On Being a Blessing to Believers

Psalms 69:6   (NLT)   Don’t let those who trust in you be ashamed because of me, O Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Don’t let me cause them to be humiliated, O God of Israel.

The way we live as believers affects our spiritual family. We cause others to esteem them highly or to look down on them.  Our attitudes, conduct, character, words, principles, and actions go farther and wider, and affect more people than we realize. The last thing we want to do is to give our Lord’s name and our fellow believers a bad rap.

Psalm 69.6 - Be a Blessing to BelieversWhen God calls us to be holy, it is not a figure of speech; He is serious about it; He means business. It is not a suggestion; it is not a joke. Him being holy and perfect is literally true. That’s His basis in calling us to be holy as well. “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48 NLT); “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must be holy because I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:16)—that’s what God’s Word says. I would say His call for us to be holy is literally true as well. “…work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). That’s a huge implication on us personally, but we realize: it far transcends us.

God doesn’t want us to have even a tinge of wickedness in our hearts. He knows it spreads and it spreads rapidly. It gets bigger; it becomes deadlier; and it destroys more people. We must seriously consider this. We don’t take this lightly. We love God so much; we don’t want to cause others to dishonor Him. We love each other so much; we don’t want to cause others to slander them. We don’t want to cause them any humiliation or harm. We bring light, not darkness; we shine brightly so that God will be glorified. We don’t want to pull our brothers and sisters down to embarrassment; we want to help them soar higher.

We don’t deny our imperfection; we still sin—that’s an obvious fact. But we also don’t tweak God’s Word to accommodate that. This is not a case of either-or; it’s both. Let’s settle that. Now, let’s live in a way that’s a blessing to the Lord and His family.

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Living Out Our Holiness

Leviticus 20:26   (NLT)   You must be holy because I, the Lord , am holy. I have set you apart from all other people to be my very own.

God wants us restored to the highest quality of being and existence. He is a holy God Who wants us to be holy. Holiness is a good thing; it isn’t a cage constricting us from doing things we like doing; it does however restrict us from doing things that enslave us. Leviticus 20.26 - Living Out Our HolinessHe created us in His image; that image was marred by sin. But now as believers, He has again made us holy and he wants us to live in and live out that holiness.

God has called us unto himself—a peculiar people, a holy nation, a people belonging to Him—different and separate from the world. We have very different standards from the world; we have different ways of thinking; different perspective; different worldview, different ways of doing things. It is not our aim to be like the world; our aim is to be increasingly more like our Lord—in perfect holiness and righteousness.

So, we don’t pursue what the world pursues; we don’t desire what the world desires. It isn’t our pursuit to have flashy, luxurious, expensive cars like the world does. We don’t pursue humongous houses like the world does; we don’t pursue fame and fortune, accolades and applause like the world does. I’m not implying that luxury, fame, and fortune are innately evil. But they are not where our hearts are. Our hearts and minds are set on the prize of the high and upward calling of our God in Christ Jesus. We don’t share the world’s ungodly value system; we are unique; we live in God. We don’t make up rules to fit our wishes and whims; if everyone does that, the world will be in total chaos. We have an authoritative moral compass—His Word.

We don’t sacrifice our values at the altar of the majority, peer pressure, or political correctness. For us, murder is wrong, whether they be adults or babies—in the mother’s room or outside of the mother’s womb. For us, having sexual acts with a person not your spouse is immoral. We love it that we, our spouses, and our children don’t go around hopping from bed to bed with just anybody we or they like. We are called to keep our marriage bed undefiled and pure for the person we love—the person we have vowed and dedicated our lives to—for a lifetime. We operate in love, not lust, not greed. For us, giving is more blessed then getting. We love our enemies, bless those who curse us, pray for those who persecute us. We don’t take revenge, but we trust in our God and His justice.

We are God’s people. We belong to him. There only two choices: Him or anything else—to be holy like Him, and to be unholy like the world. We choose Him.

 

Righteousness—the Person, the Action

1 John 3:7 (KJV) Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

It is to be deceived to believe that those who commit unrighteousness are righteous.

I was almost avoiding this passage. Somehow, I’m affected by books and messages discouraging a call to holiness and righteousness. Those who do are seen as legalistic, or 1 John 3.17 - Righteousness - The Person, the Actionpeople who don’t understand God’s love and grace. They are seen as judgmental, condemnatory, and they preach salvation by works.

I know those labels aren’t true with me. I understand that we’re saved by grace through faithliving faith that is. I understand God’s unconditional love and abundant grace. I caught myself doing something I ought not to: avoiding certain passages. That was wrong.

So, I settled. How can I escape this divine billboard projected so emphatically right before me—repeatedly, in different ways, just from one book alone? Here’s a sampling of what I mean:

1 John 2:1,5-6,29 (KJV) 1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

1 John 3:3,10,24 (KJV) 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

1 John 5:3 (KJV) 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

There’s a lot more where they came from.

