Friday, April 19, 2013

An Excellent Spirit

“A man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.”
Proverbs 17:27b

Excellent. What a great word. I love how it ties into understanding. My first favorite verse of the Bible was “Man’s goings are of the Lord, how can a man then understand his own way?” (Proverbs 20:24) It reminded me that my understanding, my clarity of purpose and design, were in the hands of God, and it was my duty, my pleasure, to seek answers from Him to understand my place in this world.

When I gave my life to the Lord in my early twenties, it was like I had access to this fountain of understanding that never went dry. I had so much to learn. I had so much time to make up in my relationship with Him. It was then I first experienced the blessings of clarity of mind. And excellent is a great word to describe this feeling.

Oh, how I loved Jesus in those early days. This is not to diminish my love for Him today, but just like a new marriage or relationship, those first days are full of feelings of wonder and love and awe for that person and how they make us feel. It is only in time, that our love grows and matures into something more precious and deeper than we thought we could feel, that is, if we stay constant through the many ups and downs, as well as in the plateaus.

Reflecting on this verse today, could it be the excellent spirit is the result of understanding, rather than the goal? What I mean to say is we could easily get prideful if we walk around thinking we are excellent because we have understanding. With puffed up heads of knowledge, pointing to ourselves, we say, “Look at me. I have an excellent spirit because God has given me so much understanding.”

Why not look at it like because God has graciously given us understanding, our being exudes this “excellent spirit,” that directs praise to God, rather than ourselves. This excellent spirit may be what a non-believer sees when they look at us and wants what we have.

The Peace of God. The Love of God. The Acceptance of God. Not because we’re perfect but because we understand our place in His Kingdom.

Lord, may this river of understanding never run dry. Oh, it may be a trickle at times, and like a waterfall at other times, but help me to gain the understanding you have for me, so that I may be “of an excellent spirit” always and for Your glory.

Pike Place Market. Seattle, Washington. (2007)

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