“You were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8-10 NASB
If we are setting a bad example where we are, why do we tend to expect God will give us a position where we can lead others to be twice the hypocrite we are being?
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” Galatians 6:7-10 NASB
God does not often put us in the position we desire until we are being that person, living the level of integrity required for it, in the place we currently hold. You want to come up higher? Live the degree of faithful, integrity required now.
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.” Colossians 3:23-25 NASB
“And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, He went His way.” Luke 4:28-30 NASB
The faith of Jesus seen in his journey to the cross, refusing the crown of man and the fear of every threat, because He knew the promise of God and trusted His provision on the course set before Him, amazes and inspires my own faith, as does the faith of the apostles. To believe God for each step taken in obedience to Him is my heart’s cry. I see it in those who have gone before us. I saw it lived out in my friend, Steve and in many others who set a good example through faith. I pray to walk out that faith daily as I seek the Father to trust Him more. I choose to believe God, that it will turn out exactly as He tells us it will.
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 NASB
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20 NASB
“And Ananias said to Paul ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth. For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’” Acts 22:14-16 NASB
This Matthew call to go and make disciples still speaks today. Note: it does not say, “Go and make converts.” A convert, untaught, will too easily fall away (Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23). The work has only just begun when a person turns to Jesus, as it is more than telling about Jesus. The true call is to help each seeker grow to become a true disciple-believer, learning and growing as a Christ follower that bears His image and stands the test of time.
We are to help others become a disciple maker. In so doing, we will one day see the Righteous One face to face. As we fulfill this call, knowing it as God’s will, our hope is to hear His voice say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
Be more than just a believer. Even the demons knew Jesus was the Son of God: The Very God incarnate; one with Father and Spirit, but their belief did not change them. We must be a disciple, continually being made new as we grow strong in Christ.
Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” ~ Matthew 4:19
“Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. ~ Matthew 9:9
And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conforming wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also] is not worthy of Me. ~ Matthew 10:38
A friend of mine wrote a beautiful FB post on the benefits of fasting prayer. It is linked below, but not sure it will open. I, too, have practiced fasting prayer many times for many reasons, and have experienced what Becky speaks of here. In fact, I have been doing some short fasts and praying, even Jerichoing our city as I pray for the desperate needs of family and friends.
I fasted a day last week for these things, plus for God to strengthen my resolve to eat right and do what is needful to take care of me in this season with my husband’s health and other family issues.
I am a stress eater by habit and have been so out of control, it is hurting me. My husband had me promise that I would take care of me and not let all this get me down physically from the lack of self care. Failing at that, I took a day to seek the Lord’s strength and resolve: and I believe I will keep doing so at least weekly through this season. It’s the only way I see of keeping my promise, by seeking Him who is my First, Most Vital, Need and Necessity. Without God, I can do nothing.
Since starting this routine in praying for family and friends, and now for myself, my strength and good appetite is returning, and I see the signs of God moving on behalf of family and friends. In fact, a “son” returned to his family the other day. Now for him to return to his God.
Keep praying! And as the Spirit leads, do fast before the Lord and be strengthened.
““And you will, even of yourself, let go of your inheritance That I gave you; And I will make you serve your enemies In the land which you do not know; For you have kindled a fire in My anger which will burn forever.”
“Thus says the LORD, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the LORD. For he will be like a bush in the desert And will not see when prosperity comes, But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, A land of salt without inhabitant.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.
“The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.” Jeremiah 17:4-10 NASB
After this revelation from God, Jeremiah cried out in verse 14, “Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; Save me and I will be saved, For You are my praise.”
God’s wrath remains kindled against sin: all that stands against God, denying His Lordship, and refusing His way, which is found in relationship with Jesus, who is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. Each person is judged by God’s standard, according as He sees to be their individual heart toward Him. A nation is judged according to the culmination of the judgment against its people. Thus it is better to stand alone with a right and true heart before God, than to follow the crowd into chaos. Seek the Lord through the saving grace of Jesus, the Christ, and let your heart be healed.
Are storms evil? No. Storms happen because they are keeping the law. There are laws in nature that determine when it rains, snows, hails, when the wind blows and how hard, where the lightening strikes or tornadoes form. These things, in themselves, are not evil, though they can bring great destruction; nor are they necessarily good, though they can bring good and needful things to the earth. However, storms can be used for evil, or they can lead to great good.
When a storm produces destruction, we see one of two things come from those effected:
Some come out to take advantage of others out of selfishness and avarice.
Others come, even out of their own extreme poverty, to help those in need and to build anew.
I read a devotional that eluded to this passage of scripture and the purpose for Christ expressed here:
“Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.
“No one who ABIDES in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who PRACTICES righteousness (as a deliberate and habitual action of choice out of love for God and allegiance to Jesus) is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who PRACTICES sin (as a deliberate and habitual action of choice, which is rebellion against God and His chosen King) is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning.
