The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225

  (609)646-1181

Church of Christ

07/14/2010

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Remembering The Ifs


"My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; Yes, and if you cry out for discernment, and lift your voice for understanding....Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God" (Prov. 2: 1-3, 6)

There are so many self-help books out on the market. They are advertised with the intention of improving our lives on some level. Many of them appeal to how our bodies look in relation to weight loss. Some try to give us short cuts to make a lot of money. If people wouldn't buy them, others wouldn't write them... The book of Proverbs is the ultimate self-help book. In the second chapter a father makes an appeal to his son, or maybe it's just from an older more experienced person to a younger one. The advice here is for the younger person to accept wise and proven principles for a successful life. The advisor suggests that this will please God and that he will prosper. Life is filled with ifs, isn't it. You know...To the student; "If you study and make good grades, you will get into a better college....If you do well in college, you will get a plum job and make a lot of money." In the verses 1-4 of this chapter we find some of those ifs. Ifs mean that certain conditions must be met to find this success. "If you will receive my words"... "if you cry out for discernment.......if you seek for hidden treasures." If the conditions are met, the hearer will understand the fear (knowledge) of the Lord.

It should not be surprising that this is also a New Testament teaching too. In the book of James we find this; "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask of God who gives generously to all without finding fault" (1:5) If we continue reading the next 2 verses, we get the conditions. We must believe and not doubt. We cannot be double minded and unstable. Matthew Henry points out that God will keep the way of the saints by giving them the discretion to make the right decisions to stay out of harm's way. He says that the successful seeker will receive: (1) instruction, (2) satisfaction, (3) protection, (4) grace to persevere. By seeking the Lord and being willing to meet His conditions, we too can find the real success in life that people continue to pursue. We just can't forget the ifs.....

Have a wonderful day..... Make a difference.... Love mark Phil. 4:11

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