Proverbs 31:26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.
Who are the ones living their spiritual lives on empty? I’ve noticed that those who break God’s laws regularly tend to fall apart when times go bad. They just seem to run out of what it takes to reach for victory. The Lord has set out for our good His instructions so that we do not destroy our souls. Ryan Holiday writes in his book Discipline Is Destiny, “Discipline is not a punishment, it’s a way to avoid punishment.” Even though Ryan is writing about self-discipline, the same advice can be used for our discipline in following the admonitions for righteous living through God’s word. Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Self-righteousness is a quick way to spiritual emptiness. Matt. 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. Watch what you sneer at because someone is sneering at you for the way you do and live your life. We might be moving along in our walk with the Lord while sneering at the beliefs of others, only to find out that our beliefs may be as corrupt and erroneous as theirs. The judgments of Christians among Christians can be brutal and we need to remember that we too will be judged with the same measuring stick we use on others. Matt. 7:2 For you will be judged by the same standard with which you judge others, and you will be measured by the same measure you use.
There is a difference between pointing out blatant sin (what God says sin is) and pointing out something we do not like or personally approve of concerning a person’s belief or understanding of God as they walk through their salvation in Christ. We do need to show some compassion for those who are growing step by step in their walk with the Lord. We need to offer uplifting words of encouragement, rather than clubbing them with a litany of thou shalt, or thou shalt not. Prov. 31:26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.
Another way people end up spiritually empty is by not showing up. I have taught, counselled, and ministered within the church body for a few decades now. I have noticed that those who show up for the appointments and those who do the tasks that are given to help them improve in their faith, do grow up into mature Christians serving the Lord with strength and purpose. Those who do not show up nor do what they need to do to break through the problems that in most cases they cause by their own choices, end up spiritually empty. They also become a drain on the people around them as they are always in need of deliverance from themselves because they will not do what God’s word says to do. Gen. 4:7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.
I know a few people who live from crisis to crisis. Interestingly one of the meanings of the word crisis is, under judgment. Why are people living from judgment to judgment or as is said, crisis to crisis? These people often want a word from the Lord so that deliverance will show up like a superhero saving the day. These same poor souls rarely take responsibility for the mess that is self-made, then the cycle starts all over again – looking for a word from the Lord to be delivered of the self-made rationalized mess. Isa. 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
We can rationalize anything we want and history proves we can even make the evil that has been rationalized legal. Hitler’s concentration camps became legal in a very short time. My friend and publisher Clay, has said in the past, “Don’t stay stupid! Move on from that place!” I agree. Most of the time those who are spiritually empty or running on the last fumes of the last victory they took part in have simply walked off the path God had set for them. Again as Ryan Holiday said, “Discipline is not a punishment, it’s a way to avoid punishment.” If God is pointing at something in our life that He wants us to repent about, and stop doing, then obeying that instruction will go a long way in helping us become spiritually filled. This obedience will also help us grow up in the blessings of the Lord. May we all keep our souls full of the spirit of God. Blessings and peace to us all.
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Good word Norm. Even 2 years ago I would not have accepted wanting to be led by the Holy Spirit in my daily life and continued with my messes. I thank God every day that “I didn’t stay stupid” and found the joy and peace of it all.
Interestingly, you say two years ago.
Who we are today, is normally the product of decisions we made two years ago. It takes that amount of time to create the new habits that we live by today. Good call choosing the leading of the Holy Spirit. Blessings.
I needed this today. The sermon I heard this morning spoke on everything you said here. I hear you, Lord. Thank you, Norm.
Thank you Norm for your spiritual insight!
Pharoah took a long time to listen to what God was telling him. I hope and pray I can recognize inspired words from Jesus, and have the wisdom to act and understanding of how to act. Sometimes it’s easy to receive discipline, other times it triggers anger or frustration.
Thanks again for a faith building word of truth Norm!