If God’s Word doesn’t withdraw from urging us to life of love, obedience, holiness, purity, righteousness; it’s only right we also don’t.

‘nough said.

 

 

 

New Clothes for New Life

Ephesians 4:24   (KJV)   24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

We are world-changers; that’s a great honor. We influence and change our society because we’ve been changed—from the inside out; we’re a new creation, new man, new nature, new heart. All glory to God; that inner change is all Him. That’s the light we Ephesians 4.24 - New Clothes for New Lifeshine, this new nature created to be like God, particularly His righteousness, holiness, purity. It may be hard for some to believe, but this is us: living godly and pure lives is our nature.

Everyone is invited to share this awesome newness; most don’t respond.  As believers, we enjoy it tremendously. It’s no longer a joy for this new nature to engage in dishonesty, immorality, and corruption. There are not a lot of honors as great as representing and displaying our Father’s nature. Misrepresenting Him hurts us. Temptations abound; they possess powerful attractions, but this new man has different tastes and appetites.

Not all unbelievers are utterly hostile to believers. Some of them recognize the beauty of Christian values. They know the importance of truthfulness, faithfulness, and loyalty in relationships. They know the value of teachability and submission among their children and employees. They know the value of conscientiousness, initiative, and diligence. It’s not unusual to see parents who don’t set foot in a church but send their children to Christian schools and gatherings because they know how beautiful our lives are.

We sail on, bearing a different aura—that of humility, joy, love, peace. Our neighbors trust us; we bring peace to tense situations; we don’t harbor grudge. We don’t operate by the common m.o. of avenging ourselves against those who wrong us. We forgive. We work hard for those who trust us with their company; we’re not takers; we’re giver. Our speeches aren’t foul; they’re pleasant; they’re kind. I can go on and on, but we’re obviously different—wonderfully different. We love it. We’re deeply humbled.

Believers’ Blessed Future

Revelation 20:6   (KJV)   Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

There’s such blessedness and uniqueness enjoyed by believers that’s beyond explanation and imagination.

Revelation 20.6 - Believers' Blessed FutureBeing blessed, being holy, being a part of a glorious resurrection that leads to rewards instead of the ultimate judgment, condemnation and suffering, becoming priests of our God and our Jesus, reigning with Him for a thousand years—these are more than enough reasons for us to totally appreciate and value our status as believers and followers of our precious Lord.

I’m joyfully overwhelmed by those wonderful gifts from our absolutely gracious heavenly Father. Not everyone shares the excitement. Others treat them with contempt because of over-familiarity. We hear of them often; they’ve become a redundant truth, sad to say, even to some believers. But not to us; all the joys and excitement we sense aren’t nearly enough to equal the great wonders of all those blessings God has in store for us.

When God Finally Comes

Ezekiel 37:28   (KJV)   28 And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.

A day is coming when God’s sanctuary—His temple—will be among us; God Himself will be living here on earth—in Jerusalem. On that day, His people will really be His people, Ezekiel 37.28 - When God Finally Comesand God will really be our God.

We won’t ever lose our free will. But God will have a way of making Israel and all His people holy. He has a way of changing our hearts from that of hard, stony, and stubborn hearts to that of tender, sensitive, and submissive hearts. He has a way of giving us a new spirit through the presence of His Holy Spirit so that we will be obedient and faithful. We will be holy, not just positionally, but practically.

Oh what a day that will be—when God Himself is our ultimate King and Shepherd, and God’s people are really walking in holiness and righteousness; when God’s enemies are humbled, defeated, and silenced; when peace, love, and righteousness rule in the earth. This is not just a dream; it will have its fulfillment. Maranatha—come, oh Lord; the Lord is coming!!!

Watch and Keep Clothed

Revelation 16:15   (KJV)   15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

Revelation 16.15 - Watchful and ClothedJesus’ return is unannounced; it’s imminent; no one knows the day or the hour. This truth is so emphatic in the Scriptures. Not even the angels in heaven or the Son know when. We won’t discuss the “three Persons in one God” at this time.

The appropriate response to the imminence of our precious Lord Jesus’ return isn’t negligence or lack of attention. When He said it’s not for us to know the times and the seasons which our heavenly Father chose to keep for Himself, He wasn’t telling us not to be uninterested towards the truth of the 2nd coming. The converse is true; He wants us to be watchful, to be always ready for His return.

This is one of the reasons we don’t walk uncovered. We continue to live day by day clothed with Jesus and His righteousness. We don’t ever want to find ourselves in the shameful state of having our sins and guilt laid bare—totally exposed before the presence of our Holy God. Is it even possible for a child of God to be found “naked” and shamed? As unpopular as the answer may be, the passage seems to tell us so.

This same passage doesn’t tell us to debate about all the differing interpretations regarding His return. It clearly tells us the blessedness of those who watch and who keep their garments. That’s our part; that’s our focus; that’s what we restfully and joyfully strive for. And undeniably, as much as we know that we have loved ones and friends who may be left behind, we really get excited and thrilled about our Lord’s return.