September 6 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” ~Proverbs 9:10

Lectio Divina

OLD TESTAMENT

Lady Wisdom invites all comers to a grand party at her stately mansion. She will serve the best of meats and the finest of wines. The invitation goes out to everyone who is in need of wisdom. But beware, mockers are not invited. The jerks will only throw it back in your face if you correct them, so it’s best not to try (Prov. 9:7-8). Accept Lady Wisdom’s kind invitation and join the party. You will have a continual feast!

In Proverbs 9, the sage is calling all of us to be wisdom lovers. We should learn all we can from the wise. We should hear good preaching, read helpful books, listen to wise friends, and submit to trustworthy mentors. However, to truly gain from these interactions, we must actively glean all we can. To use the sage’s allegory, we must accept Lady Wisdom’s invitation. In joining her party, we enjoy a continual feast of learning and rub shoulders with other successful (read: wise) people.

The good lady’s invitation is not the only one set constantly before us. Dame Fool extends open-door hospitality to everyone who wants to enter her decadent manse. Her invitation is in your face, and it is attractive. She promises knowledge and success, too, but the dame knows the shortcuts to fame and fortune. She will teach you how to get ahead, to cheat the system, to stick it to the man. “Stolen water is sweet” (Prov. 9:17). Here is the invite of foolish friends and the lure of “the world.”  What the simple do not realize is what decay lies beneath the home’s façade. The bones of Dame Fool’s guests are buried in the basement.

Make sure you go to the right party!

NEW TESTAMENT

The gospel is the good news that Christ died on the cross, He was buried (meaning He really did die!), and He rose again. All of this He did in our place to pay for our sins. We must believe the gospel and hold firmly to it, a practice that theologians call the doctrine of perseverance because it means that we must persevere in our faith commitment. Only then can we be called genuine followers of Christ who have been saved by His grace.

The doctrine of perseverance, which is explicitly taught throughout Hebrews, is neglected in many evangelical circles. The New Testament writers did in fact emphasize the need to make a faith commitment (doctrine of conversion), but they also called people to remain committed to their commitment!

 “By this gospel you are saved,” writes Paul, “if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you” (1 Cor. 15:2). We might shorten it to “Keep the faith!” Holding firmly does not mean that we nudge our salvation along by our own works. However, those genuinely saved by God’s grace produce works by His grace (see Ephesians 2:8-10 for this balanced doctrine). Paul holds himself up as an example of someone who worked hard on his spiritual life. He emphasizes that the hard work itself was actually God at work in his life.  “I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me” (1 Cor. 15:10).

So stay true to your faith commitment. Ask God to give you the grace to do so as you look forward to a real resurrection.


Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.