Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Grace available for making Hard Decisions - Pt 1

Proverbs 2:6 For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Fatherly wisdom for those needing guidance
The Book of Proverbs was written by a father to leave Godly wisdom for his son.  Now this was no ordiinary father, and neither was the son a common boy.  Solomon, the King of Israel, was the primary author of this book (some of the chapters were written by other men writing under inspiration of the Holy Spirit), with his son, Rehoboam, being the primary recipient.  Sadly Rehoboam did not take heed to its words, and for that matter, Solomon by and large did not either. (1 Kings 11-12)

God's Grace is already available to every Christian to live out the Christian life, they just need to "step into it" and live it out
Nevertheless, from Proverbs we gain Divine Wisdom needed to live effective Godly lives as believers.  So often Christians pray and ask God for Grace and strength to make major and minor decisions in their lives.  In fact, I remember one time going to a pastor and asking him to pray that God would give me the grace too make what was then a major decision in my life.  That pastor wisely informed me that the grace was already there, and that all I needed to do was to "step into it". 

Today I want us to consider how such grace is available to us through this set of verses here in Proverbs 2.   

1. The Grace available to make Hard decisions - the Word of God. Proverbs 2:1-6
As Solomon wrote this book in the middle of his life, he knew as a King over God's people that God and God alone could provide what was needed to live effectively.  In Proverbs 2:1 he tells his son: "My son, if you will receive my words, and treasure my commands within you".  The grace available to every Christian is none other than God's Word.  Hebrews 4:12 tells us that it is the word of God that "discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart". 

2. The One who grants such grace also indwells every Christian - the Holy Spirit
As Christians, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit, who is ever ready to lead, to instruct and bear witness to us about our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, and our redemptive identity. (Romans 8:16; 1 Corinthians 2:13-16; 1 John 3:23-24)  Unlike King Solomon and the Old Testament saints, whose experience of the Holy Spirit was one of where He would come upon them or enter their lives on occassion, New Testament Christians enjoy the continual indwelling of the One who authored the scriptures - the Holy Spirit. (John 14:17)It is by the scriptures we hear God speak to us.  In fact, Solomon writes that very thought in Proverbs 2:6.  So the One who authors the scriptures indwells every Christian, making the grace for making hard decisions readily avaliable. 

3.  When you step into His available grace, you are functioning as an effective listener.  Proverbs 2:7-8
To "step into the grace" as we've spoken about simply means to act on what you have read or heard from the scriptures.  This grace speaks to the God-given ability to live the Christian life.  There is certainly grace necessary for salvation through faith in Christ. (Ephesians 2:8-9)  However the grace we're speaking of here is the power granted to live the post-conversion Christian life, since it is the power and person of Christ working forth in a progressive way by the power and indwelling person of the Holy Spirit - i.e sanctification. (Galatians 2:20; Philippians 2;:2-13)

Solomon describes an Old Testament picture of this in Proverbs 2:1-5 and Proverbs 2:7-8.  Proverbs 2:1-5 speaks about me "treasuring up the wisdom of God", followed by identifying the source of such wisdom in Proverbs 2:6, with the pledge from God to protect and guide in 2:7-8.  Note what we read in Proverbs 2:7-8 "He (God) stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, (8) Guarding the paths of justice, And He preserves the way of His godly ones."

4. God wants you to know as a Christian that it is His pleasure to grant the grace needed to make hard decisions
See, the grace is there, all you and I have to to is step into it.  Why?  Because it is the Father's pleasure to grant grace to his children, for he lavishly loves them. (1 John 3:1).  Asking for the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and understanding is quite appropriate, and should be done so in connection with study of God's Word. (Luke 11:13; Ephesians 1:16-18; 1 John 2:20,27)  To take God at His word and step into His readily available grace is another way of saying that I am an effective listener, willing to obey His will.  (James 1:23-25)

Thank the Lord for all He provides for us.  The Graceful foundation for making hard decisions has been explored.   Tomorrow we'll look more specifically at examples of how God's grace supplies believers with the decision making ability to make hard choices.