“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17 NIV
The condition of our heart affects all things. How we see the world. How we interact with the world. How we see others. I can’t get past how important it is to care for our heart. The Bible provides so much instruction on how to trust our heart to God, how to guard our heart, how to confess our heart. If our hearts are set on Jesus, they will be open to wisdom from heaven. The following prayer by James Goll, in a Prayer for Spiritual Eyes, really resonated for me. I have referred to it several times:
“Lord give me that spirit of wisdom; grant me that spirit of revelation so that I will be captured by Jesus Christ. Release the shafts of revelation light into the eyes of my heart, that I might know the hope of Your calling, that I might know the glorious inheritance that lives inside of me, and that I might know the surpassing greatness of Your power that works in me.”
Father, please fill me with Your wisdom from heaven in all its glory.
“2 And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people,for not everyone has faith.3 But the Lord is faithful,and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:2-3 NIV
Well-meaning people speak into our lives. Sometimes out of concern. Or fear. Or a need to control or influence. Some will scoff at faith. I think of Peter walking on water to Jesus. Peter was doing fine until he took his eyes off Jesus. He became distracted by the storm and waves around him and he began to sink. The beautiful part is that Jesus took his hand and rescued him from the waves and helped him back in the boat. Out of all the disciples, Peter was the only one bold enough to step out of the boat. He had the faith to do the impossible, making it possible. Jesus still extends His hand to us today.
In order to be delivered we have to turn off the noise in the background that distracts us from God’s voice. Then we have to be obedient and trust that the Lord is faithful. Not put our faith in what we see. Instead put our faith in what God says.
Father, thank you for Your faithfulness. Thank you for Your strength and protection. Help me hold fast to Your promises and keep my eyes on You!
“We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.” Romans 8:28 The Voice
If we are confident, we are able to rest in God. We will not worry about tomorrow. We will enjoy today and all that God has made. We will enjoy how He made us in His image. We will take our time. No need to rush. We will not look to others to make the way for us. We will be prepared to stand alone – firmly, confidently and grounded in God. He will be our provision and our anchor. We will keep our eyes on Him.
It is important that we are careful not to create idols out of things by becoming reliant on them for a reflection of success or performance. If we rest in God, we will hear His voice. A transforming and healing voice for broken hearts, sickness, disease, and addictions. He is the Mighty Chain Breaker. Freedom can be found in Him.
Father, help me to rest in You no matter what the circumstances. Help me to trust You fully, knowing that You want only the best for me.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 NIV
I have always been pretty independent. A leader by nature. However, I picked up patterns of people pleasing along the way. Particularly for approval of those that I cared for and respected. The most dramatic crossroad happened for me in ministry.
I was sensing that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I ignored the occasional nudges that I was getting to make a change because being needed by others was filling an unhealthy place inside my heart. Finally, God intervened. He got my ear, audibly and loudly. Three different times over the course of a day, the internal dialog persisted. The crescendo came down to making a choice. It was clear that in order to be obedient I needed to shift away from the ministry and anchor more deeply and personally with God. I had gone through several rounds of negotiations with God even prior to this particular day. Direction became clear and there was no more bartering.
I have never looked back. It has taught me to hold onto things much more loosely and rely on God to direct my steps. I am very thankful and much more tuned into the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The need to please others has been overshadowed by my desire to please my loving heavenly Father.
Father, thank you for Your persistent, still small voice. Thank you for Your love and guidance. I pray that I will always have an ear to hear.
“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” Hebrews 12: 11 NLT
I have been in storms. Just about every kind you can imagine: weather, emotional, relationship, work, family, and financial. None of them are “enjoyable.” I can say that after the storm is over, there is a big sigh of relief. The realization that the struggle has ended. Peace. Peace on the other side of the conflict or challenge.
The peaceful harvest in this verse refers to the fruit of righteousness that springs from faith on the other side of correction. As we practice our faith we will need correction on occasion. God loves us too much not to redirect us. However, we can count on the peace from the victory on the other side of it!
Father, please give me Your strength and wisdom to navigate through any struggle with Your grace and mercy.
“For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.” Proverbs 2:10 NIV
In Hebrew, the word for wisdom here means experience and shrewdness. The word for knowledge means ability and discernment. When I examine that verse without God’s grace, it has a sharp edge of self-reliance. It could even go to a place of arrogance or over-intellectualizing. At its worst it could become predatory. However, when I look at it with God’s grace, it becomes a complete and total dependence on the Father. It is reliant on His wisdom and His knowledge, not mine. He is all knowing. Not me. Grace changed everything in this verse for me. God’s grace grants me mercy and compassion. Jesus died that I can experience God’s grace.
Father, thank you for Your grace. Wow, that takes a load off!
“The wise will pay attentionto these wordsand will grow in learning,and the discerning will receive divineguidance,.” Proverbs 1:5 The Voice
The initial building block for knowledge is wisdom. Proverbs 1:1-7 is rich with instruction and a description of what wisdom looks like. The more time I spend in God’s Word the more I am thankful for the wise way He deals with my heart. I am also very thankful for the way He loves me, beautifully and elegantly. It truly is my desire to be a reflection of His love and wisdom to others. As I ponder what that reflection might look like, the image of a lighthouse comes to mind.
A lighthouse is light that is reflected. It is a beacon in a storm. It’s designed to stand firm and withstand intense conditions. It provides safe harbor. It lights the way to provide protection in rocky and dangerous places. It is a beacon to save the lost and light the path to safety.