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Category Archives: You Are A Philosopher

A Soldier’s Mentality

Every year we celebrate Veteran’s Day. It is a day to remember the service of the men and women that have endured, or are enduring, the difficult hardships related to serving our country, especially in a time of conflict. You might argue whether or not the warring between nations is necessary or not, right or wrong, but the high cost of service for the individual is real. It comes with the territory.

Paul, the apostle, was encouraging young Timothy to be strong and bold in his service to God. He told him to,
“Put up with your share of hardship as a loyal soldier in Christ’s army.” (Phillips, 2 Tim 2:3).
Too few of us are not aware of our responsibilities as a disciple of Christ. More often we are trained as disciples to “bless” the comfortable events of Christian living and “curse” the uncomfortable events. This is not the Gospel Paul preached.

He taught there was more to the Good News than just being forgiven and set free from the authority of sin. In fact, it is only the beginning of an even more exciting journey. With the sin question supernaturally dealt with we must go on to fulfill the very reason for the forgiveness given us through Christ. Paul identified this challenging journey saying,
Accept, as I do, all the hardship that faithfulness to the Gospel entails in the strength that God gives you. For he rescued us from all that is really evil and called us to a life of holiness—not because of any of our achievements but for his own purpose. Before time began he planned to give us in Christ the grace to achieve this purpose, but it is only since our Savior Jesus Christ has been revealed that the method has become apparent.” (Phillips, 2 Tim 1:8a-10a)

Paul made this same plea in the Letter to the Christians Ephesians.
“Praise be to God for giving us through Christ every possible spiritual benefit as citizens of Heaven! For consider what he has done—before the foundation of the world he chose us to become, in Christ, his holy and blameless children living within his constant care. He planned, in his purpose of love, that we should be adopted as his own children (Gk, huios, should be translated sons) through Jesus Christ…” (Phillips, Eph 1:3-5)

As a soldier in the service of our country you go through a very intense time of basic training. Designed to equip you with a foundation, you grow in responsibility and ability in your duty of service.

As a soldier in God’s army there are basics you must embrace to help grow toward a maturity that God has defined in his word. Comfortable and hard situations that we face is part of your experience in basic training, and how you respond will help to measure your progress. God defined it as “A life of holiness.” (Phillips, 2 Tim 1:9) And in Ephesians he describes this maturing as becoming, “His holy and blameless children living within his constant care.” (Phillips, Eph 1:4) We learn from both scriptures the “calling” from God is only available to us “in Christ.” To attempt to achieve this divine “calling” by any means other than “in Christ”  would destine the believer to failure and frustration. Only in the power of your personal relationship with Jesus and the unfolding of truth by the Holy Spirit can you grow in the plan and purpose of God. It might not be as comfortable as you would like, but it comes with the territory.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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Right Philosophy For Living

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http://clipart.christiansunite.com/Pictures_of_Jesus_Clipart/With_His_Disciples_Clipart/

Have you ever thought of yourself as a philosopher? Does the very word “philosophy,” “philosopher,” etc. invoke uncomfortable concepts in your mind. What comes to mind when you think of “philosophy?”

DeVerne Fromke, in his book “Ultimate Intention” shares about this concern:

“Many may be concerned by the use of the term “philosophy.” There is a vain philosophy of this world which we are warned to avoid. But there is also a divine philosophy. The very fact God made man with a deep gnawing in his bosom which longs to know “why,” “why,” demonstrates that man is born a philosopher. Failure to properly answer the philosophical gnawing in man’s breast is causing fundamentalists by the hundreds to become fertile soil for the false philosophies  of the world.”

We are warned by the writer of Colossians in chapter 2 verse 8,

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” NASB

That is a warning that has severe implications as stated above. Paul is not writing, however, to say all philosophy is bad anymore than he would say all wisdom is bad. We have but to read the scripture passage  in 1 Corinthians 1:18 thru 2:13 to understand there is a wisdom that is worldly, or humanistic and a wisdom that is divine, from the mind of God. The warning here is to allow the divine “system” of wisdom to direct your life, your motives, purpose and vision for God’s eternal plan and for yourself. Any other “system” of life directing philosophy will lead to actions that will take you away from the path of reality to frail motives, fake purposes and false visions. Even the everyday decisions you make from your unique perspective reflect better judgment when your life is directed by God’s wisdom. So, wisdom speaks that I must decide what philosophy of life I want to  determine my motivation, define my purpose and establish the direction in my life!

