Over the last few weeks, we have sought to cultivate God-centered hope, faith and joy by pondering wisdom from the Book of Proverbs. We have followed fictitious characters who have role-modeled various options open to us as believers, both on this blog and on the Gospel Spice Podcast. Today, we will conclude our series by highlighting key takeaways from each one.
Samantha has shown us what foolishness is, so that we could know what wisdom from above means. We have seen that embracing Wisdom will bring us knowledge and discernment. We have learned how wisdom undergirds our God-breathed process towards deeper hope, faith and joy.
Brian has exemplified the danger of refusing to let God be God. We called this “spiritual adultery,” and discovered guilt that leads to repentance and restoration. We have chosen to embrace integrity and truth in order to enjoy a clear conscience. Brian has shown us that our quest is rooted in our identity.
Jessica lived a life rooted in fear and anxiety. She is learning to replace them with faith and trust. With her, we have chosen to embrace faith, as it will lead to peace and serenity. She would tell us that God’s love for us is where our heart finds its rest.
Lauren’s life moved from self-pride to genuine humility. With her, we have embraced a Christ-centered humility that leads to God-honoring gratitude. With Lauren and Jessica, we have pondered this truth: fear stems from a delated view of God; pride stems from an inflated view of self.
Eve chose to move away from her self-centered lifestyle, and towards selfless love. She has discovered that true God-grounded love leads to compassion. With her, we have identified the God-given challenge of the Christian life: to nurture our craving for the One who will never disappoint.
John’s life was deeply rooted in self-destructive greed. Idolatry happens when we love something—anything—more than God. We are all guilty. We all rob ourselves of joy when we choose greed. Because greed robs us of joy, we choose generosity and a purpose rooted in hope, faith and joy.
Finally, Lizzie indulged in a lifestyle of selfish numbing and comfortable little pleasures. She created for herself a bubble that isolated her from the real-world God had been inviting her to take her place in. We pondered the importance of self-control as the means to the life of freedom that God has for us. Hope, faith and joy are the expression of this God-given, God-glorifying freedom.
Through all of them, we have seen that, when we become serious about our intimacy with God, distractions, dangers and hindrances will come knocking. Our life is a spiritual battleground. Our hearts will either side with God, or with the enemy of our soul. Hope, faith and joy lie in the balance. They are the means to the great Reward of life itself: intimacy with God.
Worship is the secret of a vibrant relationship with God. Worship is valuing Him as ultimate in all things. First, it means that hope, faith and joy will not grow in the soil of your life without cultivating a heart of gratitude. Also, it means that there cannot be true worship without complete surrender to God’s sovereignty. That is spiritual wisdom. Surrender is not adopting a martyr’s pose in submission; it is the glad agreement that God is right. Such faith is cheerful, joyful, and approving. Worship is embracing the truth that God is wise, and that we grow in hope, faith and joy under the shadow of His wings, His wisdom, His guidance.
Make sure to listen to Episode 91 of the Gospel Spice Podcast as we conclude our series to embrace hope, faith and joy through the Book of Proverbs.