Proverbs 21:4…”Haughty eyes and a proud heart – the lamp of the wicked – produce sin.” We have very high views of ourselves. A great example is the high standard we have for the way we want to be treated, which we don’t typically follow in the way we treat others. Even depression is a form of pride because we don’t like that our lives haven’t gone the way we wanted them to go. Interestingly, despite the ease of life and abundant wealth in the US, Americans are some of the most depressed people in the world (In fact, if you’re a woman living in the United States, you’re six times more likely to be depressed than a man living in China according to a recent study by Bromet et al, 2011). We need to put away the secular language of “improving self-esteem” and realize that ours is too high, and is the foundation of our discontent. Our hearts desire self-glorification in place of God, which means that we try to sit on His throne and rule in areas where submission to Him and trust in Him are needed. This is what guides the unbeliever (i.e. the lamp of the wicked), and produces sin. For the believer, we need to see our own high view of ourselves, repent from pride, and pursue a humble submission to the Lord in all we think, say, and do.
Proverbs 21:2…”Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.” Our unbelief results in our motives being selfish in all we do. Our pride, born out of unbelief, justifies all we do. When we don’t pursue the Lord through lively and habitual faith, we sin and are quick to justify our ways. In fact, prideful unbelief is the most egregious sin, and has also been the most frequent of mankind since Adam, driving all other forms of disobedience. However, the Lord knows our motives. He evaluates our desires, and sees clearly our sinful motives even in religious activities. We need to take spiritual inventory daily, and test ourselves to be sure we’re desiring His glory in all we do. This will cause us to run to the cross in repentance increasingly as we see our desperate need for Jesus.
Psalm 139:5…”You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.” As though we were caught in an ambush, or threatened by an army which has us completely boxed in, we are surrounded by the Lord. God has set us where we are and protects our every move. Behind us there is God recording our sins, or in grace (through repentance and faith in Christ) blotting out the remembrance of them. Before us there is God foreknowing all our deeds, and providing for all our wants. We cannot turn back and escape him, for he is behind, and we cannot go forward and outmarch him, for he is before. This should bring the believer great comfort, but is terrifying to those outside of Christ. He is perfectly holy and perfectly just, and we all desperately need the blood of His perfect Son to be sprinkled on us in order to avoid His perfect wrath. He knows and hates our sins, but has in Christ graciously provided a rescue plan from His own wrath.
Psalm 139:4…”Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.” The words we use matter, because God knows all of them. In fact, he knows what we’ll say before we speak. This verse is an amazing reflection on God’s sovereignty. We cannot fathom this kind of omniscience, so we need to not doubt this attribute of God, even if we don’t fully understand. Admitting that there is knowledge and truth outside of our own limited minds is an important step in believing the authority of scripture. Much doubt comes from our pride in thinking that something can only be true if we fully comprehend it. Absolute truth exists regardless of our opinions. When we doubt the authority of scripture, we misunderstand what God is like, which limits our spiritual growth.
Psalm 139:1…”You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.” God has perfect knowledge of us, and is aware of all our thoughts and actions before they even occur. It is more profitable to meditate on Divine truths, applying them to our own lives, and with hearts lifted to God in prayer, than with a curious or disputing frame of mind. God knows all things being omniscient, and is everywhere, being omnipresent. These are truths acknowledged by many believers, yet they are seldom applied to our lives practically. How much more content would we be if we habitually believed God was this big? His knowledge is infinite, and He knows us better than we know ourselves.
Colossians 4:17…”See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.” Christians are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). So, the people in your life, especially your fellow church members, have been placed with you by the Lord for their spiritual good, your spiritual good, and ultimately God’s glory. The New Testament does not have any instructions for the Lone Ranger Christian, because living as a believer always includes deep commitment to others in our church. There are 54 “one anothers” in the New Testament that teach us how to treat each other, meaning those in our church. Below is a listing of verse references to the Greek word ALLELOUS, translated as “one another or each other”
Mk. 9:50 “….Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
Jn. 13:14 “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”
Jn. 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Jn. 15:12 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
Jn. 15:17 “This is my command: Love each other.”
Rom. 12:10 Be devoted to one another with mutual affection. Honor one another above yourselves.
