Friday, November 04, 2011

November 4, 2011 … Being Wise In Adversity

Blogger's Note: Back on daily posting schedule, with the 11/3 post from yesterday being delayed until posting this day (11/4). But as you'll note, God's timing was perfect in my oversight. These two devotional journal entries are perfectly paired to go together. So I hope any readers will not be discouraged and read/study them in tandem this AM. ... Sorry for bunching them together like this. wrb

Passage of the Day: James 3: 13 … from the NIV … Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

James 3: 13 … from the NASB … Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.

James 3: 13 …from the NKJV … Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.

My Journal for Today: Okay, day four on James 3: 13; and I have retained all three versions of this passage above for your review and consideration again today. And in his Strength for Today devotional for this date, John MacArthur once again focuses on the quality of MEEKNESS, as we did in yesterday’s study. The two-day highlight shows to me just how important MacArthur feels this Christlike quality is to the Christian pursuit of Godly wisdom in the Christian walk.

In his entry for this date, MacArthur quotes from a commentary on the book of James by one Robert Johnstone, who wrote his treatise on James over 100 years ago; and even then, this writer recognized how contrary the attitude and witness of “meekness” was to the worldly conception of “manliness.” And today, even more obviously, we live in a world where a man’s man would be marked by independence, self assertion, and the desire for control. “Meekness” for the man of today, as well as for men in Johnstone’s day, would be labeled as weakness, a quality to be avoided.

But if we believers aspire to Christlikeness, we have to take a look at Jesus as our model of attitude. In fact, the Apostle Paul flat-out said it was our duty as Christians to develop the attitudes of Christ (see Phil. 2: 5); and if we study the life of Jesus, we see THE model of THE man’s man … a model that the worldly man would not provide for us. Jesus was not only the model of manhood for Christians, He was the GOD-MAN; and as we saw yesterday, the only two terms He used to describe Himself was as being “gentle (i.e., meek) and humble of heart” [that found in NIV Matt. 11: 29). And I also pointed out yesterday that Jesus directly blessed the attitude of meekness in His Sermon on the Mount (see Matt. 5: 5). In fact, His whole life on this earth, especially His time of ministry, was a walk of meekness and humble surrender to His Father. When Christ was led to the cross, He could have called down legions of angels to defend Him; but due to His – meekness – He spoke not a word in His defense.

So, does this mean we can never assert our strength or stand up – even in anger – in our Christian walk? Hardly. Jesus certainly demonstrated Godly anger and assertiveness when he turned over the tables in God’s Temple (see John 2: 13 – 22). And righteous anger is a topic for discussion at another time; but Jesus never would have never wanted His righteous anger, which was always exercised in support of His Father, to trump the humility and meekness He modeled the greatest portion of His life.

Christ’s meekness came from His absolute surrender to His Heavenly Father. And our meekness should be our absolute surrender to Christ. And in Luke 9: 23, which I pray you now have etched in your hearts/minds by now, Jesus spoke to His followers about how we can exercise meekness (and humility) in our Christian walk as He said, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”

I have to ask myself (as you should yourselves), “Is my Christian walk one of meekness?” And if not, what do I need to do in my pursuit of Christlikeness to allow me to become a meek pursuer of Godly wisdom?

My Prayer Today: Again, Lord, I pray … help me to be like You. Amen

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