sermon).

As Mike said “It’s hard when you’re at the crossroads, but it’s better Every. Single. Time.

The Challenge in two words: How Long?

There comes a time when the laughing stops. If you don’t take God’s word seriously today, you will one day.

Wisdom is calling out! How long until I listen?
Make it today.

Parents: Don’t waste your influence. Teach this to your children. The world is full of influence that is crying out for their hearts.

Two Reminders for Reading Proverbs

Two Reminders for Reading Proverbs

What I Learned Last Sunday

The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth—
Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Proverbs 1:1–7

Check out last Sunday’s sermon here. Below are some key takeaways from Pastor Mike’s sermon.

Keep these two essential points in mind as we study Proverbs this summer.

  1. Biblical proverbs are uncommon sense (divine sense).
  2. Biblical Proverbs are to be read reverently, not pragmatically.

Biblical Proverbs are Uncommon Sense (Divine Sense)
Where the world’s proverbs are sourced in common, logical sense, “…biblical proverbs go against our grain.”* Proverbs draw us away from trusting in ourselves, our path, our dreams, to trusting in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Therefore, when a biblical proverb causes friction with my life, I must remember that it is supposed to. Also, I should remember that when I see the wisdom in a biblical proverb, I must attribute that to God’s grace. On my own, I would never see God’s wisdom as wisdom. On my own, I would be a fool.

Read Biblical Proverbs Reverently, not Pragmatically
prag·mat·ic**
/praɡˈmadik/
adjective

  1. dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.

We cannot understand or apply proverbs fully outside a genuine fear of the Lord.”* This point cannot be stated enough. If I read Proverbs with the belief that my best life will be found in simply, pragmatically doing better in work ethic, family, friendship, marriage, and the lot, I HAVE MISREAD PROVERBS ENTIRELY.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Proverbs 1:7

Therefore, we must read Proverbs’ call to godly work, family rearing, friendship, marriage, and more with the conviction that, “…Christ is my life.”* If I am no longer my own, so my response to God’s call in Proverbs must be of reverence (biblical fear) before the Lord. My response of obedience is to be an act of worship to Christ. My number one goal is not to simply do better for a nicer life.

So, let’s read, pray, consider, and apply Proverbs in this light this summer. It is the only Christian response.

*Quotes from the sermon preached by Pastor Mike on May 22, 2022.
**Definition from Oxford Languages.