August 16 / Proverbs 16 / Luke 3


Proverbs 16:1

People may make plans in their minds, but only YHWH can make them come true.

Dependence is not the excuse for laziness but the spring of active energy.  -Charles Bridges

Proverbs 16:16-17

How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.The highway of the upright turns aside from evil; whoever guards his way preserves his life.

Whoever guards his way preserves his life.

To guard our way…to preserve our lives…right now…where we always are and where we always inhabit, get understanding. This is wisdom. This is true riches and wealth (gold).

Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit, but as people who were all to obviously merely human, little babies in the Messiah. I fed you with milk, not solid food, because you weren’t ready to take it–and you still can’t, even now! You’re still determined to live in the old way! Yes, wherever there is jealousy and quarreling, doesn’t that mean you’re living in the old way, behaving as any merely human being might do? 

-1 Corinthians 3:1-3

The obsession with erotica in book, film, play, and entertainment signals entrapment in the sensation center. The carnal man is blatantly in the flesh and lives and walks according to the flesh. Yet many committed Christians who decry the rampant pornography of our sensate culture still dabble discreetly in the fleshpots and paralyze the power of the Spirit in their lives! An ambivalent “prudence of the flesh” seeks a sort of gilded mediocrity where the self is carefully distributed between flesh and spirit with a watchful eye on both. Paul calls these “men of imperfect spiritual vision.” They have received the Spirit, but they remain spiritual men in embryo because they do not subject themselves fully to the domination of the Spirit; they yield to sexual passion and other drives, thus confining themselves to an infantile spirituality.

Gentle Revolutionaries  Brennan Manning, John Blase

As Russ Hudson began working with Don in the late 1980’s, they began to realize that the means of moving people up the levels of Development was the depth and quality of Presence that could be awakened in the person. Concomitantly, the lack of Presence, the lack of awareness of what one was doing and feeling in the here and now, was the primary way by which one became trapped in increasing identification with the images and defenses of the ego structures. It also followed that using the Levels to alert people to behavior that indicated that they were losing Presence could function as an “alarm clock” to call them back to the present moment, and thus, move them up the Levels.

From The Enneagram Institute’s Levels of Development

Luke 3:2-3

John received the word of God and went throughout the region of the Jordan announcing a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

This repentance John called for was a reorientation of thinking, (and therefore lifestyle and deeds) and it paved the way for the forgiveness to be brought on by the Messiah. It was a prerequisite for salvation.

Jesus would then undergo a baptism not because He needed to repent, but rather to repent for us. It takes a perfect awareness of our sinful condition (conviction) as well as a perfect telling of this truth to YHWH (confession) for salvation. Jesus, being outside of sin, therefore making Him the only human able to see the sinful human condition perfectly, underwent perfect conviction and perfectly confessed for us.

This is deeply mysterious, but should cause us to realize how hopeless we are without Jesus’ paving of the way for us to have right standing relationship with YHWH. There is nothing we can possibly do about our condition. We can only yield. We can only surrender and be thankful. We can only be immersed into Trinitarian fellowship. Like the tax collector who did not compare himself to others, we throw ourself on God’s mercy.

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