The letters of the New Testament often start with a description of what Christ accomplished on the cross. They continue on to explain what this means for us and how He has given us, among other things, a new heart and the Holy Spirit. But the writers never stop there! They expect that the glorious workings of Christ on the cross and in our hearts are to be demonstrated in a dramatic change in the way we live. The wonders of the New Covenant are not merely in a spiritual work, but they have to have a practical outworking. The writers expectations are that this change in our hearts will be demonstrated in a change in our attitudes, affections, behaviour and deeds. We will not just be differently inwardly, but that inward change will be seen outwardly in our way of life.
The New Testament writers give us many examples of how we should now be living, but it is not only the New Testament that gives us such insights. They recognise that there is also a gold-mine of useful advice in the Old Testament. Paul writes to Timothy that All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness … (2Ti 3:16) While many of the ways that God uses to achieve His purposes have changed between the Old and New Testament, the expectations He has for our manner of life has not. One particularly profitable book is Proverbs. This is full of many useful and wise sayings that we should each know and take to heart, if we wish to live lives that are pleasing to God.
Take time this month to read through the book of Proverbs, but don’t just read it. Take note of the things that it says and begin to apply them in your life. It comes with a promise, “Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, And the years of your life will be many.” (Pro 4:10)