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Day 256

Jesus Christ Lives in You

Wisdom Proverbs 22:17-27
New Testament 2 Corinthians 13:1-14
Old Testament Isaiah 30:19-32:20

Introduction

I brought in a boxing glove as a visual aid. I dangled the glove and showed how ineffective it was without a hand in it. Then I put my hand in the glove, made a fist and punched the air so that everyone could see the difference it made to the power of the glove.

I was speaking at a prison for teenagers in Oxford. I was a theological student at the time and was given the opportunity to speak in a chapel service.

The prison chaplain at the detention centre, who was helping with my training, pointed out that it was an inappropriate illustration for a prison, since it might suggest that Jesus and violence were closely associated! Apart from that, he agreed that it was a good analogy.

What I was trying to illustrate was the difference it makes when Jesus Christ comes to live in you by his Spirit. Without him we are weak (2 Corinthians 13:4), like the glove without the hand in it. But when Jesus Christ comes to live within you, you have God’s power in your life (vv.4–5).

If you ‘realise’ (v.5) this, it will transform the way you live your life.

Wisdom

Proverbs 22:17-27

Thirty Sayings of the Wise

Saying 1

17 Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise;
    apply your heart to what I teach,
18 for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart
    and have all of them ready on your lips.
19 So that your trust may be in the Lord,
    I teach you today, even you.
20 Have I not written thirty sayings for you,
    sayings of counsel and knowledge,
21 teaching you to be honest and to speak the truth,
    so that you bring back truthful reports
    to those you serve?

Saying 2

22 Do not exploit the poor because they are poor
    and do not crush the needy in court,
23 for the Lord will take up their case
    and will exact life for life.

Saying 3

24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person,
    do not associate with one easily angered,
25 or you may learn their ways
    and get yourself ensnared.

Saying 4

26 Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge
    or puts up security for debts;
27 if you lack the means to pay,
    your very bed will be snatched from under you.

Commentary

Fill your heart with God’s wisdom

How healthy is your heart? Have you filled it with God’s wisdom? Just as what you put in your mouth affects the health of your body, what you put in your heart really matters.

The writer urges you to keep the wisdom of God’s Word in your heart, to ‘treasure its sweetness deep within’ and to have it ready on your lips, so that your ‘foundation is trust in God…’ (vv.17–19a, MSG). As you learn the wisdom of Scripture (for example, by memorising Bible verses), your trust in the Lord is deepened (v.19).

He then lists thirty ‘principles – tested guidelines to live by’ (v.20, MSG). These are thirty ‘truths that work’ (v.21, MSG), the first few of which are in today’s passage:

  1. How you treat the poor and needy. Be kind. Don’t exploit them. Don’t crush them (vv.22–23).
  2. How to avoid becoming ensnared by anger and a bad temper: ‘Bad temper is contagious – don’t get infected’ (vv.24–25, MSG).
  3. Warning against gambling and practical advice on how to avoid getting into debt. Don’t put up security for other people’s debts (vv.26–27).

These sayings are wise principles that help you to live well. The heart of wisdom is more than good advice. It is about putting ‘your trust… in the LORD’ (v.19).

In the New Testament, we learn that Jesus is ‘the Wisdom’ of God (1 Corinthians 1:30). Because Jesus lives in you, you have the wisdom of God in your heart.

Prayer

Lord, thank you that you live in my heart by your Spirit. Thank you for the power of the Word of God. Help me to read it, learn it, meditate on it and have your words ready on my lips that my trust may be in you, the Lord Jesus Christ.

New Testament

2 Corinthians 13:1-14

Final Warnings

13This will be my third visit to you. “Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” 2 I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, 3 since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. 4 For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him in our dealing with you.

5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you —unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored. 10 This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority—the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.

Final Greetings

11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All God’s people here send their greetings.

14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Commentary

Realise that Christ Jesus is in you

Do you realise that Christ Jesus lives within you? The apostle Paul had no doubt that Jesus Christ was living in him. He realised that in the words he spoke to the Corinthians, ‘Christ is speaking through me’ (v.3).

Paul had the advantage of meeting the risen Jesus. He was able to write with great confidence, ‘for to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him to serve you’ (v.4).

Self-examination is important and is totally different from self-condemnation. He urged them to ‘examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it’ (v.5a, AMP). The purpose of self-examination is so that we can see what is wrong in our lives, admit it, turn from it and be set free by Jesus.

