God Speaks About the Danger of Laziness

God often reveals the wisdom of His word by demonstrating the consequences of going against it:

Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. Pr. 6:6 – 11. ESV

Sluggard. You just can visualize a lazy, shiftless, slug-type of a person. But why is God warning us about what appears to be a minor offense? It is the consequences of laziness that are His concern because they can be severe. In the scripture above, we find that even the basic needs of a lazybones are unmet; whereas those who act diligently, reap rich rewards.

He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. Pr. 10:4 NKJV

In addition, those who are lazy often find themselves subject to the whims of taskmasters:

The hand of the diligent will rule, but the slack hand will be put to forced labor. Pr. 12:24 NASB

Worse still, their lazy lives are filled with strife:

The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway. Pr. 15:19 ESV

But it is in the eternal sense where the consequences of spiritual laziness are gravely damaging – leading to self-induced disinheritance of God’s promises. Instead, God says that we must exercise the same zeal in seeking Him as the apostles did:

…show the same diligence [all the way through] so as to realize and enjoy the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be [spiritually] sluggish, but [will instead be] imitators of those who through faith [lean on God with absolute trust and confidence in Him and His power] and by patient endurance [even when suffering] are [now] inheriting the promises. Heb. 6:11, 12. AMP

God loves you and wants a love relationship with you; but you must initiate that connection and continue to keep that connection intact:

The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. Ps. 14:2 NKJV

Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face continually [to be in His presence]. 1 Chr. 16:11 AMP

Being in a relationship with God then, is a doing. Lazy ones beware. Yet even we doers fall short in our doing. Thankfully, God in His infinite mercy calls us to jump back up on the saddle and retake our active role in our relationship with Him; and in His love, He will heal us from the consequences of our lazy slip:

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chr. 7:14 NKJV

Look at the verbs in that scripture: humble, pray, seek and turn – all words of action, yes? So, even the way back to God’s love, requires doing. If you have a little lazy streak in you, you must motivate yourself to be diligent in your walk with Him, by remaining focused on the benefits received by being related to Him, which include His favor and the ability to live in liberation from the god of this world:

How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart. Ps. 119:2 NASB

And I will walk at liberty, for I shall seek your precepts. Ps. 119:45 NKJV

Yet seeking God’s ways will be unfruitful unless you act upon them:

…prove yourself doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. James 1:22 NASB

The words come from God. He is love; so they reflect the same. Thusly, love is also made possible through action:

“ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND…YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others].’ Mt. 22:37 & 39. AMP

And you know, the effort to love, is really no effort at all…

Goodnight and God bless.

God’s Marital Wisdom

Last week we considered the wisdom that God imparted to Solomon and how important it is to have that same wisdom in our lives. Yet, having a head full of wisdom does not create a wise person. It is in the application of that wisdom in one’s life, that makes him or her wise. (James 1:22 – 25.)

Let’s consider the application of God’s wisdom in marriage; and as we do, we will find that He has woven that marital wisdom throughout the Bible, not just in the proverbs.

Marriage was the first institution God created after He formed Adam and Eve:

For this reason, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Gn. 2:24 AMP

God is telling us that when a man and woman are wise enough to become husband and wife, something extraordinary happens: there comes a spiritual opportunity to transcend their individuality and become one.

He also tells us that He has another purpose for their union:

Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. Mal. 2:15 ESV

God is trying to spread the love. He loves the husband and wife as one and desires the fruit of their loins to create other bundles of love, to amplify His efforts. You’ll also notice that this same scripture infers that marriage is a sanctified relationship – not to be breached by a lack of wisdom that leads to faithlessness.

Indeed, God says that it is wise for a man to find and keep a good wife:

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband… Pr. 12:4 NKJV

He who finds a [true and faithful] wife finds a good thing and obtains favor and approval from the LORD. Pr. 18:22 AMP

Moreover, God says that finding a good wife will also make for him an incomparable partner:

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not harm all the days of her life…She perceives that her merchandise is profitable…Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Pr. 31:10 – 12, 18 & 25 – 28. ESV

That’s a woman worth having! Note that a man could strive for those characteristics as well, just saying.

