Courageous Wisdom, Day 3

Today’s reading is drawn from Proverbs 23:15-16.

Observation

In this proverb, God reveals what brings him pleasure: people who live with wise hearts and who speak what is right.

Notice that shrewd minds do not please God. Neither do talents, successful businesses or large ministries. The bottom line is that he delights in people who are wise in heart and have the courage to speak what is right.

Application

Making wise decisions and speaking what is right will not win us any popularity contests. It may even be contested by those closest to us, but we must still take time to consider the situation, ponder it deeply and make decisions that will be the best for all involved.

Courage to stand up for what is right sometimes seems in short supply, but it is abundant in those who refuse anything less than God’s best. Here is the prerequisite: a deep desire to do what is best, regardless of the emotional trauma the soul must endure in pressing forward, anticipating push-backs and possible rejections. No one likes it when their faults are exposed or they are called to change. But following God includes handling confrontation and disagreement in a godly manner.

Prayer

Father, give me the courage to be wise, to be committed to each person’s best in my life, and in return, to feel your pleasure and delight.

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God Is Light, Day 19

Today’s reading is drawn from 1 John 3:1-10.

God’s Story

The Spirit inspires the apostle John to write a letter to believers, likely to believers who lived in a number of places. John has heard, seen and touched the Word of life — Jesus — and he is spreading the news of the here-and-now eternal life that Jesus offers to all who believe in him.

God is absolute light — void of darkness. In that light, our dark sin is exposed; but if we walk with him in the light, confessing our sins to him, Jesus’ blood will cleanse us from sin. We are to avoid sin as fiercely as possible, but when we do sin, Jesus advocates for us.

We will be able to recognize true believers because they will live like Jesus did — obeying God’s commandments. God is love, and his commandments can be summed up in one word: love. Even though we aren’t required to keep God’s commandments for salvation, a Jesus-like, love-filled life is the mark of a believer.

False teachers have arisen who are leading believers astray. John warns that anyone denying that Jesus is the Son of God come in the flesh is not from God and should not be followed.

We are God’s children, born of God. We will get to see Jesus in all his glory, and we should live purely to prepare ourselves for that incredible moment.

The King’s Heart

“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). There is not a speck of darkness in God, not a spot of injustice or unkindness. God can never be cruel, unjust or unloving.

“God is love,” John later explains (1 John 4:8). He is pure love. That means that God always has the purest and best intentions in every situation; everything he does is a work of love.

We never need to question God’s motives or his heart — he is always good, kind and loving. There is no safer place to put our trust. So while we may not understand a situation or how it’s going to turn out, we can always trust God’s heart. And then, on the other side of the situation or perhaps in the fullness of God’s kingdom, we will see that God was acting with pure goodness — as he always is and can only be — all along.

Insight

John mentions the “world,” and how we’re not supposed to love it (see 1 John 2:15), throughout his letter. He isn’t referring to the earth as we know it — the earth is God’s good, but broken, creation. He’s referring to the people and human systems that stand in opposition to God.

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