As a Little Child

As a Little Child

Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.  (1 Kgs 3:7, emphasis added) 

This verse in 1 Kings reflects the wisdom of Solomon—who considered himself as a little child in comparison to the wisdom and the eternal knowledge of God.

Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.  (Mk 10:15)

“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  (Mt 18:3-4)

What do you think are the characteristics of a little child that Jesus is referring to in these passages?  Here are some ideas to consider.  Very young children were, in ancient, biblical times:

  • Humble and not envious of each other;
  • Did not think about advancing themselves to a place of power;
  • Didn’t have status or rights; and
  • Were completely dependent upon the good will of others to care for them.

Jesus humbles Himself in identifying with the little child.  Jesus came to meet the needs of all those who are marginal, needy, and powerless.  He came to save the lost—and there are many ways to be “lost.” 

Jesus says that the way that WE should respond to such marginal, needy people is the same way that we respond to HIM.  (see Mt 18:5)  If we love Jesus, we should show love and concern for the lost. Jesus wants to remind us of the spiritual nature of His kingdom, and desires that we be heavenly-minded. 

The Bible says that we are strangers and pilgrims upon the earth (Heb 11:13) because our King is a heavenly King, and our country is with our heavenly King. 

As we submit our lives to the guidance and leading of the Holy Spirit, we shall suddenly move from earthly life into eternity—into humility and total dependence upon God.  (1 Cor 15:51-52)

Check Out Your Clothes!

Check Out Your Clothes!

Do you realize that the Bible is concerned with how we clothe ourselves?  Isn’t that an interesting and provoking idea?

For example: 

  • We are invited to clothe ourselves with Christ in Romans 13:14.
  • We are instructed to dress modestly, with decency and propriety but also to clothe ourselves with good deeds in 1 Timothy 2:9-10.
  • Colossians 3:12-14 directs us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. It also prompts us to put on love which is the personality trait which binds all the others together in unity.

Out of all of these instructions, the encouragement to perform good works is probably one of the most frequently mentioned.

. . . having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.  (1 Pet 2:12 NKJV, emphasis added)

. . . who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.  (Tit 2:14 NKJV, emphasis added)

This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.  (Tit 3:8 NKJV, emphasis added)

The only way to truly clothe ourselves with good works and holy virtues is through the empowering and enabling grace that we receive through our ongoing relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer.  Walk in the “Clothing of Salvation”: 

  • The love of God,
  • The grace from God,
  • Faith in God, which is a gift from Him (Eph 2:8-9)
  • The LIFE of God, which is the indwelling Holy Spirit (Pro 12:28; 1 Cor 6:19)

Cling to your relationship with Jesus even as a drowning man clings to a life preserver thrown to him by rescuers.  Jesus provides new grace and strength for each new day, and He will never leave you nor fail you.  Glory to His Holy Name!

Love in Action

Love in Action

My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.  (1 Joh 3:18)

The Bible reminds us that we must put our love into action.  How can we do that?  Let’s see what the Bible has to say.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  (Joh 13:34-35)

 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”  (Joh 14:15)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?”  (Mt 5:43-47)

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.  (Col 3:12-14)

All of the Bible passages that I’ve shown above talk about love being shown by actions.  The Lord asks us to demonstrate our love by:

  • Loving one another;
  • Obeying His commandments;
  • Loving our enemies; blessing those who curse us; doing good to those who hate us; and praying for them;
  • Putting on tender mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; and
  • Bearing with one another and forgiving one another.

Love (the bond of perfection) binds all of the qualities of goodness together—which means that love is the source from which all good character traits proceed.  Love motivates, sustains, and unites the presence of all good qualities of character.

Essentially, in living this way we demonstrate the concept of putting on Christ.

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  (Gal 3:27)

The Lord reminded us in His Word that GOD IS LOVE.  (1 Joh 4:8)  The Lord acts upon His own perfect love for us by constantly surrounding us with His love, grace and blessings.

For more verses about love in action, see:  Joh 15:9-10, 13; Rom 5:8; 1 Joh 2:3-6; 3:10-11; 4:7-12; 4:17-20.

Humility and Wisdom

Humility and Wisdom

Humility and wisdom are two attributes that are praised in the Scriptures.  Blessings are frequently mentioned in connection with them.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.  (Pro 11:2 NIV)  Humility and wisdom are frequent companions!

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.  (Jas 3:13 NIV)  This verse informs us that humility comes from wisdom.  As a matter of fact, a person with humility coupled with the fear of the Lord will experience riches, honor, and life.  (Pro 22:4)

Toward the scorners He is scornful, but to the humble He gives favor. The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace.  (Pro 3:34-35 ESV)  To people who are humble, the Lord gives favor; and the Lord bestows honor upon the wise.