God leaves nothing to chance. Because your marriage is so sacred to Him, He left you instructions for how to conduct yourself within it, so that your relationship will thrive:

Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Eph. 5:22 – 24. NKJV

Some ladies are prone to take exception to this scripture, so let’s break it down a little. First, like any verse of scripture, it must be taken in context. The two verses just prior to the above citation read thusly:

…giving thanks always for all the things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God. Eph. 5:20, 21. NKJV

So, we are moving from a contextual former scripture that reveals our need to submit to one another within the family of God (if what we are submitting to is in alignment with God’s word), to a deeper and specific application within a godly marriage. Thus, the marital application infers that a ‘good husband’ should fill the role of making sure that God’s will (His wisdom) is carried out within the marriage, stating that the wife should defer to his leadership.

In addition, the scripture suggests that this marital command is especially important in spiritual matters – where the husband is primarily supposed to lead.

But what if hubby is being a little lax in his spiritual leadership? God’s got wisdom for that as well, telling us that the wife can step in and take the relationship to a higher level:

Wives, likewise be submissive to your husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives… 1 Pt. 3:1 NKJV

For my female readers, I want to stress that God is not being chauvinistic in any way. The husband too, has his own set of responsibilities within the marital relationship:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…so husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church…let each of you so love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Eph. 5:25, 28, 29 & 33. NKJV

We see then, that the husband is to love his wife with a depth that commands he sacrifice his life for her. That is an attitude that is far from chauvinism. Also, the husband must love his wife as he loves himself. Why would God tell the men to do that? It’s because we cannot love anyone until we first know what love is; and the only way to know love is to first give it to ourselves.

Husbands must nurture that relationship – keeping it sweet and showing her honor and compassion:

Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Col. 3:19 NKJV

…husbands, love with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. 1 Pt. 3:7 ESV

We must concede that in most cases, men possess greater physical strength than women. But that has no bearing on the spiritual side of marriage. In my opinion, man’s physical strength is complemented by the greater strength of the heart that the woman brings to the relationship.

Also note in the same scripture that marriage grants a spiritual oneness that connects the husband and wife – a oneness so precious to God that if either bring discord to than harmony, His love is cut off until that oneness is restored.

God takes a firm stand against anything that brings harm to the marital union:

“For I hate divorce,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong and violence,” says the LORD of hosts. “Therefore keep watch on your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously [with your wife].” Mal. 2:16 AMP

It is extremely rare to find God expressing the word ‘hate’ is Scripture. So why is He using such a strong and negative expletive here? It’s because divorce thrusts violence upon the entire family. Everyone in the home begins to fear for the well-being of their spirit, soul and body; and because fear and love cannot coexist, the love is leeched out of the entire family.

Divorce is Satan’s greatest weapon. He steals the family’s love to weaken them for his purposes. Conversely, keeping a marriage together, making it work by living by God’s marital wisdom, keeps the love – the very thing the devil cannot overcome.

If you do not choose to seek the wisdom of God and apply it, there will be no love to buffer against discord (which comes whenever you put two humans together). Without love, bitterness sets in and is projected outwards:

A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike; to restrain her is to restrain the wind or to grasp oil in one’s right hand. Pr. 27:15, 16. ESV

(You could just as easily substitute the word ‘husband’ for ‘wife’ here.)

When bitterness takes root, somebody strays because they think the solution lies in ‘greener pastures.’ The fruit of this straying is often adultery:

Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? So is he who goes into his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished. Pr. 6:27 – 29. ESV

Remember that two of the Ten Commandments expressly forbid adultery; and God pulls no punches about the seriousness of this transgression:

You shall not commit adultery. Ex. 20:14 NKJV

…you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife… Ex. 20:17 NKJV

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Heb. 13:14 ESV

God loves you so much. He knows how much destruction is brought to your house when you seek solace in flesh outside the home:

For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life, to keep you from the evil woman, from the flattering tongue of a seductress. Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, nor let her allure you with her eyelids. for by means of a harlot a man is reduced to a crust of bread; and an adulteress will prey upon his precious life. Pr. 6:23 – 26. NKJV

Adultery leads to divorce. Violence falls upon every member of the household in divorce – including the perpetrator, who loathes him or herself for their transgression. Even if the adulterer manages to carry on their illicit tryst undiscovered, they are already divorced in their heart, if not in the courts.

Adultery separates the perpetrator from the love of God, and should they remain impenitent, they run the danger of losing their eternal date with Him:

Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, do not stray into her paths; for she cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men. Her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death. Pr. 7:25 – 27. NKJV

But thank God for His mercy! Even if you’ve fallen for this trap, if you return to Him with sincere confession and repentance, He will restore your relationship with Him.

