August 13, 2019
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 13 August 2019
The book of Ecclesiastes begins with the superlative, “Vanity of vanities!” The exclamation succinctly expresses the vanity of life without God, yet the expression of meaninglessness is applicable to a variety of activities done without consideration for God (not to the good world that God has created). Creation itself is good because it is the handiwork of a good Creator, thus the only way in which created things are called vanity is in comparison to what is not best.
Ecclesiastes is calling upon believers to pursue godly values in an ungodly world because anything not of God is “vanity of vanities.” Wisdom is needed to live a life strengthened by the grace of God, and so that the Lord’s Word is heeded in the manner He prescribed. The believer’s responsibility is apparent for Ecclesiastes 1:18 declares, “Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.” The Christian who is striving for absolute surrender to the purpose and will of God will become quite familiar with pain. Although denying self, and taking up the cross daily to follow Jesus reaps heavenly rewards (Matt 16:24-26), the process can be painful because one must live counter-culturally.
Followers of Jesus must overcome difficult cultural issues because Christianity is not merely standing against something, but also learning how to live for something. Thankfully, the Bible equips Christians with “everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Pet 1:3) so that godly wisdom can be applied to ungodly dilemmas. The biblical imperatives are always sufficient to know, and are entirely applicable to the challenge of living godly in an ungodly age.
Two paths are possible in life: the narrow “that leads to life” and the “broad that leads to destruction” (Matt 7:13-14). Many follow the broad path, which is the normal human tendency toward dependence on self-righteousness. The broad path cultivates discontent and frustration, and those who heed its incessant babel find emptiness and stress, as opposed to experiencing completeness and connectedness. The narrow path is the way of personal faith in Jesus Christ. While the voices on this path may be quieter and softer than the boisterous and relentless cacophony of the broad path, it is reliable and resolute. Through the inspired Word of God, the Holy Spirit provides strength in truth. He sanctifies in “the truth” for the Bible “is truth” (John 17:17).
Never restrict yourself to earthly thoughts and voices. Depending upon human ingenuity and wisdom is like building upon an unstable foundation that will eventually result in tremendous loss (cf. 1 Cor 3:10-15). The instruction for those who are members of the body of Christ is to rely solely upon the wisdom of God as revealed in Scripture. Indeed, the Apostle Paul asserted that his reliance was upon the Holy Spirit, not “superiority of speech or of wisdom” (2:1-2).
God’s people will truly impact society for the better as they give priority to their own spiritual maturity, which means living in a manner that honors God’s commands and glorifies his name. When we see ourselves as weak, it is then that we can demonstrate the power and wisdom of God (2:3-4). The spiritual (mature) person is controlled by the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom 8:6-8), and thus enjoys the special privilege of being able to appraise all things, which means he/she can examine all things carefully and distinguish what is important. Someone who has “the mind of Christ” is able to make the right decisions concerning life. The wisdom needed today for life decisions is available through God’s revelation (the Bible). Anything else is vanity!
Your Missionary to Our Leaders,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.