Check out Proverbs 2. Now. Go ahead and read it. If Dan is preaching that could be perfect timing to crack open your Bible and tune him out for a minute. Then when you get home check it out again because there are some powerful ideas in there. Powerful wisdom for High School Graduates who are considering what the future holds for them, what priorities they want to hold onto, what decisions they should make, and what relationships they should invest in. Proverbs 2 outlines a lot of incredible wisdom and could be used as a daily reminder during your morning Bible study of what it looks like to live a wise life founded on and guided by God. A few of my favorite ideas:
I grew up with this as one of the sacred holidays right alongside my Mom’s birthday in order of importance. I never understood how it could be more important than Christmas but I’m beginning to understand.
We would wake up and go to church together, my brother and I would sit with our Mom, flanking her on either side, then when we got home we’d make an excuse to go out, buy flowers and a nice card and offer it to her as our way of honoring and appreciating her for what she did. It missed the mark by a vast amount but my Mom was always incredibly thankful. I grew up hearing we should honor our Mother. This is made very clear as we see it showing up as one of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:12. But what does it look like to honor your Mother? When I came across Proverbs 23:22-25 I understood just a little bit better. “May she who gave you birth be joyful”. Mother’s have an innate ability to be joyful in their children when they have no reason to be. But it’s the moments when I know I made my Mom proud with the choices I made that I remember and can proudly say, “I honored my Mother in that moment”. Honor your Mother today, show her she has a reason to be joyful!
I was reading Psalm 72 a few weeks ago and read it in a new way than I had before. This was David’s prayer for his son Solomon. Check it out, it’s a powerful prayer. David raises up Solomon as the future king over Israel that God will use to bring justice, righteousness, peace, and prosperity. The King God will use to unify the people of Israel, to establish relationships with vast nations and powerful kings. To establish Israel as the great and powerful nation of God; His chosen and blessed people. Solomon had an overwhelming and vast future full of expectation ahead of him and David saturated his rule in prayer.
This makes sense to me. Of course Solomon needed all the prayer he could get, he was destined for greatness. But I desire God to use my future children in the same way. And I have confidence He will. I don’t know what it will look like but I believe God will change the world through my direct descendants. And so I pray for them every night. I don’t know their names yet but I know their identity in Christ. This brings me to Ephesians 6:4. “Bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord”. Saturate your children in prayer, set the example of placing Christ at the center of your priorities. God is going to use them in INCREDIBLE ways!
This Sunday is Easter! The celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ to lead us into victory over death and eternal life with our Heavenly Father. It’s a wonderful and magnificent story! One that has been told millions of times and will be told countless more time into eternity. A story we can hold onto and find hope and peace from.
Look at Luke 24; when the women go to Jesus’ tomb in order to prepare his body with spices they find the tomb empty and the body is gone. Their immediate reaction is confusion and maybe even grief as they attempt to deal with the emotions raging inside over the last week. This feeling is compounded when angels show up and terrify the women. But the angles are surprised themselves: “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen!” They continue with the simple word “remember”. While Jesus was with His disciples He made it very clear what would need to happen. He prepared them for this. They should be joyful in expectation that what Jesus promised would happen came to pass. We have this same joy today! God has made us countless promises that He will fulfill. We may not understand our current situation but remember, “in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
I have heard a lot of reasons over the years to do good things and live a good life: it will benefit you in the long run, God commanded us to, good things come to those who do good, God blesses the righteous, you can’t go to heaven unless you follow God’s commands for your life… The list goes on and on and on. Most of them have good intentions and some of them have good theology. However, most of them lead to more guilt than freedom, some of them are nothing more than legalism or prosperity gospel, and just about all of them give you a quick burst to do good but then leave you exhausted, frustrated, and disenchanted with false expectations and dwindling motivation.
Ephesians 5:1-2 gives us a different reason. “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us”. As we understand the true nature of the Gospel: God loved us so much He sent His son to die for us so that we could be with Him for eternity (See John 3:16) this should be the only motivation we could EVER need! Motivation that sets us on a marathon race right alongside Jesus with the Holy Spirit guiding us the whole way and God visibly at the end running toward us. Why do good and live a good life? Because you’re loved. More than you’ll ever understand. Live out of that love. Love others out of that love.