if and only if

Meditation Journey Day 17

Hi Friend,

If and only ifWe began our discussion of Proverbs 2:1-5 by focusing on the three “ifs” of the passage, now we approach the “then”. In my paraphrase of verse five I have added the words and only then” emphasizing that all of the three conditions need to be fulfilled to get maximum results. I know God can begin to reveal His grace to us at any point along the way. He is Sovereign and relates to each of us uniquely. Yet, He gives us all these conditions because we need them if we are to glorify the Father, bear much and demonstrate we are His disciples. John 15:8

Let’s review the whole passage again…..

My son, if you receive my words and hide/memorize/treasure up my commandments with you, turning/applying/tuning your inner ear to be attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry/call out for Wisdom/insight/knowledge and raise your voice for (the grace to do His will and get) understanding, if you seek it/her like silver/gold/rubies or precious jewels and search for it/her as for treasures hidden by unbelief, then (and only then) you will understand the fear/awe of the LORD and find the wisdom/knowledge of God.

My Child, if you receive … store/hide … incline/turn… apply … call out … cry aloud … seek/look for … search then (and only then) you will understand the fear/awe of the LORD and find the wisdom/knowledge of God.

2planting seedsMy vegetable garden teaches me much about my spiritual garden. I may have the best of seed and poor soil and get a very poor yield of vegetables. I may have good seed, good soil and if I do not water sufficiently it will also yield poorly. I may have great seed, good soil, enough water but too little sunlight and you guessed it… I should expect a poor yield of edible fruit. Or I could plant good seed in good soil in a sunny area and water properly and then enjoy abundance of fruit!

There are conditions to produce abundant growth in the natural world and in the spiritual world there are conditions too. Proverbs 2:1-5 tells us the process that releases our hearts to love Father God and follow His commands. It is love of Him that motivates us to want to honor Him.

Keep in mind, I could memorize many verses yet not with brokenness humility toward God and gain only knowledge. Or I could fulfill all my religious duties and never open my heart to the emotional empathy needed to touch another life.

The Apostle Paul said it this way:  “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13)

The question is what kind of fruitfulness we want in our lives.

Paul wrote in Galatians six,Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

VineiStock_000014052286XSmall2Our spiritual growth depends on how we garden our soul. We must nurture our soul as God instructs, not as we fancy. Spiritual fruitfulness comes then and only then as we abide in Christ. Jesus said it clearly in John 15, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing… (but) If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”

Observation: Father God gave us instructions for spiritual growth. Proverbs 2:1-5 contains three conditions which when humbly done will result in a transforming relationship with God.

Interpretation: The conditions of spiritual growth are like the conditions for natural growth in that when they are humbly followed abundant fruit will come.

Application Prayer: Father grant us patience to plant in us Your word as you instructed, to tend our souls as Your Spirit has guided, and to abide in the Vine as Jesus has insisted. We want to glorify You, bearing much fruit to demonstrate that we are following Jesus!  In Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

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I hope you will pray for me and all the others that are on this journey. You may also want to send me comments, suggestions or questions. I promise I will respond to each inquiry.

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