We’ve seen that true joy begins with godly wisdom. Trusting in God and in His will for our lives brings peace. “Whoever gives thought to the Word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” (Prov 16:20)
In order to find true joy in our lives, we must submit to God’s Word, which means we don’t just read it and quote it, but we live it — daily applying it to our lives. Today’s Scripture almost literally jumped off the page: “He who despises his neighbor sins, but happy is he who is gracious to the poor.” (Prov 14:21)
When we despise someone, we look down upon them with contempt, without respecting them as being created in God’s image as we all are. We sinfully determine they aren’t worthy of our time or attention. It is a sin to despise others because we are told we are to love others as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31).
Today’s worldly wisdom has us screaming at each other because others think differently, look different, or act differently than we do. Satan is busy dividing us into categories and feeding our pride so that we feel smug in railing against others, thereby stealing our joy because we give it to him (1 Pet 5:8). In Jesus’s day it was no different–Jews hated Samaritans. Yet Jesus used a parable to show that we should show mercy to everyone (Luke 10:25-37).
The second part of today’s verse tells us that instead of despising others, we can live joyful lives that reflects God’s glory: “happy is he who is gracious to the poor”. “Poor” here may mean without money or poor in spirit, or any other lack in their lives. We have received grace from the Lord that we do not deserve. As we harvest what we sow (Gal 6:7), we should be diligent to sow love, grace and mercy to others. “He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered.” (Prov 21:13)
Lord, make me sensitive to Your holiness, that I might become aware of my vileness and fall before You in humility and confession. Thank You Lord that in union with Christ we have the mind of Christ, as we also submit to the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Help me to develop the beautiful spiritual fruit of humility that is so important in the lives of all Your children, so that I am able to grow in grace. Help me not to do anything out of selfish ambition or foolish vanity, but rather that I may develop the godly grace to regard the needs and desires of others as being more important than my own. Teach me to live as Christ lived – in the power of the Spirit and to Your praise and glory. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.