So, where does this divine philosophy come from? Where is it’s starting point? How is it administered? God, our Father, has summed up all talk of this invaluable divine philosophy down to a “ Person,” “Christ Jesus! That’s right. The philosophy that truly meets man’s deepest needs and glorifies the Godhead is the Person of Christ Jesus.

DeVerne Fromke continues:

 “…God’s answer to man’s need is not a philosophy, but a Person. Paul knew better than to meet the Corinthians on the level of human philosophy. Instead, he preached what was to them an obnoxious message – Christ crucified. God used this message to manifest His power. He used that which seemed like utter foolishness to uncover their pride of intellect and man-centered wisdom. Such is God’s way. We present a Person, Jesus Christ, who becomes a divine way (philosophy) of life in us.”

We see this confirmed in God’s Word:

1 Corinthians 1:30

“God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.” Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

The same passage in the Ferrer Frenton translation of God’s Word:

1 Corinthians 1:30

“But from Him you exist in Christ Jesus who has brought a philosophy from God to us—as well as righteousness, purity and redemption”

The Person of Christ IS our Wisdom, our Philosophy, and He is the only Philosophy qualified to shape our morals, character and expressions in this life to God’s glory and for our good!

God bless!

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2018 in You Are A Philosopher

 

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Categories of Philosophy

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Do you see yourself as a philosopher yet? This might sound like a strange question, but it really isn’t. The reality is that we are all philosophers. It is in our DNA from the time of Adam. Whereas the animal kingdom is governed largely by instinct, we have been designed by our Creator to be in His image and likeness. We are creatures of reason and logic with a precondition to learn new and different things. We have a God-given mind that requires feeding. We can feed it with bad input, good input or the best input. What feeds our mind determines how we view life and respond to it. That becomes our philosophy for living.

We all will choose between two opposing philosophical narratives. That decision will define our fellowship with God. An earthly, or human wisdom and a divine wisdom as declared clearly in 1 Corinthians 1:18 through 2:13. I encourage the reading of those scriptures to clarify this subject matter.

Two definitions will help qualify the balance of this post.

Philosophy – System, process of thought, wisdom.

Philosopher – A person who lives and thinks according to a system of philosophy.

As expressed in the above scriptures it is fair to say that human wisdom comes from the character of mankind and divine wisdom comes from the character of God. Character, by Webster’s Dictionary, is the complex of mental and ethical traits marking a person.  Which of the two do you think is worth taking to your grave?

Adam and Eve had to choose the “system” of wisdom that would govern their lives. These opposing philosophies were offered by way of two trees planted in the middle of the Garden of Eden. Why were they placed there? God’s glory expressed in His eternal plan and purpose necessitated man’s free-will choice to obey God or self. The tree of life offered the choice of being governed by a divine philosophy from God and administered by the Holy Spirit. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil offered the choice of being governed by human philosophy from one’s own spirit man who died to the Spirit of God when the forbidden fruit was eaten. This decision required them to be dependent on a restricted philosophy that included the overwhelming influence of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life; see 1 John 2:16.

Adam and Eve were in God’s grace at the moment of creation and through a cloaked temptation they choose to disobey a direct command given to Adam by God. God’s grace departed them leaving them to their own ability.

We have not escaped the predicament of making that same choice in our own life. We can accept the gracious offer from God to receive divine wisdom, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, to govern our decisions, or we can certainly hang onto the wisdom we now have. That wisdom does not satisfy in the long-term and ends in the Lake of Fire through the choice we made!

We, being originally outside God’s wonderful grace, due to our own sin, are wooed by the Spirit of Grace to come under that precious gift. By free-will choice to accept the Person of Jesus Christ, crucified and resurrected, we are saved by grace through faith.

Please note: Grace means “unmerited favor,” “receiving what we don’t deserve” AND depicts God’s ability working on our behalf!

Allow me to give an example; Eph 2:8-9
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;” NASB

This could be read as;
“For by God’s ability you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; NASB

Bless God!

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2018 in You Are A Philosopher

 

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The Decision Is Yours

God’s Word has three distinct ways the word “wisdom” is expressed in the New Testament using the Greek word “sophia.” The previous blog, “P2 Categories of Philosophy,” explored the expression of two of those ways in 1 Corinthians 1:18 thru 2:13. Wisdom, as it is used in the above verses is defining the difference in earthly, or human wisdom (man-centered); and divine, or Godly wisdom (God-centered), presented to us in the Person of Christ Jesus. Referring to 1 Corinthians 1:30: as a Christian, if Jesus is our Righteousness and our Sanctification and our Redemption, then He is also our Wisdom sent to us from God.