Still, you must deal with the destructive aftermath and pray that your household can heal. Sin always has consequences.

Far better to let God direct your marriage. It is His wisdom that leads us into matrimony; and it is the same wisdom that shows us how to exercise love, respect, fidelity, kindness, benevolence, mutual submission and restraint (by keeping our affections at home). When you apply that wisdom, you’re completing your connection with God and living out His purposes, which always lead to your highest and best life.

Doesn’t that sound wise to you?

Goodnight and God bless.

God’s Wisdom Trumps Earthly Knowledge Every Time

When King Solomon was handed the rulership of Israel, God came to him in a dream and asked him what He could give him. As we know, instead of riches and power, Solomon asked for wisdom, to be able to rule effectively over the children of God. (1 Kin. 3:9)

God was so impressed with the king’s humility that He also showered riches and honor on him as well as wisdom. (2 Chr. 1:11, 12.) Just how wise did God make Solomon?

Now all the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. 1 Kin. 10:24 NKJV

Thus, King Solomon received wisdom directly from God, making him the wisest man on the planet.

What does ‘wisdom’ mean? In the Bible, it is translated from the Hebrew chakam, meaning ‘intelligent, skillful, artful and cunning;’ and from the Greek saphes, which means to be clear. English dictionaries define wisdom as ‘the quality of having experience, knowledge and good judgement.’

It would appear then that wisdom is a character trait you learn from having experienced what life has to teach you and from the processing of what these life lessons taught, leading to gaining an ability to astutely apply the knowledge that is beneficial – all with a mind and a heart that is clear from misconceptions:

The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise. Pr. 15:31 NKJV

God is the Source of life; therefore, it is His lessons that bring wisdom to the willingly listening student. But, where does one start?

The [reverent] fear of the LORD [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the beginning and the preeminent part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; Pr. 1:7 AMP

God is saying that wisdom is found in Him:

…those who seek the LORD understand all things. Pr. 28:5 NASB

That makes sense. We seek God by living in and by His word. We gain His wisdom from the Holy Spirit, who reveals the meanings of those words to our spirit:

…there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding. Job 32:8 NKJV

The good part is that God gives it freely to those who ask in faith:

…if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting… James 1:5, 6. NASB

Let’s ask God why we need this wisdom:

For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice, and preserves the way of his saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come in your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil… Pr. 2:6 – 12. ESV

So, with wisdom comes the ability to know God intimately – understanding His plan for you and His path for getting you there. Furthermore, God keeps you covered on all sides during that journey…

God puts wisdom above all things:

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you, she will bring you honor when you embrace her. Pr. 4:7, 8.  NKJV

Once we seek wisdom, God will keep pouring it into us:

“He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.” Dan. 2:21 NKJV

So, we’ve looked at why God wants us to have wisdom (primarily to facilitate having an intimate relationship with Him, and in so doing, have an extraordinary life). But what happens to those who don’t seek out His wisdom?

Therefore My people go into exile because they lack knowledge [of God]; Is. 5:13 AMP

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Hos. 4:6 NKJV

If you’re seeking God’s wisdom, you must also keep the company of others who do likewise:

He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Pr. 13;20 NASB

Ultimately, those who act in opposition to God’s plan for them, will be subject to the whims of the god of this world, because they invited him (Satan) in, by rejecting the kingdom wisdom:

When anyone hears the word of the kingdom [regarding salvation] and does not understand and grasp it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. Mt. 13:19 AMP

It doesn’t have to be that way if you stick with God’s ways:

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart, the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes… Ps. 19:7, 8. ESV

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver…and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her, those who hold her fast are called blessed. Pr. 3:13 – 18. ESV

So, it is the use of God’s wisdom that promotes our highest and best life, not the so-called wisdom of the world:

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. 1 Cor. 3:18, 19. ES

There is no [human] wisdom or understanding or counsel [that can prevail] against the LORD. Pr. 21:30 AMP

Just remember, when you get your wisdom, don’t forget form whence it came; and don’t allow yourself to get puffed up with your new-found awareness:

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. Pr. 11:2 ESV

Thus says the LORD, “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom…but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, who exercises lovingkindness, justice and the righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD. Jer. 9:23, 24. NASB

For we get these very qualities by walking in His wisdom…

Goodnight and God bless.