“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” Proverbs 11:30 KJV. Everyone enjoys winning. Many people go to incredible lengths to win. Our secular world continually celebrates winners. In sports, academics, music, business, politics and even religion, people strive diligently to win some prize or recognition from others. But what in this world compares to winning a soul for Jesus Christ? What will it matter if we win every contest but we fail to win souls? The wisdom spoken of here is that which comes from God alone. It is the wisdom to recognize what is worth winning. All that people seek for in this world will mean nothing soon after it is won. Many great athletes have trashed their entire collection of trophies and medals because they finally realized what God’s Word says, “It all is vanity”. But when we realize how precious souls are, then we will seek to win them. Jesus told us that nothing in this world compares to the value of a soul. How can we claim to be His children when we value so many other things more than the souls He died for? One day, when the eternal rewards are given, it will not be the great names of this world who are the winners. It will be those who have had the wisdom to win souls for Jesus Christ.
“… and exercise thyself rather unto Godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8 KJV. We live in a world that is consumed with taking care of the physical body. And certainly God knows our needs and has promised to provide ‘all these things’ as we trust Him. But in this passage the Apostle is contrasting bodily exercise with spiritual. He admits that exercising the body has some benefit, but it is ‘little’. On the other hand, when we exercise ourselves unto Godliness it benefits in every way! Most people choose to spend all their time and energy on the physical which is quickly passing away. But a wise person recognizes that their eternal soul is infinitely more important than this body of flesh. Being strong and healthy physically equips us to help others in small, mostly insignificant ways. But when we are spiritually strong we are able to help people in the most important ways. Having physical strength does not help us in the spiritual battles we face. But being strong in the Lord helps us to overcome our spiritual enemies. Let us choose the path of wisdom and exercise ourselves unto Godliness.
“speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;” 1 Timothy 4:2 KJV. One of the worst things that can happen to a Christian is to reach a state of “searing” of conscience. In the following verses the apostle lists some of the results of this state, which is not reached from one moment to the next. It is the result of sinning over and over again and ignoring God’s warnings about the consequences. A servant of God illustrates it as follows; When someone begins to learn to play the guitar, the pain and burning that they feel from the pressure that must be exerted on the strings is unbearable at first. As the days go by, a callus is created on the fingertips that decreases the pain, until you no longer feel anything at all. Such is a cauterized conscience. The ability to feel pain for sin is lost. The time comes when nothing seems bad to us, and therefore, we do not believe that it offends the Creator. May God free us from losing the ability to feel pain for sin, or from justifying ourselves when we know we have done something that contradicts the will of our Father and descending to a point of no return. Let us be obedient doers of the Word and zealous defenders of Biblical principles so that our conscience never reaches such a deplorable condition.
“Through Thee will we push down our enemies: Through Thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us. For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.” Psalm 44:5-6 KJV. The psalmist is expressing here our absolute dependence upon God in our spiritual battles. Every child of God faces spiritual enemies that war against our souls. But our mistake often is, that we try to face the spiritual battles like we do other battles. We lean on the arm of flesh. We try to use our own wisdom and human resources to gain the victory. And when we do this, it always leads to failure and defeat. Because no human being has sufficient strength to overcome the forces of evil. We forget that we are not wrestling with flesh and blood, but against spiritual principalities and powers. But let us be careful, because the enemy will try to use some individual to work against us. The danger is, we make it a personal battle instead of recognizing it as a spiritual attack. So if we want to have victory over our spiritual enemies, it will only be “through the Lord”. And thank God, when we trust Him and lean on His strength, we will discover that He fights our battles and He is our victory!
“…and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8 KJV. The prophet mentions here, a few of the things that God requires. Yet today, because these things do not tickle people’s ears they are disregarded by the false church world. To do justly means to do what is right. It is living a righteous life. It is not what we decide is right for us, but what God has declared is right. This is not a suggestion God makes but a Divine command. It is a requirement of our Holy God. How can we live wrong and expect to be right with God? To love mercy means not only to love the mercy that God shows to us, but also to take delight in showing mercy to others as God has to us. Too many have fooled themselves into thinking they will be ok with a hard, unmerciful attitude. They refuse to forgive and show mercy to people who have offended them. But they do not understand that this is a Divine requirement and no unmerciful people will make it to Heaven. Finally, to walk humbly with God means laying aside our foolish human pride. It means that we recognize and submit to His authority over our lives in all things. We cannot walk with God while living in sin. When we walk with Him, we must always follow where He leads. Let us take seriously the things God requires.