Do you live under the influence of human wisdom or Godly wisdom, or a mixture? I am in the mixture class myself as the process of transformation from human to divine wisdom  is a progression involving the renewing of my mind to the ways of God. (See Romans 12:1-2)

James, the half-brother to Jesus, addresses another aspect of divine wisdom in James 1:5-6,

 “5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

This wisdom is the same word “Sophia,” but from the context you can see is a prayer for wisdom for a specific situation or specific circumstances. James was speaking about trials in this passage and decisions we need to make. God would rather we ask Him in place of seeking it from another sources.

 

For further study, I reference the follow excerpt: (from The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament © 1992 by AMG International, Inc. Revised Edition, 1993)_

NT:4678 (Strong’s Concordance numbering system)

4678. sophía; gen. ‎sophías‎, fem. noun from ‎sophós ‎(4680), wise. Wisdom, skill, tact, expertise in any art.

In the NT, it refers to wisdom:

(I) Skill in the affairs of life, practical wisdom, wise management as shown in forming the best plans and selecting the best means, including the idea of sound judgment and good sense (Acts 6:3; 7:10: Col 1:28; 3:16; 4:5). ‎Stóma ‎(4750), mouth, and ‎sophían ‎in Luke 21:15 means wise utterance.  (II) In a higher sense, wisdom, deep knowledge, natural and moral insight, learning, science, implying cultivation of mind and enlightened understanding.

(A) Generally (Matt 12:42; Luke 11:31 [cf. 1 Kings 4:30]; Acts 7:22). Implying learned research (Col 2:23); a knowledge of hidden things, of enigmatic and symbolic language (Rev. 13:18; 17:9; Sept.: Job 11:6; Proverbs 1:2; Dan. 1:17).

(B) Specifically of the learning and philosophy current among the Greeks and Romans in the apostolic age intended to draw away the minds of men from divine truth, and which stood in contrast with the simplicity of the gospel; called by Paul ‎sarkike ‎(4559), fleshly, pertaining to the flesh (2 Cor 1:12); the wisdom of the world (1 Cor 1:20ff.; 3:19ff.); of men (1 Cor 2:5); of the wise (1 Cor 1:19); words of man’s wisdom (1 Cor 2:4,13); the world through wisdom (1 Cor 1:21); not in wisdom of words, meaning not with mere philosophy and rhetoric (1 Cor 1:17; 2:1).

(C) In respect to divine things, wisdom, knowledge, insight, deep understanding, represented everywhere as a divine gift, and including the idea of practical application. It is used metonymically for ‎gnosis ‎(1108), knowledge or theoretical knowledge (Matt 13:54; Mark 6:2; Acts 6:10); divine knowledge (Eph 1:8). ‎Sophía ‎stands for divine wisdom, the ability to regulate one’s relationship with God, and is distinct from ‎phrónesis ‎(5428), prudence, the ability to know and deal with people (1 Cor 12:8; Eph 1:17; Col 1:9: 2 Peter 3:15). Specifically of insight imparted from God in respect to the divine counsels (1 Cor 2:6,7). Metonymically of the author and source of this wisdom (1 Cor 1:30). As conjoined with purity of heart and life (James 1:5; 3:13,15,17). See Luke 2:40,52.

(III) The wisdom of God means the divine wisdom, including the ideas of infinite skill, insight, knowledge, purity (Rom 11:33; 1 Cor 1:21,24; Eph 3:10; Col 2:3; Rev 5:12; 7:12). Of the divine wisdom as revealed and manifested in Christ and His gospel (Matt 11:19; Luke 7:35; 11:49).

(IV) Fear, wisdom, generally the knowledge of how to regulate one’s relationship with God, wisdom which is related with goodness. When one is wise unto God, he is ‎phrónimos ‎(5429), prudent with others and knows how to regulate circumstances.

Deriv.: ‎philósophos ‎(5386), philosopher.

Syn.: ‎sœphrosúne ‎(4997), soundness of mind; ‎súnesis ‎(4907), the capacity for reasoning, intelligence, understanding; ‎phrónesis ‎(5428), prudence, moral insight; ‎epínoia ‎(1963), thought.

 

So, the decision is yours individually as to the resource you use to determine how and who you dedicate your life to, and who you desire to glorify.

 

Bless God!

 

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2018 in You Are A Philosopher

 

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