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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


Daily Boost

January 2, 2014 - The Power of Words

By George P. Wood

Proverbs 6:20-24 speaks about the power of words for good or bad. It contrasts the good words of parents with the bad words of adulterers. While our parents' words include "commands" and "teaching," adulterers' words are "smooth." The authentically moral person knows how to resist sexual seduction through "the corrections of discipline."

Verse 20 (NIV) begins with an exhortation to listen to your parents:

"My son, keep your father's commands and do not forsake your mother's teaching."

"Commands" and "teaching" are legal terms in the Bible. Our parents are our first instructors in the moral law of God. That is why, according to the Fifth Commandment, you are supposed to "honor your father and your mother." As we grow older, of course, we obey them less but listen to them more, needing guidance through the grey areas more than black-and-white rules. But whatever our age, our parents teach us how to live by word and by personal example.

Our parents' teaching works best when we internalize it. Verse 21 tells us:

"Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck."

The heart is the core of the human personality. According to Jesus, its character determines the character of our actions, for better or for worse (Luke 6:45). Obedience to God's commands (which our parents teach us) involves not just external doing but also internal desiring. We usually do what we want to do, which is why we should pay attention to the state of our heart, "the wellspring of life" (Proverbs 4:23).

What is the result of whole-hearted obedience? Verses 22 and 23 tell us:

"When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life."

In Romans 3:20, Paul teaches that "no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin." From this, many have concluded that the law serves no good purpose in the life of the Christian. But as verses 22 and 23 show, God's commandments are able to guide us on the spiritual journey of life. They cannot save us from sin, but they can show us the life God created us to live. A truly biblical theology of the law always contains both of those two truths.

The commands and teaching of God are words — good words. But there are bad words too, such as those of adulterers. One of the purposes of the law, according to verse 24 is "keeping you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of the wayward wife."

It is difficult to listen to God's words, let alone our parents' words, when an adulterer is whispering sweet nothings in our ears. That's why verse 23 speaks of "the corrections of discipline." The authentically moral person has learned whom to listen to, and whom to ignore.

— George Paul Wood is director of Ministerial Resourcing for the Assemblies of God and author of The Daily Word online devotionals.




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