James compared God’s Word to a mirror. As we read it and meditate on the character of Christ, we can see where we’re not like Him. Today’s reading has two lists: the fruit of the Spirit and the deeds of the flesh. We may think we know which one describes us, but let’s look again. Contemplating the characteristics of each can help us see where we need to grow and change.
Isaiah 45 & 46
What Do You See in the Mirror?
Two Lists: The Fruit of the Spirit & the Deeds of the Flesh
God’s Word is our plumb line. It’s to be our guide for daily living.
James compared it to a mirror (Jas. 1.22-25):
21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does (Jas. 1.22-25).
As we look into that mirror, we see where we’re not like Christ and where we need to grow and change. In today’s reading in Galatians we find two lists, contrasting godly living with sinful. Verses 19-21:
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
We need to ask, which list characterizes our lives?
Is it verses 22-23, the fruit of the Spirit?
Or verses 19-21: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred … we might think we’re doing pretty good … murders, drunkenness … still OK … but wait a minute … contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions …
Notice God put those things smack dab in the middle of that list! And verse 21 says, “… those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Of course, we will at times fall short in some of these areas, but if these things characterize our lives, if we practice them as a lifestyle, especially if we can do so without conviction or a desire to change, it may be an indication that we need to evaluate our relationship with God.
Today’s Other Readings:
Isaiah 45 & 46:
He Will Bring It to Pass
Over and over in these two chapters God says, “I am the Lord, and there is no other.” One of the ways He has confirmed that fact is through the fulfillment of prophecy.
There are many prophecies which have already been fulfilled and others which are yet to be fulfilled. But, eventually, each one will come to pass:
“… Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it” (46.11).
Exalt Him for His Works and His Character
In this beautiful psalm of praise the psalmist exalts God for both His works, “The works of the Lord are great …” (v. 2) and His character, “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion” (v. 4). How often do you remember to thank and praise the Lord, not just for what He has done in your life, but for Who He is?
Fools & Transgressors
“The great God who formed everything gives the fool his hire and the transgressor his wages.”
God in His mercy extends a certain amount of common grace even to the unrighteous (He gives the fool his hire). He also recognizes the difference between someone who sins in ignorance and someone who sins presumptuously or knowingly and rewards them accordingly (He gives each their wages).
How has God spoken to you today? Did you see a passage in a new light? Did you see an area where you need to grow and change? Did you find a promise to hold on to? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
In the next few days we’ll talk about the importance of Jesus’ warning in Matthew 7 that when they stand before Him there will be many people doing religious things and who may look good on the outside, but are in danger of hearing the words “I never knew you.” We’ll also talk about laziness, the prosperity doctrine, true freedom and more.
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Anger and stress are perhaps the two most defining aspects of our world today. There are many ways of handling stress and anger: You can get increasingly angrier and more stressed out, you can resort to drugs and alcohol, you can turn violent, you can retreat into your own world and become cold and distant—or you can react God’s Way!
Uprooting Anger: Biblical Help for a Common Problem by Robert D. Jones
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