Paul urged the Corinthians to realise that just as Jesus Christ lived in him, so too ‘Jesus Christ is in you’ (v.5). Paul talks far more often about us being in Christ than Christ in us. Nevertheless, the passages in which he puts it the other way round are remarkable. In Colossians 1:27 Paul writes, ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’, and here too he writes about Christ being in you, and the difference it makes: ‘Do you not realise that Christ Jesus is in you…?’ (2 Corinthians 13:5).

This is what turns our weakness into strength (v.9). This is why he prayed for their perfection (v.9), and was able to urge them to ‘aim for perfection’ (v.11).

Of course, none of us will reach perfection in this life. Being a perfectionist is unhealthy. But we can all aim to live in a perfect relationship with God and with one another. He appealed to them, ‘be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you’ (v.11).

How is this possible? Paul ends with the words of ‘the grace’: ‘May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all’ (v.14).

The whole Trinity is involved. It is the ‘amazing grace’ (v.14a, MSG) of Jesus that enables you to be constantly forgiven and cleansed. It is ‘the extravagant love of God’ (the Father) (v.14b, MSG) filling your hearts that enables you to aim for perfect love. It is ‘the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit’ (v.14c, MSG) of Jesus living in you that enables imperfect people to grow into maturity and one day see him face to face. Only then will you reach perfection.

Prayer

Lord, thank you that you live within me. May your amazing grace flow out of everything I do. Fill me today with the knowledge of your extravagant love and the intimate friendship of your Holy Spirit.

Old Testament

Isaiah 30:19-32:20

19 People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” 22 Then you will desecrate your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you! ”

23 He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows. 24 The oxen and donkeys that work the soil will eat fodder and mash, spread out with fork and shovel. 25 In the day of great slaughter, when the towers fall, streams of water will flow on every high mountain and every lofty hill. 26 The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the Lord binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted.

27 See, the Name of the Lord comes from afar,
    with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke;
his lips are full of wrath,
    and his tongue is a consuming fire.
28 His breath is like a rushing torrent,
    rising up to the neck.
He shakes the nations in the sieve of destruction;
    he places in the jaws of the peoples
    a bit that leads them astray.
29 And you will sing
    as on the night you celebrate a holy festival;
your hearts will rejoice
    as when people playing pipes go up
to the mountain of the Lord,
    to the Rock of Israel.
30 The Lord will cause people to hear his majestic voice
    and will make them see his arm coming down
with raging anger and consuming fire,
    with cloudburst, thunderstorm and hail.
31 The voice of the Lord will shatter Assyria;
    with his rod he will strike them down.
32 Every stroke the Lord lays on them
    with his punishing club
will be to the music of timbrels and harps,
    as he fights them in battle with the blows of his arm.
33 Topheth has long been prepared;
    it has been made ready for the king.
Its fire pit has been made deep and wide,
    with an abundance of fire and wood;
the breath of the Lord,
    like a stream of burning sulfur,
    sets it ablaze.

Woe to Those Who Rely on Egypt

31Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
    who rely on horses,
who trust in the multitude of their chariots
    and in the great strength of their horsemen,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
    or seek help from the Lord.
2 Yet he too is wise and can bring disaster;
    he does not take back his words.
He will rise up against that wicked nation,
    against those who help evildoers.
3 But the Egyptians are mere mortals and not God;
    their horses are flesh and not spirit.
When the Lord stretches out his hand,
    those who help will stumble,
    those who are helped will fall;
    all will perish together.

4 This is what the Lord says to me:

“As a lion growls,
    a great lion over its prey—
and though a whole band of shepherds
    is called together against it,
it is not frightened by their shouts
    or disturbed by their clamor —
so the Lord Almighty will come down
    to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights.
5 Like birds hovering overhead,
    the Lord Almighty will shield Jerusalem;
he will shield it and deliver it,
    he will ‘pass over’ it and will rescue it.”

6 Return, you Israelites, to the One you have so greatly revolted against. 7 For in that day every one of you will reject the idols of silver and gold your sinful hands have made.

8 “Assyria will fall by no human sword;
    a sword, not of mortals, will devour them.
They will flee before the sword
    and their young men will be put to forced labor.
9 Their stronghold will fall because of terror;
    at the sight of the battle standard their commanders will panic, ”
declares the Lord,
    whose fire is in Zion,
    whose furnace is in Jerusalem.

The Kingdom of Righteousness

32See, a king will reign in righteousness
    and rulers will rule with justice.
2 Each one will be like a shelter from the wind
    and a refuge from the storm,
like streams of water in the desert
    and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.

