Monday, April 11, 2011

The Proverbs 31 Journey: Spirit Living Health

Meditation/Memory verse: “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” Romans 8:5 (NIV)

So, how did last week go? Did you pay closer attention to your life style-what you ate, what your did (or didn't do), what you thought? Were you brave enough to record it? Most importantly, did you take note of those things that honored God in your days? Doing that builds a woman's confidence instead of tearing one self down with our failures!

In the fear of the LORD [she] has strong confidence
and [her] children have a refuge. ~ Proverbs 14:26 (HCSD)

The Proverbs 31 Woman described by Solomon's recording of his mother depicts that she allowed the things of God to weigh more heavy in her day and in her life. She had to make it a practice to dwell on what honored Him above what she desired and it became a practice, a way of life for her. And that brings us back to the message behind Lysa Terkeurst book "Made to Crave" that I am referencing for this month (in red) as we look at the Proverbs 31 woman and her health not just in body, but also in her mind and spirit. Re-read our theme passage here to keep your mind afresh with this woman we are studying.

This week we are going to address the characteristic of self-control that one finds in "spirit living health". As you read through Proverbs 31: 10-31 do you not see a woman of her home, in her work, and in her reaching out to others?

"Becoming a woman of self-discipline honors God and helps me live the godly characteristics of self-control." (pp.60)

To be self-disciplined, you have to be intentional. Looking back over last week, where does this apply to your life? Do you find you need more self-control in your food choices? What about a little more self-control in your responses to others? Do you need to be more intentional with God?

"Growing closer to God has a whole lot less to do with any action we might take and a whole lot more to do with positioning our hearts towards His." (pp 59)

And this is where we find our power to overcome whatever it is in our lives that is over powering us, those nasty strongholds that keeps us from living the God-honoring life we were created to live. Look again at our memory verse above. This week we are going to concentrate on this chapter that surrounds that verse and allow the depth and promises within its written words to embed into our being. I am giving your assignment early here but this is what I encourage you to do now and to to do each morning before you start your Romans 8...slowly. Savor it, meditate on it. Draw strength from it. Pray it. Then ask God to allow his Holy Spirit to guide you in your day. Here are a variety of versions in which to read from for this week:

Romans 8 (Amplified)
Romans 8 (The Message)
Romans 8 (NKJV)
Romans 8 (NLT)
Romans 8 (HCSB)
Romans 8 (NASB)
Romans 8 (NIV)
Romans 8 (ASV)

Whether we are struggling with a stronghold of the body (weight, image, food or drink) or an issue or spiritual depths (unforgiveness, sin, bitterness) or an issue of the mind (depression, negative thoughts, poor self-esteem), God is our key to being set free of it. How?

A stronghold is a sin, a habit, a self-degrading thought that has such intense power that it controls us. It prevents us from being what God intended us to be. It can keep us living in a constant state of failure. The only way to overcome a stronghold is to release it to Christ by craving Him, more of Him! We are obligated to God, not to our body or our mind-those strongholds that weigh us down and keep us living by our sinful nature. Look at verses 12-14, here in the New Living Translation:

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

The wisdom and power we need to make good choices in life and to keep Gods word in our heart and mind comes from God. Freedom!! That's how we were created, to crave Him, not wealth, not food or wine, not a better job or life...just Him! If you are feeling empty, fill yourself with Him and His word. If you are craving a snack, have a scripture ready to help guide you as make a wise choice or choose to refrain from eating at all. If your mind tells you you cannot do something well enough or look good enough-throw it a scripture where God says differently. Intentionally give God the control of your body, mind, and spirit. Practicing this every day will become a habit and lead to the freedom He has waiting for you.

"Only by being filled with authentic soul food from Jesus-following Him and telling others about Him-will our souls ever be truly satisfied." (pp. 64)

What did Solomon define his mother by in the verses of Proverbs 31: 10-31? She was a woman of self-discipline. She was not defined by her dress size, her outward appearances or career choice. She was defined by her heart and her actions and an obedience that honored the One who created her. Like her, we too are defined by our obedience to God.

"...we grow closer to God as we learn to look and act more and more like Him. The Bible calls this participating in His divine nature. Not only do our actions need to reflect the self-control the Holy Spirit affords us, but our sense of identity needs to reflect His presence in our lives as well." (pp.72)

Let me say it again, the Proverbs 31 woman is defined by her obedience to God in every area of her life. She honors God with her body, soul, and mind. She acknowledges that she represents Him in her choices in the grocery store, her actions and reactions to others and her thought processes because of the grace she has received when His son walk to Calvary...

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. ~ 1 Cor. 6:19-20 (NLT)

She makes choices that please God and allows Him then to work more fully in and through her life. She intentionally strive to become holy...

We are carefully joined together in Him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Eph 2:21 (NLT)

She becomes, by means of the Holy Spirit, a living stone to God's eternal purpose..

And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. 1 Peter 2:5 (NLT)

And she mirrors the one she chooses to honor...

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. ~ 2 Cor. 2:14-15

In the end, her choices, her surrender, her obedience yields results. Maybe it is a thinner more fit body. Maybe it is a self-discipline wife and mother. Maybe the yielding is spiritual and the rewards eternal...

"...To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God." Rev 2:7b

Romans 8. Read it. Yield to it. Pray it and let it define you this week.

Self-control + the Holy Spirit = Self-discipline.

And remember...
This is what the Lord says—
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you what is good for you
and leads you along the paths you should follow".
~ Isaiah 48: 17 (NIV)

Believing Him~Pamela

PS-after writing this I just came across a new study being released on Romans 8 by Pam Gillaspie who is with Kay Arthur's Precept Ministries! It is from her Sweeter than Chocolate series and titled "Mindset-Learning and Living the Will of God". To buy the book go here. To learn more about the summer on-line study of the book go here. I will be in on this one!!

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