Exercise Yourself

Amazing! God says, “Be strong” (1Co 16:13), so He’s designed our muscles to respond to stress by rebuilding themselves: tear ’em down a little, feed ’em, rest, and they come back stronger. Pushing our minds works similarly: we can train ourselves way beyond our present limits to do what looks impossible at first.

Tranining ourselves in godliness works similarly, and it’s a more important kind of strength (Ep 6:10), so He says: exercise thyself rather unto godliness(1Ti 4:7-8) Spiritual exercise, systematically stressing our inner selves, produces mental, emotional and spiritual growth. (Ja 1:2-4) God’s called us to some amazing things; if we’ll try, taking it one small step at a time, who knows what we can do in Him? (Col 1:10)

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So push yourself a little: try to love God a little more — meditate on His nature and His ways, setting aside time to feed on His majesty, to behold His beauty, to admire and worship Him. Ponder your pathlook for ways to align more fully with His Lawperfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2Co 7:1) Walk in the light, relishing every moment as a perfect gift in which to enjoy Him, and He you.

Push your mind a little: hide one more piece of His Word in your heart, intentionally focus on His word and meditate on it a little more throughout each day (Ps 119:97), comparing scripture with scripture and wielding the sword of the Spirit (Ep 6:17) in spiritual warfare(Eph 6:11-12)

Push your heart and soul a little: practice being a little more like Christ, putting Him on (Ro 13:14), pretending to be a little more like Him every day. (1Pe 2:21) Try to love your neighbor a little bit more; every man a brother and every woman your sister; seek their highest good at every turn, how best to serve each eternal soul.

Don’t strive to earn your way to God, but knowing you’re already His; we’ll fail, and miserably at times, but less and less as we grow in His likeness. It’s not a contest but a journey, a journey through God and into God (Jn 15:5), the journey of a lifetime … and beyond. (Php 1:6)

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Precious Promises

YHWH has given us exceedingly great and precious promises so that we might partake of and participate in His divine nature. (2Pe 1:4) What are His promises, and how does receiving them enable us to cleanse ourselves, following after Him, perfecting holiness in the fear of God? (2Co 7:1)

Golden Gate Bridge, San Fransicso

God promises that if we’ll separate ourselves from uncleanness unto Him that He’ll receive us as His children. (2Co 6:17-18) Knowing He’ll never leave us nor forsake us enables us to be content, freeing us of covetousness. (He 13:5) Knowing God is just, that He’ll judge all according to truth, heals resentment and bitterness(Ro 2:2) Knowing we’re God’s workmanship (Ep 2:10), that He will complete what He’s begun in us (Php 1:6), gives us confidence and hope. Knowing He’s given us power, love and a sound mind gives us courage and boldness to walk shamelessly in our gifts and calling. (2Ti 1:6-8)

These are but a sampling of His awesome promises! Each one we internalize strengthens us in the nature of God, enabling us to walk more freely of sin, filled with more light and joy, in closer fellowship with Him. (1Jn 1:3) Look for more, contemplating them, feasting on the divine nature. O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him! (Ps 34:8As we behold Him we become more like Him. (2Co 3:18) Rejoicing in and counting on God’s promises honors Him by proclaiming God is faithful; it quickens us to live in strength and power according to His design in us.

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Emulations

After calling out variance as a work of the flesh, YHWH continues with emulations. (Ga 5:19-21). The enemy often tempts in extremes; we need balance to avoid the one while evading the other.

img_1298As variance is unholy glorying in differentness, emulation is an effort to match or surpass a person or achievement, typically by imitation. Is it unholy competition, ungodly sameness.

How then do godly men encourage us to emulate them (Ro 11:14), begging us to follow their example? (1Co 4:16) Imitating the godly helps ensure our own walk with God. (Php 4:9) How is this supposed to work?

The difference between holy and unholy emulation is evidently in our motivation. As we follow after God (Ep 5:1) good role models are invaluable; we’re not trying to outdo each other, but being discipled, coached and motivated through wholesome example. As long as we’re rejoicing in the godliness of others and enjoying our own unique design and gifting in God, emulating Christ in others, where ever and whenever we can find Him, we’re walking in love.

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A Prating Fool

Twice in a 3-verse passage, God repeats a unique, obscure warning: “a prating fool shall fall.” (Pr 10:8) (Pr 10:10) What’s He telling us? Definitions help.

  • pulpitrock
    Pulpit Rock, Norway

    Prate: to talk idly and at length, foolishly or tediously; chatter.

  • FoolOne deficient in judgment, sense, or understanding.
  • Prating Fool: one who jabbers on and on without making sense.

A prating fool shall fall. God evidently wants us to steer clear of fools and the inevitable collateral damage, and to company with the wise. (Pr 13:20) He’s dedicated an entire book of the Bible to help us distinguish between them.

Wise men spare words (Pr 10:19); God exhorts us to measure each one, speaking only as necessary. (Ja 1:19) This is both for our protection (Pr 13:3) and our promotion. (Pr 17:28). Wisdom walks carefully and thoughtfully, aware that missteps are costly.

Life is tough, but it’s tougher when we’re stupid. Let’s not play the fool, or company with them. Let’s enjoy God and His ways, being careful to heed all His warnings.

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Variance

As we make our election sure, examining ourselves and proving we’re in the faith (2Co 13:5), consider a vice that God calls variance: enjoying, as an end in itself, being peculiar, divergent, unusual, at odds, estranged, antagonistic, non-conforming, disagreeable, contentious or quarrelsome. Those enjoying living this way as a manner of life have no part in God’s kingdom. (Ga 5:19-21)

lizardcolorIn cleansing our selves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2Co 7:1), we depart the mainstream; in living truth we expose the world’s lies; as we align more and more with God we find ourselves increasingly opposed to an ungodly culture; in pursuing God we find ourselves in rare and precious company; in finding light and life we inevitably abandon the madding crowd to its love of death and darkness. (Pr 8:36)

Yet deriving significance or importance in being outside the mainstream, in belonging to an elite, exclusive club, delighting in finding others in the wrong, exalting ourselves with superior knowledge or beliefs, disdaining those who haven’t found what we have, is in itself death and darkness. (1Jn_3:14b) How easy it is to be immersed in truth while living a lie! (1Jn 4:20)

Finding our significance in the design of God (Ep 2:10), our comfort in the lovingkindness of God (2Co 1:3-4), our hope in the faithfulness of God, our pleasure in pleasing Him, our delight in enjoying Him and His provision, and our passion in helping others find the Way, this is light and life and love. (1Jn_3:14a)

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