3 Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed,
    and the ears of those who hear will listen.
4 The fearful heart will know and understand,
    and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear.
5 No longer will the fool be called noble
    nor the scoundrel be highly respected.
6 For fools speak folly,
    their hearts are bent on evil:
They practice ungodliness
    and spread error concerning the Lord;
the hungry they leave empty
    and from the thirsty they withhold water.
7 Scoundrels use wicked methods,
    they make up evil schemes
to destroy the poor with lies,
    even when the plea of the needy is just.
8 But the noble make noble plans,
    and by noble deeds they stand.

The Women of Jerusalem

9 You women who are so complacent,
    rise up and listen to me;
you daughters who feel secure,
    hear what I have to say!
10 In little more than a year
    you who feel secure will tremble;
the grape harvest will fail,
    and the harvest of fruit will not come.
11 Tremble, you complacent women;
    shudder, you daughters who feel secure!
Strip off your fine clothes
    and wrap yourselves in rags.
12 Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields,
    for the fruitful vines
13 and for the land of my people,
    a land overgrown with thorns and briers —
yes, mourn for all houses of merriment
    and for this city of revelry.
14 The fortress will be abandoned,
    the noisy city deserted;
citadel and watchtower will become a wasteland forever,
    the delight of donkeys, a pasture for flocks,
15 till the Spirit is poured on us from on high,
    and the desert becomes a fertile field,
    and the fertile field seems like a forest.
16 The Lord’s justice will dwell in the desert,
    his righteousness live in the fertile field.
17 The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;
    its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.
18 My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,
    in secure homes,
    in undisturbed places of rest.
19 Though hail flattens the forest
    and the city is leveled completely,
20 how blessed you will be,
    sowing your seed by every stream,
    and letting your cattle and donkeys range free.

Commentary

Know God’s love poured into your heart by the Holy Spirit

It is the result of Pentecost that the Spirit of Christ comes to live within you. God’s love for you is poured into your heart by the Holy Spirit of Jesus (Romans 5:5). It is his Spirit who gives you the realisation that you are a child of God and that Christ lives in you.

In this passage, Isaiah sees six pictures of God:

1. Teacher

The Lord is your teacher. He teaches you through ‘the bread of adversity and the water of affliction’ (Isaiah 30:20). It is often through the hard times in our lives that we learn the most. Jesus described himself as your ‘Lord’ and ‘Teacher’ (John 13:14).

2. Guide

‘Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’ (Isaiah 30:21). The Holy Spirit will lead and guide you along the narrow road that leads to life.

3. Healer

‘The Lord binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds’ (v.26). So often when people meet Jesus for the first time they experience healing of hurt and pain from the past. This healing is a lifelong process.

4. King

Jesus is the King who ‘will rule in the right way, and his leaders will carry out justice’ (32:1, MSG). He rules our lives through the Holy Spirit who lives within us.

5. Wisdom

He is the source of our wisdom (31:1–3). Isaiah warns against trusting in our own strength rather than looking to the Holy One of Israel and seeking help from the Lord (v.1). The Holy Spirit is the source of wisdom in our lives.

6. Mother

He is like a mother bird, who will shield Jerusalem and deliver it (31:5; see Luke 13:34). God is both a Father and a Mother to us. The Holy Spirit is often associated with the feminine side of God’s nature.

The Holy Spirit is the ‘Spirit of Jesus’ (Acts 16:7). Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus comes to live within you.

The prophet Isaiah seems to have caught a glimpse of the day of Pentecost when ‘the Spirit is poured down on us from above’ (Isaiah 32:15a, MSG).

‘The Spirit is poured upon us from on high... justice... righteousness... peace... quietness and confidence forever... secure... undisturbed places of rest... how blessed you will be’ (vv.15–20).

The outpouring of the Spirit leads to great fruitfulness, righteousness and peace (quietness, confidence, security and rest). It leads to generous sowing and freedom. God promises that if you walk by the Holy Spirit you will enjoy great blessings in this life and into eternity.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for the privilege of living in the age of the Spirit – an age that the prophet Isaiah only glimpsed. Thank you that now I can experience it to the full – as Jesus Christ lives within me by his Spirit.

Pippa adds

Isaiah 30:21

‘Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”’

I am always interested that the voice is ‘behind you’ and not ahead of you. You have to take that step of faith, not necessarily knowing where you are going. You may be stepping out into the unknown, but as you do so, you're listening very carefully to that voice just behind you whispering in your ear saying, 'keep going – this is the way'.

Verse of the Day

2 Corinthians 13:11

…encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
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References

The One Year® is a registered trademark of Tyndale House Publishers. Used by permission.

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.

Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture marked (MSG) taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

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