Dear Hope Family,
Last Sunday I mentioned that little sign posted at the exit of Memphis Theological Seminary that offers an interesting prayer for the driver who is about to enter the busy thoroughfare of the city’s main traffic artery. It reads, “Lord, make the bad people good, and the good people nice.” The distinction seems to be that just “following” the Ten Commandments or aspiring to apply the Golden Rule cannot capture the heart of what it means to be bear God’s image and work decisively for His Kingdom on earth. “Good” people can be the worst to live with, work with, and relate to! Derek Kidner reflects upon this dynamic:
“There are details of character small enough to escape the mesh of the law and the broadsides of the prophets, and yet decisive in personal dealings. Proverbs moves in this realm, asking what a person is like to live with, or to employ; how he manages his affairs, his time and himself. This good lady, for instance – does she talk too much? That cheerful soul – is he bearable in the early morning? And this friend who is always dropping in – here is some advice for him . . . and for that rather aimless lad . . . But it is not a portrait-album or a book of manners: it offers a key to life.”
As Kidner asserts, Proverbs takes dead aim at the finer points of character and relationships, getting to the heart of what it means to pursue growth in grace and progressive sanctification as those welcomed into God’s most intimate family as beloved children through the person and work of Jesus. God earnestly desires that we embrace and embody not only the message of Jesus but also the manner of Jesus. C.S. Lewis was once described as a “thoroughly-converted man” – not that he had arrived spiritually or had discovered some shortcut to sanctification; rather, he was intent upon having the truth, power, and grace of the Gospel penetrate into every nook and cranny of his life and relationships, his thoughts and dealings.
I am excited that God is so committed to thoroughly-converting us that He has given us His Word and invites us into His house this week to be awed before the reality of who He is and know Him face-to-face!
Grace and peace,