Only we are capable of humbling ourselves; no one else can do it for us.  When we humble ourselves, the Lord promises to exalt us.  (Jas 4:10 NKJV)  The Bible reminds us that if we don’t humble ourselves, the Lord will do it for us.  (Mt 23:12 ESV)

James 1:5 tells us that if we lack wisdom, we should ask God for it because He will generously answer our prayer.  Scriptures state repeatedly the many blessings that God bestows upon those who are wise.  See Ps 111:10; Pro 3:13-18; 4:6-7; 14:16; 16:16; 24:3-7; Lk 21:15; Jas 3:17.

Because the end of the ages is approaching, all believers must live carefully and intentionally for the Lord.  Let us each take inventory of our strengths and our weaknesses; and if we are lacking in wisdom or humility, take steps to mend our ways. 

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  (Eph 5:15-16 ESV)

Yield to the Lord

Yield to the Lord

The Lord reminds us to “submit to Him” which means to relinquish or hand over control of our lives to Him.  This can be a real challenge for us to do while we live on this earth.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  (Pro 3:5-6 NIV, underscoring added)

Let’s look at several more passages from the Bible in order to get a clearer picture.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.  (Pro 16:3 NIV)  When we commit our actions to the Lord, we place them in His hands and trust Him to:

  • Bless these actions;,
  • Bring Himself glory through them; and
  • Uphold our plans.

Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.  (Isa 30:21)  This passage reminds us that the Lord leads us and guides us by the voice of His Spirit.  He will bless us and prosper us as we yield to Him, and obey His voice..

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.”  (Isa 48:17)  The Lord wishes us to defer to His leading and guidance; and as we do, He will cause us to prosper.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  (1 Cor 10:31)  In accepting God’s will for our lives by being obedient to His leading, we will actually bring Him glory and honor.  This is the goal to which we have been called.

A believer who will bow down in humility before the Lord, responding with submission and yieldedness to His guidance, will be blessed greatly by the Lord.

But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”  (Lk 11:28, underscoring added – see also Jas 1:25)  Our obedience to God is blessed.

Clothed With Humility

Clothed With Humility

The Bible has much to teach believers on the topic of humility.

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  (1 Pet 5:5, underscoring added)

By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.  (Pro 22:4)

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering . . .  (Col 3:12, underscoring added)

. . . to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.  (Tit 3:2, underscoring added)

What is humility?  It’s a covering of meekness, unpretentiousness, gentleness, and peacefulness.  It’s a character trait that is evidenced by our willingness and ability to submit to God in obedience to His Word. 

A humble person is one who accepts the chain of authority, and therefore is able to submit to their supervisor on the job.  Another area where humility is evident is when a driver submits to the rules of the road, and obeys the traffic signs.

Humility is the quality that enables us to become good citizens, valuable church members, and contributors to society.  Humility is seen in the lives of public figures that are admired, as well as in the lives and actions of certain Kings and Queens throughout history. 

Jesus humbled Himself by obedience to His Father and dying a criminal’s death on the cross.  (Phil 2:8)  There is no greater example of humility.

One critical lesson to learn from the Scriptures is that we have the ability to HUMBLE OURSELVES!  We are the only ones who can do it, and God will most certainly reward us for our obedience to Him.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.  (Jas 4:10)

Look Into the Law of Liberty

Look Into the Law of Liberty

But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he [she] does.  (Jas 1:25, word in parenthesis added)

This passage of Scripture is full of meaning, wisdom, and insight if we’ll take the time to think about it and to study it.

Why does this verse refer to the law of liberty?  I believe it’s because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is good news that sets people free.  Once we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are liberated from sin, bondage, and condemnation.  We experience a new birth in Christ and receive the promise of eternal life.

We find a law within the Good News of Jesus Christ, and it is a law of LIBERTY and not of slavery—life and not death!  In Romans 3:27 it is referred to as the law of faith.

James 1:25 is referring to a devoted student of the Scriptures as he/she, in all humility of heart and mind, intently studies the Bible.  This is done reverently and with a quality of examination, analysis, and recognition.  We would be on our knees in a spiritual sense.

We can each be this type of student of the Word.  How?  We read the Word expecting the Holy Spirit to illuminate a passage in such a way that it changes us—soul and body.  When it actually happens, our willingness to wait patiently on the Lord will give us even more insight as we glean how to apply it to our own lives and circumstances.

In this way, we have the privilege of fine tuning our lives to comply with and to obey the Bible in more detail and more holiness as we mature in our walk with Christ.  This is an ongoing process, and it’s an exciting progression as well as a sobering one.  It is a solemn and a holy process that occurs in our hearts and must be guarded constantly. 

If we let down our guard and forget what God has patiently revealed to us and taught us, we do damage to our own heart and to our relationship with God.  Our relationship with Jesus is the most important thing in our lives, having value for all eternity.  It, alone, is the promise of eternal life. 

