Today’s reading: Luke 1:1-2:52
Probably because it is the beginning of a new year, the verse that struck me the hardest in this reading was the last.
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).
First of all, I must admit that I struggle with how Jesus, God in the flesh, grew in wisdom. Yet, I have to admit it says He did. If Jesus grew in wisdom and these other attributes I should work on that as well.
According to Proverbs, wisdom is crying out to me. Sadly, I’m all too often a fool. Too often, I want to do what comes naturally to me. Instead, I must grow in wisdom by growing in my understanding of God’s word. Certainly, I might increase in human wisdom this year. I may learn from the classics and devour self-help books. However, the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7). If I’m to grow as Jesus did in wisdom, I must get into God’s book. That’s why what we are doing here at giveattentiontoreading.com is so important.
First, I recognize that Jesus growing in stature here was natural because He was a child growing into a man. Certainly, I’m an adult. I’m not getting any taller and I don’t need to get any bigger (though I have been lately). What I get out of this for me presently is that while I work on my spirit, growing in wisdom, I must not forget to keep my body under control as well. It will do me well in 2009 if I work a little harder on my stature. No, I don’t have to be Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, I can’t very well stick around and serve God’s people or glorify Him on earth if I eat my way into the grave this year.
3. In favor with God
According to Ephesians 5:10, I need to “try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord” (ESV). My life is not to be about what is pleasing to me. Jesus said He always did what pleased the Father (John 8:29). Sadly, I can’t say the same. This year, I need to work on pleasing God. Not that I’m trying to earn my way into heaven by so doing. Rather, because I love God. Because God has done so much to please me in sending His Son. Therefore, I want to love Him. I want to put His desires first and grow in favor with Him.
4. In favor with man
Granted, I don’t want to put favor with man before favor with God. As the apostles pointed out in Acts 5:29, I must serve God rather than man. At the same time, I can live in favor with man. According to Acts 2:47, the first Christians had favor with the people. Yes, I know at some point all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. This is not a favor with man at all costs. However, when I’m living the godly life, I’m actually going to be one of the most likable fellows. I’ll be a peacemaker. I’ll be a servant. I’ll put others first. And so on. What’s not to like? Being a Christian doesn’t mean going out of my way to be a sour and bring sour grapes into the lives of others. I can be a Christian and have favor with man. I need to learn to serve my fellow man and put others before myself (cf. Philippians 2:3-4). Yes, I’ll repeat the caveat once again, if my fellow man will not be at peace with me, I can’t help that. I must still serve God. However, I don’t have to assume serving God means always being hated by everybody.
What a great four part plan for facing this new year. I now have four goals to work on.
Keep the faith and keep reading,
P.S. What did you get out of today’s reading?