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Wisdom's Blessing

We sat across a table over lunch, Paul’s uncle John and I, catching up on news; he telling me of his recent missionary journeys to the Philippines and Nepal and India. At almost 79, he shows no sign of letting up on a schedule that would exhaust many younger men. He has just crossed thousands of miles in India, on overnight trains; teaching groups of pastors hungry for encouragement and sound biblical knowledge.

“And you? What are you doing?” he asked, turning his attention to me.

I told him what I was writing and what I had been thinking through lately about having been “in” Christ when he died; I, testing my thoughts and understanding before an older, wiser disciple.

When we are wrestling through to truth, that is one of the tests; that and measuring what we think or someone tells us, against God’s Word. I often bounce things off Paul when I get excited about a principle or thought, and sometimes he suggests that maybe I should consider this, or that counterpoint or thought. It’s a place of safety.

Uncle John’s eyes brightened and he nodded with approval and agreement in response.

“Yes,” he said, “First we appropriate our identification with Christ’s finished work, and then we cultivate the life of the Spirit; nourishing it with good food.”

“Thank you,” I said, “You’ve just given me my next blog post! “ And he laughed.

Appropriate: 1. Take and use as one’s own.[1]
Cultivate: 2. Produce (crops) by tending them. 3. Spend time and care in developing and encouraging. [2]
This is “working out” our salvation; not “working for” by our own human effort, which can never succeed or else the law would have been enough.
2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

Galatians 5:16-18
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

[1] Oxford Dictionary
[2] Oxford Dictionary

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