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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

OUR THEME FOR 2020
(Part 35)

EVILS WITHOUT AND WITHIN


February 12, 2020

Today’s readings:
1 Kings 10:1-10
Psalm 37:5-6,30-31,39-40
Mark 7:14-23


To be built on Rock is to listen to and act on the words of Christ. Jesus continually invites us, “Hear me, all of you, and understand.” (Mk 7:14). Wisdom comes from God. If we hear and live God’s words, then we are on solid foundation.

So it was with Solomon. He was appointed by God to be king of Israel. As head over God’s people, God gave him wisdom, and prosperity as well. The queen of Sheba was impressed by his wisdom and wealth. She extolled the joyous situation of his reign. “Happy are your servants, happy these ministers of yours, who stand before you always and listen to your wisdom.” (1 Kgs 10:8). Acting on God’s wisdom brings peace, stability, joy and prosperity.

Now here is the truth: we act on God’s word and live according to His ways, and God in turn will act to favor us. Our action begets God’s action. “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will act.” (Ps 37:5). Then we can look to bountiful blessings in life.

How do we commit to God and trust in Him? With wisdom gained from listening to God and acting on His commands, we are to grow in righteousness and justice. “And make your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like noonday.” (Ps 37:6). Righteousness is moral uprightness, integrity, holiness, virtue, rectitude, probity. Justice is giving to everyone what is their due, according to their worth and dignity in Christ. These are the inward and outward dimensions of faith.

If we live in this way, then we are solidly founded on Rock. God’s word gives us wisdom, and such wisdom leads us to righteous living. “The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom; his tongue speaks what is right.” (Ps 37:30). Having listened to and living out God’s word, we are solidly grounded on Christ. “God’s teaching is in his heart; his steps do not falter.” (Ps 37:31). As such, even as we are buffeted by winds and floods, we shall stand. “The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord, their refuge in a time of distress.” (Ps 37:39). We can always trust in God to help us, especially as we assault the forces of darkness and evil in the world. “The Lord helps and rescues them, rescues and saves them from the wicked, because they take refuge in him.” (Ps 37:40).

In assaulting the forces of darkness in the world, we must know that evil is not just out there, but can be within us as well. In striving to live a holy life in an unholy world, we are to be vigilant as to our own spiritual condition. “Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come from within are what defile.” (Mk 7:15). What are these? “From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.” (Mk 7:21-23).

Thus is a constant striving for holiness crucial. We face evils both from without and within. We need God’s wisdom, which we get from His word.

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