Listen to advice and accept discipline,
and at the end you will be counted among the wise.
Wisdom is available to everyone, but not all have it. There is something very powerful that precludes the vast majority of people from knowing and receiving the wisdom that comes from above. The major obstacle is pride. We always think that our decisions are correct and therefore we would not need the opinion that others might have about them. Even if we are not sure of the decision we make, once it is made it will be our decision and we will not accept criticism from anyone, even if it is clear that we were wrong. In the latter case, our pride is expressed even more strongly as we do not like to admit we made a mistake or having someone pointing out our weaknesses.
The path to wisdom necessarily involves humility. We need humility to acknowledge our mistakes, our shortcomings, our flaws, our shortages and our weaknesses. God wants us to trust him and to let ourselves be guided by his loving hand, but if we think we are self-sufficient and we know every trick in the book we are not going to depend on God until we find ourselves up to our necks in trouble and then perhaps it will be too late. Do you want wisdom? Lower your guard and let yourself be guided by God. Obey his commandments, follow his instructions and do not depart from his side. Only so you will be able to receive true wisdom from above. Humility leads to wisdom and wisdom leads to humility.To God alone be the glory!
Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
How easy it is for the enemy of our souls and the world, which is also our enemy, to keep us distracted from what is truly important. Their favorite tools, which act as an attractive bait, are displayed before our eyes for us to lose sight of the goal of our life and the direction we need to maintain to reach our destination. Financial success, whether obtained by illegal or unethical means, is the accepted and recognized metric for progress and welfare and trying to achieve it makes us leeches that only live to demand more and more. We have been dazzled by the alleged happiness that results from having many goods and only having to rely on the riches that we have managed to accumulate. Money, now has become the savior of our lives and it makes us look away from our true Savior, Jesus Christ.
The way the apostle Paul explains it is striking: «Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.» What is in plain view can not be denied. Many are now under the yoke of mismanaged finances for having been blinded by the false appeal of the prosperity of the wicked. Let us return our gaze to the Provider of all good and all blessings, our beloved Lord Jesus Christ. If we stay focused on the way he presents in front of us, we will stay out of all grief related to the mismanagement of our finances. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged arrogant, Christianity, envy, faith, hope, humility, Jesus, love, peace, prosperity, Psalms, riches, righteousness, spirituality, wealth, wicked, wisdom
The poor will see and be glad—
you who seek God, may your hearts live!
The LORD hears the needy
and does not despise his captive people.
Many people desperately seek wealth but are unaware that riches may generate more harm than good. The risk is evident; when one has much it is more likely to depend entirely on what we have at hand and to forget who made sure that such riches were at our disposal. There can be many reasons why God has not endowed us with money to spare. The first thing that comes to mind is that it’s very possible that we are not spiritually prepared to avoid becoming slaves to money. Wealth, like fame and power are the weapons used by the world against our souls. Through them, the world controls humanity.
When a child of God is entrusted with the task of managing the money that belongs to God, he/she becomes a commando. A commando is a soldier that integrates a special operations unit and is trained for operations behind enemy lines. These commandos are selected from among the most able soldiers and they receive special training that allows them to successfully fulfill their mission to infiltrate enemy territory. Not just anyone can serve as a commando. So is wealth, not everyone can act as good stewards of them.
Another reason why God has not given us a lot of money is because he will use us as witnesses. God wants children to depend on him and only on him. God wants us to be examples to the world that we can live without being affected the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Let us learn to live content with what we have because he who has been faithful with little, God will give him much. Many soldiers of God shall carry out this testimony. Chances are that you and I are part of this regular group. Whether we perform as elite commandos or as regular soldiers, we must always rely on God and not on wealth because riches are vain and elusive. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged captive, Christianity, despise, glad, God, heart, hope, humility, Jesus, life, love, needy, people, poor, riches, spirituality, wisdom
When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.
No good can come out of pride. In fact, one of the most undignified attitudes is arrogance and when it adds contempt for others it becomes unbearable. The problem with pride is that with it there is no going back. Proud people feel more proud every day that passes and they are unable to accept that given the circumstances, they might have to perform at a level lower than what has already been achieved. Imagine a Major League baseball player transfer down to the amateur leagues. Try to imagine a first division soccer player that is transferred down to a second or third division team. Can you imagine a director of a successful large company that now has to work as a middle manager in a small business? Or a pastor of a 5000 member church that now has to lead a congregation of just 100 believers? Our concept of success is closely linked with numbers and the dimensions and the importance attached to them. How do you think Moses was able to adapt to the life of a lowly shepherd in the desert after having lived a life of luxury and pleasure in Pharaoh’s palace? The word of God gives us the answer when it says: “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.”
But the best example of humility was shown to us by our Lord Jesus Christ, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” Let us maintain ourselves as far as we can from the pernicious pride that leaves us no good and, by contrast, is capable of causing much damage. Let us move forward with our sight on Christ and his exemplary attitude. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged disgrace, God, hope, humility, Jesus, life, love, pride, Proverbs 11, spirituality, wisdom
The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but people are tested by their praise.
Recently we discussed a proverb similar to the one we are discussing today which says that man’s heart is proven by God. Today’s proverb takes a look at one aspect of this test which is humility. We could define humility as the ability to receive praise without being influenced by it. Our sinful nature is full of pride and therefore, when we are subjected to praise; our vanity takes control of our lives making us walk the wrong paths which takes us away from God’s purpose for us. The enemy knows this ─it was because of his unbridled pride that he lost his privileged position as guardian cherub─ and he uses praise, or rather, hypocritical flattery to entice our hearts. Even when Satan tempted the Lord Jesus in the desert he used this strategy, using flattery as a weapon based on the fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. If the enemy is so bold as to use this weapon against him who truly deserves all the praise, how much more he will use it against us whom we have nothing to be praised for, since all we are, all we have or all we do we owe it to God our Creator and Lord.
Let us be careful, then, when someone comes to us with praise and adulation that our heart does not fail the test and that we do not stumble and fall. Praise is not always offered with sincerity and instead it can become a dangerous trap aimed at pleasing our natural need for recognition. Thank God that gives us the ability to discern the purpose of the praise we receive. To God alone be the glory!
Like apples of gold in settings of silver
is a ruling rightly given.
Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold
is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear.
Conflict typically is the product of misunderstandings. Misunderstandings in turn, stem from lack of communication. Lack of communication may be caused by fear of hurting someone’s feelings. Fear of hurting susceptibilities often comes from bad experiences in which we have hurt others when our words were said with neglect. What we need to consider is whether those words that have hurt others were intentional. If the original intention was based on a genuine love, we should not worry about the situation they could have had caused. If the intention was to hurt, then we have an issue of sin that we must acknowledge and bring to our Heavenly Father in prayer so that we are forgiven. If speaking out is necessary, love can not remain silent. Our words of encouragement should always be pronounced with the purpose of building up and not destroying. Even if our intentionally kind words cause harm, we must pronounce them as long as we are sure that they come from a true heart and sincere love.
Now let’s get on the side of the recipient. How have we taken the things someone else has said? Have we received them with humility, knowing that they will help us grow or, on the contrary, have we taken them as an aggression which deserves a forceful response from our side? If our attitude as recipients of the message is not a conflictive, we may greatly benefit from the advice. If instead, we are always on the defensive, whatever we hear will be understood as an attack and the fire of conflict will be kindled. Remember that love “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Let us, therefore, stay alert so we do not get caught in the traps of the enemy. To God alone be the glory!