Tag Archives: success

Humility’s Reward

Proverbs 22:4 (NASB)
4 The reward of humility and the fear (reverence) of the Lord are riches, honor and life.

Isaiah 33:5-6 (NASB)
5 The Lord is exalted, for He dwells on high;
He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness.
6 And He will be the stability of your times,
A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge;
The fear of the Lord is his treasure.

James 4:6-7 (NASB)
6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

So what does all of this fearing God and humility add up to?  To regard, seek, love and obey Him above all else, versus pride and rebellion which resists Him and all His higher purposes.  This command, invitation to regard Him is motivated by His unfailing love; His desire that we know “success” and provision as He defines it in this life.

1 John 2 warns us to not love the world or anything in it.  Jesus gave  the foremost command, that being, to Love God above everything.  (Jas. 4:6-7)  This is uncompromised, unmitigated allegiance, giving Him the “space” in us that He rightfully owns by virtue of creation, formation, sustention, salvation….

James 4:4-6  (NASB)
4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? 6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

These verses need little to no commentary.  His very best comes via fearing (reverencing), loving and acknowledging Him above all in this life, in everything we are and do.  In spite of the many voices that suggest  otherwise, seek HIM first.  Oh that we would indeed “humble ourselves under His mighty hand”. Reverencing HIM is His treasure, the way to the stability we need; access to all the saving helps, wisdom and knowledge, making us equal to everything that life can bring.  We’re invited to test Him in this.  He is true (faithful) , and we will never be disappointed.

After (in pursuit) Him, I am,

Mitch

Guard Your Heart!

“In the best utopia, I must be prepared for the moral fall of any man in any position at any moment; especially for my fall from my position at this moment.”   Chesterton on Orthodoxy

Be careful when you stand, lest you fall.  (1 Corinthians 10:12)

Guard your heart for from it flow the issues of life.  (Proverbs 4:22)

“Hold me back from presumptuous sins…” (Psalm 19:12)

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness….

2 Peter 3:17 (NASB)

“Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is…. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse in us until we try to fight it; and Christ, because He was the only one who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means.

No one knows how bad they are until they have tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people don’t know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie….

One who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. This is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness…they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.

You know the strength of an opposing army by fighting it, not surrender…the strength of wind by walking in it, not lying down.”

C. S. Lewis

May these profound tidbits cause us to run to Jesus Christ and the all-sufficiency (El Shaddai, God Almighty, the All Sufficient One) of His saving Life, finding in Him ALONE the Sovereign saving and keeping power to stay in His life giving path, finishing well and fulfilling His purposes in, through and around us.

Faithful is He who calls us, Who will also bring it to pass.

(I Thessalonians 5:24)

Determined,

Mitch

He Must Increase…

John 3:30 (NASB) He must increase, but I must decrease.

Reading this verse in its context, John the Baptist, nearing the end of his ministry, tells his disciples that Jesus Christ is the Bridegroom, but he, John, is just His friend. He is one who partnered with God in “preparing the way” for the Coming One, Jesus. Then he says, “He must increase, but I must decrease”.  John 3:25-30 

Great as John was in the Kingdom of God, he understood that Jesus was and always would be first.   His work was to join God in preparing the way for Him.  As Jesus’ ministry emerged, John’s “joy was made full”.  His work had been accomplished.  Joy always comes to those of us who not only know our God-given purpose, but see it being achieved.

If this was true for John, how much more for me. I am the friend of Jesus, though flawed and insignificant, yet redeemed.  I’m privileged to partner with Him in His forever endeavors.  His purposes and way should be made clearer over time through me and in my small sphere of influence.

Much more, He must increase and I decrease…Every moment, more of Him and less of me…Him always greater than (>), and me less than (<).  For me, it is best said, ALL of Him and NONE of me.  I’m simply a modest container through which He is free to pour His Saving Life…the container ultimately disregarded due to the far greater significance …value of Who / What is pouring from it.

Rightly related to God and functioning in His Life via the Holy Spirit, I become increasingly invisible and He ever more radiant. As I cooperate and let Him do His all-encompassing work, He is Glorified. I will know the fullness of joy that comes as He does His work and gets His Glory in me.  This is His intended purpose / destiny for all humanity.  As this spiritual crescendo is seen, our Heavenly Father is pleased; He takes great pleasure in us.

The Westminster Catechism states, “The chief end and duty of mankind, is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

Is there anything else to strive for? Is there any greater endeavor? Can there be a more significant achievement and work as we live or die? All of scripture speaks a resounding “No”.  And if He is pleased in my every moment, then that is true success indeed…the Godward life.

How I need more of Him and less of me. How I need Him to get at the things inside that I cannot get to…to remove the distractions, infatuations and hindrances to which I am predisposed…all that compromises His Life and Light.  This is living as He intended, Life indeed, pure and simple…the ultimate fulfillment and satisfaction.  May it be true today and increasingly so in me.  And, this is my prayer for you.

Aspiring,

Mitch

First Things First

Matthew 6:33 (NASB)
33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The scriptures tell us to seek His Kingdom first. So, what is this “kingdom” we should seek? I believe kingdoms are about kings and their domain. That being so, seeking His Kingdom is seeking Him as King and we being His domain…giving Him His rightful place of rule and reign in us, over us and around us. And, the word “seek” is most accurately rendered “seek and keep on seeking continuously”.

Verse 33 is in the “imperative mood”, meaning it is a command, an imperative…not an elective or just an option.

The word “first” necessarily implies several things about seeking His Kingdom:

Priority – It is first in importance
Purpose – Implies the first and most important reason why we exist
Profession – Implies my first and primary task, work, objective
Passion – Implies my first and primary motive in all we do

So what is the outcome of this endeavor?

Matthew 6:25-32
25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The outcome is amazing! If we make HIM our greatest priority, purpose, passion, possession and profession, THEN HE will make us His priority and add everything else we need to be sustained and flourish.

Jesus was once asked what the foremost commandment was.  His reply, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart soul, mind and strength”.  I feel this is a great complimentary  verse to the focal passage of this brief note.  I think this says it all very simply.  What we love and cherish the most in this life will always determine our priorities, guide us in our purpose, work, choices and be the  foundation for our value systems.

May it be that we seek Him and His rule and reign over us…seek to love Him with everything in us, and out of that, every other concern, need and desire will be abundantly met out of His unlimited, loving supply.

Give Him Praise!

Mitch