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Bible Pathways - July 24, 2007


Read Proverbs 16 - 19

In Today's Scripture Reading:

The values of pleasing the Lord and choosing wisdom

No one is naturally humble. Our human nature is permeated with pride passed down from Adam; only the indwelling Christ can develop true humility in our lives. This will manifest itself in kindness toward the unkind, long-suffering toward those who annoy us, and love toward our enemies. How inconsistent it is to think we have humbly given ourselves to Christ if we snub or react harshly to anyone.

The Lord leads us to see the end result of pride and false humility: Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud (Proverbs 16:18-19).

It is natural to think of ourselves as humble, at least more humble than others. But humility, or a lack of it, is apparent by our attitude when we are with someone who irritates us. If our replies are expressed in an unkind way, either outwardly in our words or actions or inwardly in our thoughts, then our "humility" is not real; it is merely a pious mask. Knowing the destructive power of pride, let us look upon people who seem difficult to love as those chosen by God to provide us with the opportunity to rid ourselves of self-righteousness and to express Christlike humility and the love of God.

Humble people will feel no jealousy or envy when they are ignored while others are praised. God reminds us: Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory (pride, empty conceit); but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves (Philippians 2:3).

The Christlike nature of a Christian moves him to not respond with a sharp, unfriendly attitude when differences of opinion exist. Personal views often create ill will. We are admonished: Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits (opinions) (Romans 12:16).

To be Christlike is to see others through the eyes of Jesus and to give equal consideration to all people, regardless of their race, position, abilities, or wealth, for God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34).

Christ Revealed:

As the One who punishes the proud (Proverbs 16:5). Jesus said: Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased (humbled); and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted (Luke 14:11). As the Friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). Jesus is our Friend (John 15:14-15) and will never leave (us), nor forsake (us) (Hebrews 13:5).

Word Studies:

16:2 spirits => motives; 16:8 without right => dishonestly gained; 17:18 striketh hands . . . surety => gives a pledge to be responsible for his neighbor's debts; 18:2 discover itself => express itself; 18:3 with ignominy reproach => with dishonor and disgrace; 19:3 fretteth => is resentful; 19:7 they are wanting to him => they abandon him; 19:13 a continual dropping => an unending irritation.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Staff: Ken Sharp Government Officials: Gov. Charlie Crist (FL) and Sen. Claire McCaskill (MO) Country: Brazil (168 million) in South America Major languages: Portuguese and Spanish Religious freedom 67% Catholic; 21% Protestant; 4% Spiritist; .7% Buddhist; .7% Muslims; .15% Indigenous; 2.4% Other Prayer Suggestion: Remember that prayer changes things (James 5:16-18).

Optional Reading: Hebrews 1

Memory Verse for the Week: Galatians 2:16

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