Monday, June 22, 2009

The Refreshing Process

Proverbs 3 & 4--Healing through trust, humility, and turning from evil

Proverbs 3:5-8: "5Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. 6In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. 7Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn from evil. 8It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones."

Proverbs 4:23-27: "23Keep your heart with all diligence for from it flow the springs of life. 24Put away from you cooked speech and put devious talk from you. 25Let your eyes look directly forward and your gaze be straight before you. 26Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. 27Do not turn to the left or to the right; turn your foot away from evil."

The Lord has been speaking to me about guarding my heart--keeping my heart secure and steadfast. For days, I have not really known what to do with that or really what he meant by His instruction. I do guard my heart!--I said defensively to Him. What am I missing here? And then this morning, He took me to Proverbs...

In chapter 3, verses we are well familiar with, I am struck by the instruction for humility in these words:
"Trust in the Lord...not on your own understanding"
"Acknowledge Him"
"Do not be wise in your own eyes."
"Fear the Lord"
The command for humility is so obvious! More importantly, I never realized that this command has a sowing and reaping effect: If you do steps (verses) 5-7, you will reap verse 8: the promise of healing and refreshment! Just what my heart needs!

In chapter 4, the same promise is true ("healing in your flesh"--verse 22)--but the instruction is different. Where before, we were commanded to live in humility, here we are commanded to live in purity and righteousness. By guarding our hearts, we are keeping out:
"Crooked speech"
"Devious talk"
Essentially, keeping our eyes and feet from anything that leads to evil paths. We are instructed to have our gaze intently on whatever our goal is or should be, so that we walk straight.

It is no mistake then, that in 4:25-27 he commands us to walk straight and in 3:6, he promises that when we

1. Trust in Him, not our own understanding, and
2. Acknowledge Him in all our ways, then

He will make our paths straight!

When we do one, the other follows. He is the AGENT (the do-er) of making our paths straight, not ourselves. But to see that requires humility that says "God, I can't do this, but you can. I need your help and your strength cause I don't have it all figured out." And for the wanna-be know-it-alls (like me, sometimes), it's humility that says, "Oh yeah-- you saved me! I serve you, not myself!" The second thing it requires is the discipline to live a righteous life, described in chapter 4. But if you're trusting in God and keeping Him close to your heart, this should follow as a natural response.

And further, the harvest we reap when we sow a life of trusting in the Lord and not ourselves, is a life of healing and refreshment. When we come into His presence and come aligned with His authority, acknowledging Him to be in control, we have entered into the holy fear of the Lord. And we experience the fullness of His restoring process that touches, heals, and refreshes us to do His work.
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