Take the test: look into the mirror of God’s Word and ask yourself, “Which of these characteristics describe me and which don’t?” What do your answers tell you about your walk with God, your trust in Him, and your level of spiritual maturity?
Jeremiah 9 & 10
Look in the Mirror & Take the Test
The Mirror of God’s Word
In chapter 1 of James’ epistle, he compares the Word of God to a mirror (Jas. 1.23) and goes on to say that “if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it” (Jas. 1.25).
Here in this passage, Paul commands us to “set our mind on things above, not on the things on the earth” (v. 2).
This chapter gives us a great summary of what a mature Christian life should look like—kind of a composite mirror image of Christlike character. Read back through Colossians 3 and take the test. Ask yourself what you are reflecting to the world.
□ Are you putting sinful desires to death? Do you repent when you think of them (v. 5)?
□ Do you covet what others have, whether relationships, material things, or prestige (v. 5)?
□ Are you worshiping anything besides God alone (v. 5)?
□ Do you allow yourself to get angry or malicious (v. 8)?
□ Do you use unwholesome or filthy language (v. 8)?
□ Do you use the Lord’s name in vain, even those OMGs (v. 8)?
□ Do you lie to avoid conflict or problems, cover sin, or mislead (v. 9)?
□ Are you seeking to become more like Christ (v. 10)?
□ Are you merciful and compassionate (v. 12)?
□ Are you kind to friends, family, co-workers and strangers (v. 12)?
□ Are you proud (defensive, self-righteous, demanding, selfish …) (v. 12)?
□ Are you patient (longsuffering) (v. 12)?
□ Are you willing to bear with (put up with, be inconvenienced by) others (v. 13)?
□ Are you forgiving (v. 13)?
□ Do you demonstrate the love of Christ (v. 14, 1 Cor. 13.4-7)?
□ Do you have God’s peace (v.15)?
□ Are you thankful (v. 15)?
□ Are you growing in your knowledge of God’s Word (v. 16)?
□ Are you growing in the wisdom of God (v. 16)?
□ Are you sharing God’s Word with others (v. 16)?
□ Are you willing to speak the truth in love to others (admonish) (v. 16)?
□ Do you have a worshipful heart (v. 16)?
□ Do you do all things in the name of the Lord (is what characterizes your life pleasing to Him) (v. 17)?
□ Wives, are you submissive to your husband (v. 18)?
□ Husbands, do you love your wife biblically or are you bitter toward her (v. 19)?
□ Children, to you obey your parents in all things (v. 20)?
□ Parents, do you provoke your children to anger through your ungodly attitudes and behavior (v. 21)?
□ Employees, do you obey and submit to your boss or supervisor (v. 22)?
□ Are you a man-pleaser, instead of a God-pleaser (v. 22)?
□ Do you fear God (worship, respect Him and His Word) (v. 22)?
□ Do you do all things heartily (v. 23)?
None of us will do all these things perfectly. In fact, that’s why Christ died, because we can’t … and certainly not in our own strength. But as we learn to rely on the Holy Spirit working through us, we should see growth in these areas. When we read prayerfully through passages like Colossians 3, we allow the Holy Spirit to convict our hearts and show us areas where we may need to repent and seek God’s help to change.
What do your answers reveal to you? What do they say about your relationship with God, your trust in Him, and your level of spiritual maturity?
“But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it” (Jas. 1.25 NLT).
Today’s Other Readings:
Tongues like Arrows
I love the imagery in the Bible. As you read, think about what some of these images portray.
Verse 9.3, “And like their bow they have bent their tongues for lies …”
We don’t use a bow and arrow today, but we have all seen one. We understand how the bow is loaded with the arrow and then it is pulled back and fired at the target. God through the prophet was saying that their tongues were bent back and poised to fire lies.
This is a picture of people whose lives were characterized by deceit. Just like the bow is known for shooting arrows (its only purpose), so these people were known for a life of deceit. Jeremiah goes on to say,
“They weary themselves to commit iniquity” (9.5).
Their sinful lifestyles came out of their rejection of God and His law. They had forsaken the worship of the true God and decided to live according to “the dictates of their own hearts” (9.13). So God said He would “feed them … with wormwood and give them water of gall to drink.”
Life would not go well with them. Life would be bitter. They thought they would find satisfaction in living life their own way, but it was bitter and empty instead.
Note: While reading this passage and preparing this post, I couldn’t help seeing the connection between the people in Jeremiah’s day and our world today, especially what’s going on the the political realm. To read more about this, check out today’s other post, “The Most Important Election of Our Lifetime.”
Made to Worship
Chapter 10 turns to the subject of worship. We were made to worship. And we will worship something. Sometimes resorting to utter foolishness. Verses 3-5:
3 For the customs of the peoples are futile;
For one cuts a tree from the forest,
The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.
4 They decorate it with silver and gold;
They fasten it with nails and hammers
So that it will not topple.
5 They are upright, like a palm tree,
And they cannot speak;
They must be carried,
Because they cannot go by themselves.
Do not be afraid of them,
For they cannot do evil,
Nor can they do any good.”
But our own “idols” are just as foolish to God. We may worship “self”—our right to do whatever we want without regard to God or His will. Or we may worship “possessions” or “fame and fortune” or some other form of false religion, but we all worship something.
Better to Trust in the Lord
Verse 8-9, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.”
Sometimes we are more concerned about what people will think than what God thinks, but God and His truth are what will stand.
Satisfied in Him
“A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.”
Pray that God would satisfy you with His steadfast love (Ps. 90.14), so you don’t hunger for what cannot satisfy—the praise of men, earthly things or pleasure.
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life
Drawn from a rich heritage, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney will guide you through a carefully selected array of disciplines. By illustrating why the disciplines are important, showing how each one will help you grow in godliness, and offering practical suggestions for cultivating them, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life will provide you with a refreshing opportunity to become more like Christ and grow in character and maturity. Now updated and revised to equip a new generation of readers, this anniversary edition features in-depth discussions on each of the key disciplines.
Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health
Are you spiritually healthy or just spiritually busy? These 10 probing questions will help you look beyond your spiritual activity to assess the true state of your spiritual health. This book by Donald S. Whitney provides thought-provoking insights that will help you on your spiritual transformation journey. See how the spiritual disciplines—including prayer, worship, and meditation—can take your spiritual health from fair to excellent.
You can also Shop for Other Resources
Getting ready for 2017
The holidays are just around the corner and the new year will be on us before we know it. What will you do to make Bible reading an ongoing habit in the coming year? I’d like to encourage you to set a goal to read through the Bible.
And I hope you’ll sign up for my daily email. It can serve as a gentle reminder to stay on track. I try to make comments that are relevant to the daily struggles and questions that I hear in my counseling and discipleship ministries.
Start today so you can begin the habit and it will be a regular part of your day come January.
You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+. Just click on the social media icons. But nothing replaces having the daily devotion pop up in your inbox each day. It, usually (once in a while life gets in the way), goes out at 3 a.m. MST, so it’s there for early risers no matter what time zone you’re in. As an incentive, I’ll be giving away one daily Bible to someone who signs up between now and October 31st and another one to someone who leaves a comment between now and then.
So will you join me and, possibly, encourage someone else to do the same. (Why not email or call them right now?) Let’s get ready and grow in our relationship with Him together.
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“Bible in a Year” posts have been edited and updated from previous posts.