Words fit for a King

Today marks Epiphany, the day after the Twelve Days of Christmas, meant to celebrate the moment the magi arrived with their kingly gifts. These were truly gifts fit for a king, even for this King. (Keep in mind that gold was the least valuable of the three elements presented the Child Savior.)

Christians have long stood in the promises of their King, knowing that while we are citizens in this world (and hopefully the best possible citizens, engaged and active in serving others while motivated by joy and grace), we are truly citizens of another Kingdom. Our orders and approval come from somewhere else, outside of us, beyond guilt and shame, and with far deeper and longer-lasting motives. The King calls, and we follow.

Thankfully, we do not walk this path alone:

“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
—Philippians 3:17-21

The promises of our King will never fail or expire; here are words fit to describe His loving care of His people:

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
—Jude 1:24-25
Live in that reality.

Think it over.

The Thinker by Auguste Rodin

It appears so many people do not give themselves to rigorous study (of whatever subject makes them curious), finding better resources and opportunities to grow. Why is this?

Active investigation is out, giving way to trusting others to bring us the info, news, and truth we need — passively sitting back for others to make sense of it for us. It appears this is not so much because people know it all, it’s that some people think they know it all. (Or, think that knowledge is not important.)

Humility and curiosity are keys to learning well. Couple that with diligence and you may have a world-changer; or at least a neighborhood changer, because in humility we value people as much as ideas. It’s not that we need to know everything. Rather, if we know a few things well, and are gripped by them — we’ll change our corner of the world.

God connects good thinking to good character and good skills:

As Paul writes to the Romans, “I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.”
—Romans 15:14

Those who can wisely instruct and counsel others (on a wide range of topics and life) must have proven character and growing knowledge. We never arrive in this life. But we who think we have arrive are in fact the furthest from it.

It takes diligence to think. It takes discipline to order our lives around new priorities (which is what the word means), and to learn beyond our current level of understanding. We need to be people who are being made new, strengthened by the grace that comes from God’s gracious character:

[2:1] You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, [2] and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. [3] Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. [4] No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. [5] An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. [6] It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. [7] Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
—2 Timothy 2:1-7

See that promise in verse 7, a ‘happy tension’ of sorts: “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” I bet Timothy clung onto that promise as tightly as he followed the four metaphorical figures: suffering as a good soldier, disciplining himself and competing according to the rules, the hard-working and tireless farmer, and (back to the first one, in verse two) teaching and entrusting essential truths to reliable men.

Read, examine, respond. Think deeply. Be changed. Pour into others. Repeat.