Law & Gospel in the Proverbs

I’ve been thinking about Mary & Martha lately. The lesson is basically a very practical example of how the gospel is lived. It is about how grace is applied practically in being and becoming who God wants us to be. It seems to me to parallel the passage about John laying his head on Jesus’ chest, the instruction to seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and all ‘these things’ will be added to you, and the teaching about Jesus being the Vine in which we must abide.

We do a great deal of wondering about what God’s will is. Books are written in droves on the topic. What these passages teach me is that I do not become who God wants me to be by thinking about who He wants me to be and then trying to be that way.

Often as I worship, as I am enjoying God the most, or put another way, when I am abiding most richly in the Vine, I find that I am changed. The strange thing is that I am usually surprised by what I am changed to. God makes me into someone quite different than what I expected.

What this proves to me is that I never could have gotten there by thinking about who God wanted me to be and trying to be that way. I never would have thought of what God intended. I think the difference between trying to figure out who God wants us to be and then to be that way on the one hand and simply worshiping and seeing who we become on the other hand is the difference between leaning on our own understanding or else turning away from evil by fearing the Lord. Put another way it is the difference between law and grace, work and faith.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.