Wednesday, November 23, 2011

November 23, 2011 … Playing The Fool

Passage of the Day: 1st Samuel 26: 21 [highlight verse in bold/underlined] … 21 Then Saul said [to David], "I have sinned. Come back, David my son. Because you considered my life precious today, I will not try to harm you again. Surely I have acted like a fool and have erred greatly."

My Journal for Today:
Can anyone, besides yours truly, identify with Saul’s pathetic pronouncement in today’s highlight verse/passage? In context we see that King Saul was chasing around after David due to his jealousy and ambition; and in a moment of lucidity, he saw what a fool he had been. Now we also know from history and scripture that it was only a momentary admission; because Saul went back to his foolish ways, which ultimately became his undoing – as will any pattern of habitual sin in the life of a believer. We all have our besetting patterns of sins – well, at least I do. I used to have a sexual sin stronghold in my life; and now I still waver in weakness with regard to gluttony; … perhaps, even though you’re a Christian, you have struggles like these too. I have Christian friends who deal with weaknesses in compulsive shopping, or other who have trouble whipping their tobacco addiction, or yet others who compulsively overeat like I do at times.

John MacArthur in today’s devotional from Strength for Today explores God’s command to Israel – and to us – in Deut. 32: 6, where Moses chides God’s people, “Is this the way you repay the LORD, O foolish and unwise people?” And is not that still the case in our world today? But how/why do we still perpetuate such misunderstanding and foolishness – even though we have God’s word in the light of Christ’s life, death, resurrection, ascension, and glorification? Well, MacArthur postulates several points in answering this …

First, it is our DISBELIEF. We’re not that much different than the two Christians walking to Emmaus after the crucifixion, whom Jesus confronted on the road and lovingly brought them to the realization of His presence in their lives (see Luke 24). We sometimes just walk through life engulfed in our circumstances; and because of our “pity-party” mentality, we can’t see Christ in the events of our lives; and we get down on life in our blind selfishness.

Secondly, our DISOBEDIENCE marks us as fools. Paul questioned the Galatians (in Gal. 3: 3). He wrote in that verse, “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” So often, when we’re confronted by the issues/circumstances of life, we react in the flesh rather than respond in the Spirit; and when we do so, we are disobedient to God and deserving of the outcomes or our own foolishness. Maybe, in past devotionals, you’ve read me write, “We cannot fight the flesh in the flesh!”

Thirdly, as worldly fools we DESIRE the wrong things. This was documented by Paul to Timothy in 1st Tim. 6: 9 when he wrote, “People … fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.” Christ gave us clear instruction where our desires must reside [see Matt. 6: 33]; and that is with God and not the world (see also 1st John 2: 15 – 16).

Finally, we see our foolishness as Christians in the DEMEANOR of our living, as we read in James 3: 13 – 17 (which we studied earlier this month; so, I’ll leave that to your own study – see any of my journal entries for 11/10-16). Unfortunately too many Christians fall prey to selfish worldly pursuits of wisdom/understanding rather than pursuing the mind of God through His word. We need to respond to Paul’s exhortation in Rom. 16: 19 when he wrote, “…I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.”

If we can recognize these tendencies of mankind – even Christians like ourselves – to fall into patterns of disbelief, disobedience, selfish desires, and misdemeanor, with our Spirit-surrendered choices, we could avoid the outcomes of living for and/or in the flesh (documented in Gal. 5: 19 – 21) and become much more wise Christians who live to express the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5: 22, 23).

My Prayer Today: Lead me, Lord; and I will walk where you walk. Amen

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