My Musings – So, if God did not give us a spirit of timidity, where did it come from? If He gave us a spirit of power, why does the timidity win out so often? Satan is the master of deception, convincing us of what we cannot do, when he knows very well the power that is within. A power that he does not want unleashed.
My Advice – Listen to the Spirit of the Lord, and turn a deaf ear to the spirit of the enemy. Unleash the power, but do so in love and self-discipline.
My Musings – Can one be Godly without being content? Or, content (really content) without being Godly? I cannot imagine the first, and find it hard to imagine the second. Paul measured his contentment by being satisfied with the bare necessities of life, food and clothing. Apparently he modeled his contentment after the Master (who owned no place to lay His head), as he did not even list a place to stay as a requirement.
Why would Paul be content with Godliness? Food, clothing, possessions – we’ll leave this world with none of these. Godliness, character, fruits of the Spirit – they’ll come along for the ride. These are treasures to “lay up” for ourselves. Treasures in “clay jars.“
My Advice – What are you working for? Will it bring contentment? Or once you have it will you find yourself asking “is that all there is?” Don’t become addicted to “things,” that only leave you craving your next “fix.” Pursue the only way to Godliness with content – a relationship with Jesus Christ.
My Musings – A wise former pastor of mine (now with the Lord) once said, “when you read the word therefore, you need to see what it’s there for.” Paul had just recounted the life we used to walk (anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language, to name a few), “since [we] have taken off [our] old self with its practices and have put on the new self.” That’s what it’s there for. A change of clothes. From the “filthy rags” mentioned above, to the renewed wardrobe that is “in the image of its Creator” woven out of “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.“
My Advice – We are chosen and dearly loved. “Therefore,” “over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” That’s what we’re here for.
My Musings – Like most “sound bites” from the Scriptures it is important that this verse be read in context so we do not read into “do everything,” what was not intended. Paul has just finished saying that he has learned the secret of being content whatever the circumstances (and boy has he been through plenty of circumstances), whether in need or in plenty. What Paul is actually saying is that he has strength to face all these things, through Christ who provides the strength. Elsewhere, Paul recounts being told by Christ that His grace is sufficient.
My Advice – This is not just a Paul thing. God’s grace is sufficient for all of us no matter what the circumstances. The problem is, we frequently do not draw the strength from Him, preferring to tackle things on our own. Draw from His strength. The “well” never runs dry.
My Musings – Verses eight and nine are very well known. Memorized by many. It is these two verses that many say are at odds with James’ admonition that faith without works are dead. Funny how we sometimes see and hear what we want to and gloss over the rest. Verse ten makes Paul’s thoughts complete. You see, Paul and James are not at odds. James goes on to say that his faith is demonstrated by deeds. Paul is essentially saying the same thing. We are saved by faith (not by works), but a faith that does not cause us to do “good deeds” is a questionable faith in deed. Said another way: Salvation is not the result of good works, but our salvation should result in good works. Faith is the cause, good deeds are the effect.
My Advice – Be a good workmanship, just make sure it stems from your salvation and is not an attempt to obtain salvation.
My Musings – If: an introduction to a conditional clause. One can only be a new creation if they are in Christ (the condition). If one is not in Christ, they are not a new creation, In: a specified relationship, as in a relationship with (saved by) Christ. Is: the present tense of being. If one is in Christ they will not become a new creation, they are a new creation.
The old (life dominated by our sin nature) has gone (no longer here) and the new (life dominated our Son nature) has come (is now here). This is what it means to be a new creation.
My Advice – Our old life can only master us if we choose to let it. Because we are a new creation, we have the ability to “just say no” to our old nature and habits. Choose wisely.
My Musings – In my previous musing, I discussed how ambiguous the English language was in conveying (“ear has heard“) God’s love for mankind. And that in the original Greek, we have a much clearer picture (“eye has seen“). Yet today’s verse tells us that even then, we really have no idea (“mind has conceived“). We might as well add that no language can convey.
A common exchange between people who love each other is when one person says “I love you” and the other replies “I love you more.” With God, the more is infinite. The more is most.
My Advice – We all want someone who loves us. God loves us unconditionally and incomprehensibly. Can we honestly say we do not want that kind of love? He is just outside the door knocking. Why not let Him in?