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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of December 10, 2018

Inner purity results in outer power.

In Psalm 24:3, David ponders, "Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?" Then, he answers: "He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior" (Psalm 24:4-5).

Here, David tells us that in order to stand before the Lord, you must have "clean hands and a pure heart." Such inner purity results in a "blessing from the Lord and vindication from God." What an excellent reward for keeping a pure heart!

Intuitively, to have God's power flowing through you requires a clear "path" through which it can flow. In other words, if you want God's power to be working in your life, you must keep a clean conscience and a pure heart. It's no surprise, then, that Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God" (Matthew 5:8).

Having outer, visible power requires having a developed, mature inner life. A believer who tries to have a powerful outer life but lacks that pure inner life is like a tree with lots of branches that lacks roots. When the storm comes and the winds blow, the tree topples, because it has no roots. Likewise, you must develop solid "roots" in your inner life, if you ever want to bear strong, stable fruit in your outer life.

Similarly, in Colossians 2:6-7, Paul instructed the early Christians to be "rooted and built up in [Christ], strengthened in the faith as you were taught." We too, need to be rooted and grounded in God.

King David also knew the importance of inner purity. After he had ordered the murder of Uriah and committed adultery with Bathsheba (see 2 Samuel 11), he obviously lacked inner purity. However, in Psalm 51:10, David asked God to cleanse him: "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." His desire for inner purity was necessary before he could "receive blessing from the Lord."

Since inner purity results in outer power, I challenge you to take David's prayer and make it your own.

Does the fear of God or the fear of man rule your life?

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe (Proverbs 29:25).

A person who is ruled by the fear of man is one whose decisions are dictated by what other people think. Such a person is a people-pleaser. One ruled by the fear of man will repeatedly base decisions on questions like "How does this make me look?", "Do you think they'll like it?", or "What if they don't approve?". It is certainly not wrong to ask for input from other people (indeed, it's wise to seek feedback from others); however, it is wrong—not just wrong, but foolish—for your decisions to be guided more by feedback from others than by feedback from God.

To fear God means to take him at his word, knowing that he will follow through on all his promises. A person who fears the Lord is one whose decisions are guided by God.

There are more than a dozen verses in the Bible that make very clear the advantage of being one whose life is guided by the fear of the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord (Psalm 112:1). Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life (Proverbs 22:4). The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10). He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life (Proverbs 14:26-27).

It's no wonder Proverbs 31:30 gives us this nugget of wisdom: Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

If you want the fear of God to guide your life, then base your actions on questions like "What does God think about this?", "Would God approve of this?", or "Would I do this if Jesus were right here watching me?".

If you want your life to be blessed, let it be ruled by the fear of God.

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