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Tuesday, January 26, 2016


A few days ago I was reading through Proverbs 4 – by the way you probably know that there are 31 chapters in Proverbs, one devotional practice that I have found helpful is to read the Proverb of the day.  That is, on the 4th of the month read Proverbs 4, on the 5th, Proverbs 5, and so on – this time through Proverbs 4 I was struck by 23 – 27.  I just checked, four years ago Proverbs 4:23 was a passage that commanded a lot of space in this blog.  Today though, there is a different issue I wish to explore.

Absolutely Hopeless
As I read and prayed through Proverbs 4:23 – 27 the hopelessness of the assignment overwhelmed me.  I know myself well enough to know that my eyes will wander from the path, I often turn to the right or left, and sometimes I hesitate or do not turn my foot from evil.

Overwhelming Hopelessness
The idea that this is what it means to watch over my heart leaves me with a feeling of hopelessness.  I know that no matter how determined, disciplined, focused I may be for the next few minutes, hours, or days, at some point I will fail.  It is pretty much guaranteed, history tends to repeat, so does my sin.  I identify with the words of Paul in Romans 7:24, “Who will set me free from the body of this death?”

Hopeless Cry
Paul’s hopeless cry and by extension mine is answered in Romans 7:25 – 8:17.  It is Christ.  His completed work in me.  He is the deliverance and the watch over my heart.  When I fail, He does not.

Triumph over Hopelessness
Our failure and His triumph over that failure is the essence and the excellent news of the gospel of grace.  I forget.  I tend to try to do this on my own.  In that I am hopeless.


  1. How easily and quickly I forget that we are embraced by the Good News of Grace! We slide so easily into Law, and so grasp a block of lead to try and stay afloat.

    1. I really like that imagery... Grasping lead to stay afloat, it certainly is.