Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 4 May 18:
1. 1 Samuel 9:15, 16 — “Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed to Samuel: ‘Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel.'” God arranges circumstances and relationships to accomplish His purposes. If God calls you, you need only obey and let Him do the rest.
2. 1 Samuel 9:21 — “Am I not a Benjaminite, from the least of the tribes of Israel? And is not my clan the humblest of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then have you spoken to me in this way?” Those chosen by God don’t need political power, social status, prestige, or anything else to accomplish God’s will. Christians can do anything with God’s power as God wills.
3. 1 Samuel 10:6, 7, 10, 11 — “The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power… and you will be changed into a different person. Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you…. God changed Saul’s heart… the Spirit of God came upon him in power…. ‘What is this that has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” Saul was not searching for God, he was searching for donkeys; but God had chosen him, and God changed his heart and filled him with the Holy Spirit in order to fulfill God’s purposes. Saul’s life was forever changed. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit could Saul accomplish the work God had in store for him, not through his own wisdom and might (see today’s 1 Cor readings for more on the Holy Spirit). When the people looked at Saul (from their human perspective) they said, “How can this fellow save us?” They could not understand the power of the Spirit. Were you ever surprised by God while you were searching for proverbial lost donkeys? How is the Holy Spirit working in your life to fulfill God’s purposes?
– Those who are saved are filled with the Holy Spirit and live by the Spirit, not by flesh. We rely on the power of God, not on our own power – apart from God, we can do nothing. As our readings from 1 Corinthians tell us today, we should not put any faith in the wisdom of man but rather place ALL of our faith in the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:5). It is only through the Holy Spirit that we can understand God’s word and His direction for our life (1 Corinthians 2:10-13). The Bible says the God’s thoughts are farther from our thoughts than Heaven is from the earth (it is impossible to measure how far). Only through the Holy Spirit can God’s thoughts be revealed to us – it is vital that we continually seek the counsel of the Holy Spirit in our worship, prayer, Bible study, and fellowship, and that we follow the Spirit’s direction. Those without the Spirit (the unsaved) cannot accept God’s truth and view God’s word as foolishness (1 Corinthians 2:14). However, 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 warns that even Christians can “quench” or “grieve” the Holy Spirit through disobedience, warning us to “abstain from every form of evil.” How important is it to receive the counsel of the Holy Spirit through the study of God’s word and through prayer, remaining receptive and obedient?
4. 1 Samuel 10:9 — “God gave him another heart.” Only God can give you a new heart. No one can fix your old heart.
5. Proverbs 4:1-9 — God’s commands don’t rob you of joy and life, they enable joy and protect life.
6. Proverbs 4:5, 7 — Anyone, regardless of intelligence, background, or experience can get wisdom. It starts with obeying God’s commands.
7. Proverbs 4:23 — “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Whatever is in the well will come out in the bucket. Said another way, whatever is in the glass, spills out when it is bumped. Said still another way, no good tree bears bad fruit, and no bad tree bears good fruit. What is really in your heart will determine the product of your life. Above all else guard your heart.
8. 1 Corinthians 2:1 — “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Our faith does “not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:5).” It wasn’t logic and reason that brought you to your knees and transformed you, it was the power of the Holy Spirit working in a real, personal, one-on-one love relationship with you. Likewise, logic, reason, science, and well thought out arguments are not going to bring anyone else to Jesus. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him (John 6:44).” Today, Paul reminds us, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned (I Corinthians 2:14).” When God is working on the heart of a person, God may invite you to serve as Christ’s Ambassador to that person through the process. The most powerful testimony you can offer someone is to proclaim the Jesus you know personally, to tell of what God did in your life, to be a first-hand witness to the real power of God – “You are witnesses of these things (Luke 24:48).” As you proclaim the power of God in a real and personal way, the evidence of God’s power should also be very observable to others by the fruit of your life. Much like Gideon and his army, you will not win the battle for the soul, you will only participate in what God is doing. God prepares hearts to receive your testimony, and you might not realize the impact your testimony has – seeds planted in soil that have yet to sprout. A fisher of men has no control over the fish, but the Creator does.
9. 1 Corinthians 2:2-5 — “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified…. so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” Again, people aren’t convinced by clever arguments to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior; they are moved by the Holy Spirit. Getting caught up on pointless debates only cheapens the Gospel. Also, many Christians try to find clever ways to share their faith without ever mentioning Jesus – “I don’t want to scare them off.” I’m not sure how you share Jesus without sharing Jesus. The Holy Spirit will do the convicting.
10. 1 Corinthians 2:10 — “…these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.” Today we read that Samuel told Saul, “Then the Spirit of the LORD will rush upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man.” (1 Samuel 10:6) Only through the Spirit could Saul understand the truths of God and prophesy, not through intellect. Today Paul explains that wisdom can only be revealed through the Spirit, not through human reasoning. (1 Corinthians 2:10) Therefore, Paul did not attempt to convince the Corinthians to believe through clever, intellectual arguments. People come to Christ only through the Spirit as the Father draws them. People only rightly interpret God’s word as instructed by the Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:12) How important is it to be in tune with the Spirit? How important is it to not only have God’s word but also the “mind of Christ”?
11. 1 Corinthians 2:11 — “So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” It is dangerous in a relationship to assume what another person is thinking because we tend to misinterpret. This is one reason why open communication is so important to a relationship. Similarly, it is very dangerous to presume the thoughts of God in a particular situation, beyond what has been clearly reveled in the Bible. This is one reason prayer (communication) is so important. God reveals truth to us via the Spirit. Also, the Spirit convicts the heart. We cannot know what God is doing in the heart of another person. Be very careful not to presume you do. We don’t know which “Saul” we know God is about to make a “Paul.” Proclaim the truth in love to all without showing partiality, and let God do the rest.
12. 1 Corinthians 2:14 — “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” A person cannot receive God’s word and truth without aid of the Spirit. Do not be surprised when what seems so obvious to you is rejected as folly by unbelievers.
13. 1 Corinthians 2:16 — “But we have the mind of Christ.” If everyone has the mind of Christ, there is unity. Unity is found only in Christ. Today, many seek to unify around something other than Christ in order to bring peace, order, and progress; perhaps the common bond is a philosophy, a cause, a political party, an ethnicity, a gender, etc. However, all these identifiers fall short in ‘saving’ people from themselves, more importantly from the wrath of God. The Bible says, God is love, and Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life – no one gets to The Father (who is the source of love, peace, and wisdom) but through Jesus. Be truly united through Jesus (see John 17)
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 4 May: Seek to only communicate what is put on your heart by the Spirit, rather than speaking from your own knowledge. Are you proclaiming Jesus Christ to others or just morals based on the Bible – there is a difference. We are not called to make “good, moral people,” we are called to make disciples of Jesus Christ. If you aren’t proclaiming the Name, you are not proclaiming Jesus. The name of Jesus will divide a room quicker than anything else. Jesus said this is exactly what would happen. Have the moral courage to be judged a fanatic. Simply proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ today without adding to it (1 Corinthians 2).