It is the law of faith and the law of liberty.  Value it, brothers and sisters!

Humility & Glory

Humility & Glory

The Lord has destined each one of us for great things, among which is the joy of serving the Lord and being in relationship with Him.  But sometimes, we struggle with our self-image; and we all need to know how to deal with this issue victoriously. 

Just remember this:  Thinking less of yourself is not humility!  Thinking of yourself less frequently is humility.  Believe in who God made you to be.  Be imitators of God like the beloved children that you ARE!  (Eph 5:1) 

God has put His own glory within each one of us!  (Isa 60:19-21; Rom 8:18; Col 1:27; 2 Cor 3:18; 1 Pet 5:10)  He wants to display His glory through us, so that we may bring Him glory, honor, and praise.  However, we must yield to Him in order to allow Him to fulfill His good plans for us.  If we will cooperate with the Lord, and obey His Word, we’ll be changed into a brand new person.  Which makes sense, because God makes all things new.  (Rev 21:5)

The Lord wants us to be fully alive—not to be a cheap imitation of someone else.  God created each one of us to live as a unique and irreplaceable individual in His family. 

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  (2 Tim 1:6-7)

Stir up your gifts, and learn to enjoy the fact that God has created you as a matchless and dazzling individual!  Don’t be fearful because fear has bondage and torment attached to it.  (Rom 8:15)  Reject those things outright.  They do not come from God.  God has made you FREE indeed!  (Joh 8:36)  God has blessed you and poured out His supernatural favor upon you. 

You have God’s permission and encouragement to soar and to far surpass your former self for Jesus’ glory!  All glory to God most high!

God Comforts the Disheartened

God Comforts the Disheartened

Our God cares deeply about each and every one of His children.  He cares about every facet of our health, and He ministers His love to us.  But how can we grab hold of His love?  How can we receive His help?

One way is to meditate upon His wonderful promises to us, so that we may come to know Him fully.  Here are a number of Bible passages that speak about how God demonstrates His love to us, especially when we’re downhearted or depressed. 

We need to use our faith in order to rest upon these promises.  Ask God to help you and to infuse you with fresh faith for the battle.

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.  (Deut 31:8 NLT)  The Lord never leaves us—nor will He fail us.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.  (Ps 34:17 NKJV)  We need to KNOW that God not only hears our prayers, but responds to them.

I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.  He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.  He has put a new song in my mouth—praise to our God;
many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.
  (Ps 40:1-3 NKJV)  We do need, sometimes, to wait for the Lord’s solutions to materialize in the natural realm.  But this verse assures us that our deliverance shall come, and that it will motivate us to sing a new song!  And our deliverance shall be so mighty that everyone will notice it, and rejoice with us in the Lord!  Some people will even be fearful of the Lord, when they see what He has done.

Why are you in despair, O my soul?  Why have you become restless and disquieted within me?  Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.  (Ps 42:11 AMP)  This passage reminds us that we need patience, and that as we wait for God’s solution, we should praise the Him.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you. Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.  (1 Pet 5:6-7 RSV)  Throw all of your worries down at the feet of Jesus, and acknowledge that He loves you and is working on your behalf.  As we respectfully wait for God to lift us out of trouble (which is called humility), He loves the fact that we put our trust in Him at all times—despite what things may look like in the natural realm. 

 It’s impossible to please God without faith because the one who draws near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards people who try to find him.  (Heb 11:6 CEB)

Our faith tells God that we believe in Him, in His existence, in His promises, and His reliability.  Our faith pleases God, and He deeply rewards ALL those who find Him in the midst of life’s difficulties!

With Fear and Trembling

With Fear and Trembling

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.  (Phil 2:12-13 – emphasis added)

The word fear in the above passage of Scripture means with reverence and respect.  The reference to trembling can be understood to mean with great humility and the type of weakness that causes us to rely completely and solely upon the Lord and His grace.  We should also have a huge desire to never offend God through disobedience, as well as a great awe for God’s majesty and holiness.

Now what could the author have meant by “work out your own salvation”?  This is the concept of bringing something to completion or maturity, such as when Paul describes himself as straining or “pressing on” toward the goal of being Christlike.  (Phil 3:13-14)  It’s our responsibility to cooperate with the Lord by obeying His Word and following His plan for our lives.  Part of that plan is for us to submit to our Savior by obeying His Word.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  (Rom 12:1-2)

Obedience and submission to the God whom we revere and respect is only our “reasonable service” according to the passage shown above. 

We work out our salvation, then, by going to the source of our salvation—the Word of God—which is the only instrument available to us to renew our hearts and minds as we reverently seek to walk the path of ever-growing spiritual maturity.