Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Kind Providence

For over a year now, it’s been the distinct privilege of the Young Adult Dept. at FPC to lead a weekly Bible study at the Mississippi College School of Law. We meet during the lunch hour every Monday for a time of teaching and discussion from a passage of Scripture. The title of the series for this semester is “Heavenly Wisdom for Earthly Good: A Study of the Book of James.”

Yesterday we focused our attention on James 1:19-21 and 3:1-12. This is the section in James where the dangers of the tongue are addressed frankly, and where we receive this very convicting command: “…be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” Discussion regarding the sins of the tongue make almost any group of Christians squirm, but you can imagine how affecting these words were for a room full of soon-to-be lawyers! (Almost as affecting as a room full of soon-to-be ministers!)

Well, in God’s kind providence it pleased him to re-emphasize this truth to me today. When I opened J.I. Packer’s Knowing and Doing the Will of God to read the devotional for February 12, the reading came from James 1:21—the exact passage I taught the day before. Here’s what it says, “Humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” Though I knew what James intended in his instruction, I found my soul needing to hear this admonition afresh this morning. Humility prepares the soil of the heart to receive the seed of the gospel. It's not my words or your words that save; it's God's Word.

Here’s what Packer had to say: “God plants the word in our hearts just as we plant bulbs and seeds in our flower pots. The word takes root in our hearts and changes us in ways of which we are not at first conscious; in due course, however, we become aware that we are different from the way we were. Once I didn't see Jesus in his glory, now I do. Once I didn’t love my heavenly Father, and now I do. Once I didn’t find worship a joy, and now I do. Once I didn’t desire to please God more than I desire anything else in the world; once I didn’t desire God’s fellowship at all—but that has changed. What has happened? The Word has been planted and taken root, and through the Holy Spirit it has become the means of life to my—and your—heart.” (p.53)

1 comment:

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