Focus Scriptures: James 3:17 and 2 Timothy 3:16, Romans 7:21
Have you been thinking of new devotions to read or bible study plans to follow as the new year approaches? How will you make your decision? For that matter, what approach will you take to make your decision? Will you stick to the best seller list? Take recommendations from friends? Seek out Amazon reviews? Will you pray?
Let me encourage you, as you go into the new year, to study James 3:17 for a day or a few. This is my life verse so I plan to spend even more time breaking it down and seeking God in it over the next few weeks. As my writing takes off, I am always praying to stay grounded in his word. I am always seeking his wisdom around every bend.
And can I be very honest? I think 2018 is going to be BIG. When I pray and meditate on the coming year, that is the word that pops into my head every time. Big change, big disappointment, big joy, big grief? I have no idea, but I am praying without ceasing for his wisdom.
Every time I dig into James 3:17, it strikes me that Purity is listed first. I think God wants to make it clear, there is no other source for wisdom more refined and tested, than his word. Take a look:
As I study his word, purity especially stands out in these three ways:
1) We can (should) take His Word at face value,
2) His Word not contradictory, and
3) His Word is untainted.
Take God’s Word at Face Value
First of all, when God sends his wisdom to us through the word, we should take it at face value. Of course, reading His word for context and depth of understanding is key, but does NOT mean we should dilute or enhance the meaning to fit our understanding.
The Word is not a suggestion made perfect by our alterations and interpretations.
During the weekday, I post pictorial scripture, much like you see above, often with reflections from my study of that verse, but it is never meant as a replacement for scripture. The Word is the perfect will of God and stands on its own. And while fellow bloggers and I hope to encourage others, there is no better encouragement than you and the holy spirit during your own reading and studying of his Word.
I have an online recipe site that I visit often. Cooks have the option of going in to rate and comment on the recipe. Many reviewers will rate a recipe with 5 stars, but then comment on how much they altered the recipe by using half of one ingredient, adding another three ingredients and using a different baking time. The original recipe simply becomes a mere suggestion of ingredients and is only made perfect by the alterations of the reviewer.
I pray we cease to be reviewers of his word and instead deepen our studying of his word. Perhaps, instead of seeking God’s word a verse or two at a time to meet our situational issues, we need to read God’s Word, praying and meditating on his hope and grace, and let mercy sink into the marrow of our bones, regardless of our situation.
God’s Word is Pure, not Contradictory
2 Timothy 3:16 assures us that all scripture is God-Breathed so we can stand firm in this truth. The bible is not going to tell us to sin no matter how hard we look. If you are looking for verse that excuses you from taking care of others, you won't find it. If you are looking for a verse that allows you to cheat on your spouse because you think you deserve love, you won't find it. We can't confuse happiness with joy.
And because His word is always going to point us towards purity, if we seek the Word for God’s wisdom, we will never get an answer that chooses our happiness over the commands of our Savior, if that happiness is brought about by sin.
Finally, pure wisdom from heaven is untainted.
As it is written, the word is unaffected by Satan. Take a look at Romans 7:21: “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.” Evil lingers on the edges of our understanding, waiting to strike so that when a situation pops up and we have an opportunity to behave the way God wants us to, the devil will strike, if we are not armed with the belt of truth. And remember, knowledge is given fact by fact, but wisdom is application of those facts over time in our lives. It is having the ability to make spiritually discernable decisions because we live spiritually each day.
So, before you make your list of resolutions and download that new checklist app, make sure your "Advice For Starting the New Year Right!" and the "Five Ways to Make 2018 Incredible!" include getting in the Word of God every day.
I encourage you to be in your bible every day – pray for a longing within you because you want to deepen your relationship with the Father. The first post of 2018 will do just that. I am working on ways to dig into your bible if you are not sure where to start. Next week, all subscribers will get a printable bible study journal page, so if you haven’t subscribed, make sure you subscribe to get all my blogs, updates and journal pages.
Pray with me: Father, we thank you for your wisdom. Teach us to see it as you see it and be obedient to its guidance in our lives. Fill our hearts with the love of your son, Jesus so that we may know and recognize your will for our lives more clearly. It is in his name we pray! Amen!
Kass Fogle is a Contemporary Christian Author, Speaker and Blogger who lives with her husband and two teenaged children in South-Central Illinois. She is working on her first novel, Ruth's Garden and when she is not working the day job you can find her at the local coffee house writing, at home baking, hanging out with family or causing trouble with her tight group of girlfriends. Kass is also a raging Football Mom.
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