October 31, 2017
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 31 October 2017
Would you consider yourself “smart”? Considering your response, what is your evidence? Is your answer based upon an IQ test or your mental acuity? The essence of intelligence is how well you adapt to your environment. The Bible teaches relational intelligence, which is generally not based upon a person’s alleged smartness; rather, it concerns how you interact with other people in creating positive relationships, and then both developing and nurturing them.
The Bible has much to say concerning relationships. From the Lord’s declaration in Genesis 2:18 (“‘It is not good for the man to be alone”) to Jesus’ summary of the Law in Matthew 22:37-39 (“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind . . . [and] love your neighbor as yourself’”), and his prayer for all who believe in Him in John 17:21 (“”that they may all be one”), the Bible is inundated with relational instruction. The God of the Holy Bible is intensely relational; therefore, the Lord’s desire is for his children to emulate his commitment to relationships.
Ephesians 5:1-2 reads, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” True wisdom “from above” (Jas 3:17) begins with a consecrated life and is characterized by the ability to interact with other people in a positive manner. God’s wisdom is gentle and reasonable, abounding with blessings and mercy, as opposed to being fickle, hypocritical, and undependable. You can develop a healthy and vigorous community that lives in genuine relationship with God, and that enjoys those results only if you purpose to do the difficult work of having a harmonious relationship by considering others with dignity and honor.
James 3:17 equates true wisdom with human relationships, and describes wisdom that is “from above.” Being effective in life responsibilities necessitates working in a healthy manner with others, which is based upon developing and nurturing productive relationships. There is no place in life for a one-person team!
How does one develop and sustain healthy relationships? “Gentleness” is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22); therefore, a person who is not gentle is not being filled with the Spirit or being led by God. James 3:17 emphasizes “the wisdom from above is first pure, then reasonable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.” Jesus commended gentleness in the Beatitudes (Matt 5:3-12), and was called “gentle” in Matthew 21:5. Gentleness is being Christlike, which is why the psalmist could say, “You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, and your right hand upholds me; and your gentleness makes me great” (18:35).
Developing and sustaining healthy relationships necessitates gentleness. Jesus said, “‘Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt 11:29). There is authority in a life of gentleness. Jesus veiled his glory (which He enjoyed with the Father prior to the foundation of the world; John 17:5) and “gentled” Himself by “taking the form of a bond-servant” (Phil 2:7), and “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (v. 8). The same Lord wants to work in the lives of his people to make them “gentle” as He is. Gentleness is power under control. Do you want to be great? God defines greatness as the result of his work in making us gentle, which is by having the Word of God and the indwelling Holy Spirit control us.
REMINDER: the Capitol Commission (interim) Bible Studyis next Tuesday, 7th of NovemberRoom 123 CAP, Georgia Capitol, @ 12 Noon