Rom. 12:16 Live in harmony with one another.
Rom. 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.
Rom. 14:13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another….
Rom. 15:7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Rom. 16:16 Greet one another with a holy kiss….
1 Cor. 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
1 Cor. 11:33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, wait for each other.
1 Cor. 12:24-25 ….But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
1 Cor. 16:20 ….Greet one another with a holy kiss.
2 Cor. 13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.
Gal. 5:13 ….But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
Gal. 5:26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Gal. 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.<>
Eph. 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Eph.4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Eph. 5:19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs….
Eph. 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Col. 3:9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices
Col. 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another….
Col. 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
1 Thes. 4:9 Now about your mutual love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.
1 Thes. 4:18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.
1 Thes. 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thes. 5:13 ….Live in peace with each other.
1 Thes. 5:15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
Heb. 3:13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
Heb. 10:24-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Heb. 13:1 Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters.
Jam. 4:11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another….
Jam. 5:9 Don’t grumble against each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged….
Jam. 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed….
1 Jn. 3:11 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
1 Jn. 3:23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.
1Jn. 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God….
1 Jn. 4:11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
2 Jn. 1:5 ….I ask that we love one another.
1 Pet. 1:22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere mutual affection, love one another deeply, from the heart.
1 Pet. 3:8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.
1 Pet. 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1 Pet. 4:9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
1 Pet. 5:5 ….All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
1 Pet. 5:14 Greet one another with a kiss of love….
Colossians 4:6…”Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Christians should be the most engaging people on the planet. Paul’s instruction on Christian speech to the outside world in this passage is one of many texts that allows us to draw this conclusion. The Greek words that are behind “speech,” “gracious,” and “salt” (logos, charis, and halas, respectively) are used together in first-century literature to refer to speech that is gracious and attractive — winsome, even witty words that are also spoken in a humble manner. In other words, the apostle wants the presentation of the gospel to the outside world done in a manner that captures the gospel’s excitement and that is able to answer the unbeliever’s legitimate questions. The idea is similar to that found in 1 Peter 3:15, which commends gentle speech that respectfully presents and defends the gospel of Jesus Christ:
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
Colossians 4:4…”Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” ‘It’ being the mystery of Christ, which is the gospel. This was a secret, which was hid in God from everlasting, and, during the Old Testament, was wrapped up in types, and shadows, and sacrifices, and is still hidden from the unbeliever. Only God, by his Spirit, makes it manifest in a spiritual and saving way. So we need to proclaim the gospel clearly, and pray that others in our church, especially pastors/elders would do the same. The gospel should be clear in evangelism, and from the pulpit in preaching, and in our church services. Evangelism without the gospel is not biblical evangelism. Sermons without the gospel are not biblical sermons. Churches which are not gospel-centered are not biblical churches.
Colossians 4:2…”Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” This verse contains an admonition to diligent, thankful prayer, which at first glance seems to be an instruction on how we are to be as Christians in relation to God. Indeed, it is true that one of the marks of the believer is the resolve to pray at all times (Eph. 6:18), that is, in all circumstances; nevertheless, John Chrysostom notes how even the call to pray operates in relation to those who are not a part of the Lord’s people: “The devil knows, yes he knows, how great a good prayer is” (ACCNT 9, p. 54). We must be diligent in prayer because it is one of the most powerful weapons we have for tearing down the Enemy’s strongholds. How much stronger would the church be when facing its adversaries if it prayed according to the will of God, asking the Lord to show forth His power and grace on the behalf of His people (James 4:2b–3)?
Colossians 3:17…”And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” As Christians, we really have no basis for complaining. We have been given far more than we deserve. In fact, if we got what we deserved, we would be under God’s eternal judgement right now. So, having this biblical perspective, we should be thankful for God’s abundant mercy in Jesus, and know that we don’t need anything else. He is sufficient, and is all we need to be satisfied. Our words and deeds should reflect grateful hearts, and we need to repent from dissatisfaction (i.e. prideful unbelief and selfishness). If we’re honest, we’re really just upset with God when we’re dissatisfied with our circumstances. This is an intellectually inconsistent position for the Christian, who is instructed to believe in a sovereign God who directs our circumstances:
Isaiah 48:17, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”