Monday, January 19, 2015, 7:25 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “May Christ Be Seen In Me.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Proverbs 2 (ESV). If You Seek Wisdom My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. First of all, if we are to apply these truths to our individual lives, we must know Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives. We must understand that we are born with sin natures, without hope, and without God, and that we are destined to spend eternity in the fires of hell. We must also know that Jesus Christ, God the Son, came to earth, took on human flesh, and walked the face of this earth as fully God yet as fully man. He suffered as we suffer, and he was tempted in like manner as we are tempted, yet without sin. He was loved by some, but hated by many, because he told people the truth about their sin, and because he claimed to be God, their Lord and promised Messiah. So, they hung him on a cross to die, as though he was a common criminal, although he had done no wrong but only good. When he died, our sins died with him, and when he was resurrected back to life, he conquered death, hell, Satan and sin on our behalf so that we could be free of eternal damnation and have the hope of eternal life with God in glory; so we could be set free from bondage to sin on a day-to-day basis, and so we could be free to walk daily in Christ’s righteousness and holiness while we still walk the face of this earth. So, the way this is made possible in our lives is through faith in Jesus Christ. Involved in that faith is a forsaking of our former ways of living for sin and self, being born anew of the Spirit of God, and thus being given new lives in Christ Jesus – “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Eph. 4:17-24; cf. Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 6-8; Gal. 2:20). Then, as followers of Jesus Christ, we can apply these Biblical truths to our lives. As his followers, he encourages us to seek wisdom, not just as is recorded in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament, too. Wisdom is applied knowledge. It is taking what we have learned into our minds and moving it to our hearts and then applying it to our lifestyles (our actions). Yet, we must also seek out wisdom and understanding from the Lord through prayer for insight, and via asking him to speak his messages to our hearts, because the Word of God is alive and it is active, and it still speaks specifically to our individual circumstances, to our particular and specific needs, and to his calling upon our unique lives. If we seek out wisdom, then we will understand the fear of the Lord. To fear God means to show him respect, honor, value, esteem, praise, adoration, obedience, surrender, loyalty, devotion, reverence, worship and awe. It means we surrender our wills to the will of the Father, and that we realize that Jesus Christ bought us with his blood, so our lives are not our own any longer to be lived how we want, but they are to be under the Lordship (rule; control) of our Lord Jesus Christ, who determines our steps and what he wants for our lives. And, it means we give our lives to Christ as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, which is our reasonable service of worship of him, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but transformed of the Spirit of God in the renewing of our minds so that we can discern the good, pleasing and perfect will of God for our lives (See: Ro. 12:1-2). Wisdom Will Save You Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways. Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words, who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God. Surely her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. None who go to her return or attain the paths of life. When we take the word of God, not just into our minds, but into our hearts, and we apply what it teaches us to our individual lives and circumstances, and thus we gain wisdom and understanding, it will save us and will protect us from wicked and sinful ways. We will desire and will follow after what is of God – what is righteous and holy and just. We won’t be easily persuaded by what is evil, to walk in the ways of this sinful world. And, we won’t be easily shaken by persecution and by Satan’s attempts to trap us, manipulate us, to deceive us, and to take us captive to do his will. No words, attitudes or actions of humans will deter us and cause us to leave the straight path and to follow the ways of our human flesh, or to convince us to believe lies over the truth. We will stand firm on the word of God and on what we know to be truth, and we will refuse to accept or to entertain any of Satan’s lies. With regard to the adulterous woman, this can have multiple applications. For one, the adulterer can be male, female, or can be the church or any entity (human organization). For instance, yesterday we talked about how the church can be spiritually adulterous and idolatrous, and how she can lure, entice and deceive us into joining in with her in her spiritual adultery, and how we need to not give in to her enticements, but we must exercise wisdom and discernment so we recognize truth from lies, and what is of God from what is of evil. As well, in today’s work environment, often men and women work closely together and may even travel together, and this can present opportunities, as well, for adultery. Yet, another way in which this may apply is via us watching TV and movies or by us listening to secular music. There is much allurement to have our minds wander off away from our spouses and away from our pure devotion to the Lord via these media outlets. So, we must be careful to avoid situations which may invite such allurement so we don’t give in, either to spiritual adultery against God or to romantic or sexual adultery against our spouses. Social networks and private internet access, free from accountability between marital partners, can also provide much allurement to pursue adulterous relationships with others, if we are not careful, and if we do not have our guard up (putting on daily the armor of God). Also, the adultery may not be with a real person, but could be via pornography, which can include sexual conversations or stories containing sexual or romantic enticement. Then You Will Walk Thus you will walk in the ways of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous. For the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will remain in it; but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it. If we spend time in God’s word each day, though, sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to him speak his words into our hearts, and if we respond to what we hear by doing what the word says, and if we are proactive in keeping ourselves from opportunities to give in to the flesh, and if we respond to temptation by resisting Satan, fleeing temptation, and drawing near to God, then we will be able to walk in the ways of the Lord – on the straight and narrow path, and we will be able to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions. Only in the power and working of the Holy Spirit within us can any of this be accomplished, though. If we try to “be good” in our own strength, we are bound to fail. So, we must surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, submit to his will for our lives, and commit our ways to him. May Christ Be Seen in Me / Percy Crawford O Lord, I give myself to Thee, and all that I possess; I lay aside my sinful pride and claim Thy righteousness, My will lies shattered at Thy feet, I pray Thy will be done, My only plea to live for Thee and magnify Thy Son. O may I count all gain but loss, save as to Thee 'tis gain; Let me not shun the promised cross, nor shirk to suffer pain, Then lead me, Lord, up Calv'ry's hill, forth to the cross with Thee, And there pour out my life with God, As Thou didst Lord for me. O humbly may I serve Thee, Lord, as in Thy will I tread; And may I live anew in Christ, as risen from the dead. Then closely walking by Thy side, may love flow out thro' me, That those whom Thou shalt lead my way may, too, find life in Thee. May Christ be seen in me, O Lord, Hear Thou my earnest plea; O take me, fill me, use me, Lord, Till Christ be seen in me.