Daily Devotional LifeJourney Church (MCC)

I Am Resolved

May 21st, 2012 • Category: Proverbs

Today’s scripture: Proverbs 17:1-7 (NRSV) (The Message) (KJV) What might God be saying to me?

My thoughts (Steve Adams):

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that right choices bring benefits and wrong choices bring on consequences. In fact, sometimes we can almost get to the point where we forget there’s a right and wrong way. Maybe it just sounds too rigid and fundamentalist to use those words. Yes, life is nuanced and there are degrees of right and wrong, but if we ever think we’re too spiritually advanced to assess a situation by using ethics as one of our main benchmarks, then we’ve lost something precious.

Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.

This reminds me of the simplicity movement. You know — streamline and de-clutter your life and you’ll be a lot happier. It resonates with me. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas is my favorite secular holiday song. Whenever Christmas gift-giving deadlines start crowding out my relationship with God, I ask myself, “What’s wrong with giving them a New Year’s gift — or, if I don’t make that, then, what’s the next holiday?” And New Years Eve? I think I’ll write a new song called Have Yourself a Simple Little New Years! Seriously, though, Jesus is peaceful (John 14:27); I’m a follower of Jesus; so I’m not going to sacrifice his peace for some fancy, strife-riddled good time! No, I’m not saying fancy and expensive are always bad, but I do believe those simple summer days on my grandparent’s farm in Illinois when I was growing up were some of the best, because we had love, we did the best we could, and we enjoyed life. What more could you want?

The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.

I used to think of the heart as intentions and motives, and I still do, except I see another equally important component, and that’s resolve. How determined am I to do the right thing? If I’m committed to a budget, do I change my mind and buy that luxury I want? If I’m committed to a diet, do I eat what’s on the forbidden list? If I’m committed to sexual fidelity, do I give in when someone pursues me with (what seems like) “heavenly” pleasure? Whether I do or not depends on my will, my resolve. Psalm 51 says, “sustain in me a willing spirit.” King David experienced first-hand how the will can dissolve and crumble when he saw Bathsheba bathing in the sunlight, and then came up with the crazy plan to have Uriah killed in battle. It seems to me that good intentions are precious in God’s sight, but until we complement them with resolve, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

So, God tests our hearts in order for us to be adequately prepared for the inevitable time when an evil spiritual force will challenge us (Ephesians 6:12). Often it isn’t a feel-good moment when we choose the right thing, because we’re often emerging out of the stress of temptation, but it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness! The encouraging part of all of this is, we can strengthen our hearts by feeding them with godly values and ethics. If we faithfully and consistently train our minds with God’s values and ethics, they will respond with resolve to adhere to the values Christ has placed in our hearts.

Thought for the day: I think of the Book of Proverbs kind of like Judge Judy. You know exactly where they stand! (Except perhaps when cultural differences obscure the meaning.) And they’re usually right on! They say something like, “Steve — you choose the good way, and God can pour the benefits on you. But don’t be stupid! If you choose the bad, then you’re gonna get consequences — and miss out on so much of the good God wants to give you! Which one do you really want? Which one are you going to set your heart on?”

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.

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