“…and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8 KJV. In this modern religious world that makes demands of no one and requires no change of heart or life, these words sound very strange. Today, the message from God has been watered down to simply, “Believe and all will be well”. There is very little preaching of ‘the whole counsel of God.’ The commands of God have become almost meaningless to this ‘easy believism’ generation of church goers. Many church members are told that sin matters little and their ungodly lifestyles and choices do not separate them from God. But where are those who will stand up and declare, “God still requires some things!” And because He is God, He has the complete right and full authority to require things from us. The truth is, what God requires is the most important thing of all! So we should ask ourselves, “Will we accept the lies of ‘easy believism’ religion or, will we believe that our Holy God has the right to require things of us?” May God help us to do what God requires.
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good…” Micah 6:8 KJV. How thankful we should be that God does not leave it up to us to decide what is good. He makes it very clear in His Word what is good! All throughout the Bible we can read of the goodness of God, because the Lord is good. His Word is good. His Law is good. His promises are all good. To walk in fellowship with Him is good. To love God and love others is good. God has certainly showed us what is good. And yet, it is amazing that people continue to run after things in this world trying to find something good. They are deceived into thinking material prosperity and worldly success is good. They imagine that getting what they want will be good. But may we understand there is nothing or no one good without God! Jesus said, “There is none good, but God”. (Matthew 19:17). And until Jesus Christ is first place in our hearts and lives, we will never be good. Until He is honored and exalted in our churches they will not be good. So may God help us to recognize and seek after that which is truly good. And then we will be able to testify with the psalmist, “I have tasted and found the Lord is good!”
“O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the Spirit of the LORD straitened? are these his doings? do not My words do good to him that walketh uprightly?” Micah 2:7 KJV. One of the things we should always keep in mind is that God gave His Word to us for our good. When we read it and obey it, it does a good work in our lives. When we walk in it’s precepts it brings good into our lives. Today, we are in a time when most people are discrediting and ignoring God’s Word. Even in many pulpits the Word is being watered down to fit people rather than demanding people change to fit the Word. But we need to be reminded that there is still power in the Word of God. The Word is to have authority over our lives. And when we give heed to it and change our lives to live in harmony with it’s teachings, it will always do us good! But let us ask ourselves, “Is the Word of God doing us good?” Are we taking time each day to read it and then open our hearts to it? Do we listen to the pure Word of God as it is preached and allow it to transform us for good? If the Word is not doing us good, that means we are not walking uprightly. By God’s grace let us open our hearts to the precious Word of God and then we will see, it always does us good.
“There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.” Joshua 21:45 KJV. These words were written after Israel had finally come into the promised land and conquered all their enemies. The Lord gave them rest and fulfilled all of the Word He had spoken to them. One day, each of us as God’s children will make our final crossing into the Heavenly Promised Land. All our battles will be over and we will have perfect and eternal rest. And then we will know the full reality of these words. Then we will be able to look back and see that everything God promised has come to pass! Every Word He has spoken has been fulfilled. And what a wonderful day that will be! But we also need to live with this assurance even now in this present world. We can have the confidence to know that all God has said and promised already is fulfilled in Him, because His Word is unfailing and time has no affect on Him. When He speaks it is done! Let us live with unshakable faith in God’s unfailing Word.
“The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: But he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.” Proverbs 11:17 KJV. One of the evidences that we are children of God is when we become merciful towards others as our Heavenly Father is merciful to us. This quality demonstrates that His Spirit and His love is dwelling in our hearts. When we begin to recognize the great mercy that God has shown to us, it humbles us and causes us to have that same merciful attitude to others. And being merciful brings great blessing to our souls. The mercy we demonstrate to others is manifested in two ways. First, we seek to relieve the suffering of others. And next, we freely forgive as God has forgiven us. Each of us should ask ourselves if we have this merciful heart towards our fellow man. Are we touched by the suffering of others to where we desire to relieve their suffering? Are we moved to intercessory prayer for their needs? And for those who have wounded us, do we have a forgiving spirit towards them that reflects the mercy of our Lord? This merciful spirit reveals that Christ is dwelling in us. But when we refuse to show mercy, we are separating ourselves from the mercy of God. When we are merciful we bless God and bring blessing upon our own lives.