Monday, May 21, 2018
Philippians 3:3 For we … put no confidence in the flesh—
Jeremiah 9:23-24 This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, 24but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.
We all tend to fall into a terrible trap of depending on devotionals for our spiritual growth. How many times are we guilty of skipping over the Scripture passages just so we can read a short story or illustration of a truth and hopefully learn something from it? God’s Word is our teacher – not the writings of people. I remember when I used to read the Our Daily Bread devotionals. I didn’t open my Bible and read the whole passage of Scripture that was recommended. I just read the one verse they printed and then hurried on to the story. How wrong that is! We neglect the true Bread of Life and settle for crumbs that have fallen from the lips of someone else who is eating.
I know as a devotional writer, I would love nothing better than to get an email from you saying, “Pastor, I didn’t get to read your devotional today because the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let me out of the Scriptures. He taught me so much I didn’t need any more from you.” So, I hope you took the time to read all of the Scripture passages for today. If not, please do it now.
Now, if after reading them you still want more, here’s what God is saying to me. We have become enamored with our personal success. We have become addicted to the American lifestyle of prosperity. Just look at how much of our time, energy, and resources are spent on personal things. We must own a home, and then buy everything for that home that meets a socially determined standard. We justify it by claiming that we are investing in the resale value of the home, when it may be the pride of life that is our motivation. Much of what we pursue is culturally motivated and not spiritually motivated. We prefer being known by the world to being known by God. We prefer to boast about our wisdom, our strength, and our riches rather than how much intimacy we have with the Father. We prefer the safety and security of society to serving the Savior at all cost.
Jesus lived in a society that allowed wealth and prosperity. He could have used his wisdom to earn the respect of people. He could have easily bought into the social system of His day and even been considered righteous while doing it. He could have used all His power to rise to a position of leadership. He could have claimed all the riches of His day for Himself and He could have had the nicest home in the city of Jerusalem with a beach house at the Mediterranean. He could have demonstrated for us all how to get ahead in life and be successful. But He didn’t. He demonstrated something else – intimacy with the Father, modeling of the Father’s character, and obedience to the Father’s will.
In Jeremiah 9:24 we are told that the claim to fame is the same for all of us – “But let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.
In what do you boast? Your house? Your job? Your strength in the face of life’s difficulties? Your wisdom to manage life? Your wealth? Your success?
I want to be able to say, with Paul, May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.