“The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil (sin and all that stands in opposition to God, His will, His way, His sovereignty). No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” 1 John 3:4-9 NASB (my understanding)
The storm is not evil or good: but the force behind it and the spirit it brings can produce great evil, or healing balms of good through the actions and reactions of people effected by the storm. A person reveals his heart in such seasons.
Jesus came to destroy the work of Satan that leads people to do the evil seen in such times. With Job, when His children were killed in a tornado, the purpose of Satan and the trap of temptation set by him was to prove Job would lose faith in God and rebel against Him. That is what Satan seeks to accomplish through the storms of life.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 NASB
To die, in God’s value of things, is to turn away from Him in lack of faith to trust Him in the storm. It is to rebel against Him out of anger, self-centeredness, pride, greed, or any number of evils that get a controlling hold on our hearts and lead us to turn against God’s way.
Life, in God’s economy, is this relationship with Him from a heart that trusts and follows Him despite the tricks of the devil. We don’t easily and habitually give in to temptations to sin out of fear or because of stressors to faith in God. We stand with God and for God, no matter the length of our waiting for His hand to move, and we find Him faithful. This is the Life, abundant and full, that Jesus provides.
The abundance Jesus provides is peace beyond measure; joy unrelated to circumstance; faith fed by deep pools of belief’s hope; and a River of love flowing to and through us, all fed by God, who is love. Evil that seeks destruction cannot win when God’s people stand firmly planted on Him.
“Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass And fade like the green herb. Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land.” Psalms 37:1-9 NASB
“My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments; For length of days and years of life And peace they will add to you. Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man. 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 your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:1-8 NASB
Yes, Satan used a storm and other devastations in Job’s life, intending it for evil; but God allowed it, knowing it would produce the good He desired. The question is, on which side of the equation will we stand?
I believe I was part of a miraculous event today. This is my testimony of one who believes Jesus, who said, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” Listen to the rain with me for just a bit, then receive my testimony.
13 Days of Trust in the Lord and do good. Day 10 – Isaiah 26:3-4
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.”
Unshakable faith that fully trusts and relies on our unshakable God produces within the heart of the believer an unshakable, irrepressible peace. This peace comes to the heart of the one steadfast in mind. As I think on this, my mind turns to two things:
First I think on God’s word concerning seeking wisdom, given us through James. It is promised that seeking God’s wisdom with sincere faith to trust Him will see our need of it met. Second, is James’ warning to not waver in faith, being double minded in following the wisdom given. We cannot fully follow God and be double minded.
But what about Gideon’s encounter with the angel of the Lord? His faith was small and unstable, so he sought God twice for a sign that the word sent was indeed from Him and that He would fulfill it. God patiently honored Gideon’s need for assurance. Once Gideon grasped hold of God’s instruction with faith secured, his faith to heed the wise instruction of the Lord, as strange to him as some of it was, could not be stopped, and the testimony of a miraculous deliverance encourages us still today.
In my first paragraph I pointed out that this unshakable, irrepressible peace comes to the heart of the one steadfast in mind. God worked with Gideon until he was convinced of God, in essence being of the same mind or thought with Him. Agreement with God’s revealed will for us, denying our flesh-mind its doubts and fears, prevents our fall to a double-minded struggle of the flesh against the Spirit.
Though God hates to see doubt in the heart of His followers, He willingly works to strengthen our faith, making us stable and steadfast to trust Him who is the Rock foundation under our feet. The greater our trust in God, our Rock, the more profound our peace of mind and heart, and the faster our obedience in receiving, believing, and following His wise counsel.
13 Days of Trust in the Lord and do good. Day 3: trust in the Lord lives righteousness as a sacrifice of savory aroma to God.
“Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And trust in the Lord.” Psalm 4:5
Trust obeys God. When we fail to trust God, that is when we choose to take things in to our own hands and do things our own way. True trust knows that doing things God’s way is best, even when it may bring us to a difficult time.
Joseph of old is a perfect example. Serving in top position over Potiphar’s household, he knew it was God’s blessing that put him there. Trust in God gave him courage to stand firm in obedience to God when Potiphar’s wife tempted him to sin. Thus he was able to respond with “How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9).
Fleeing her presence, he chose righteousness as sacrifice to God, rather than the fleeting pleasures of sin. Though he wound up in prison anyway, God’s blessing continued because Joseph trusted God enough to do things His way, even when it hurt. God used the attack by false accusations to put him in a position to be discovered by Pharaoh.
The sacrifice of righteousness honors God as God, trusting the outcome of obedience to Him, knowing that God is working a plan we may not yet fathom.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” (Romans 8:28-30)
“Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually [longing to be in His presence]” ~ 1 Chronicles 16:11, AMP.
Our journey begins bowed down at God’s Holy Feet, crying out with longing for Him that demands fulfillment: a respectful requirement based on the authority of God that promises response. What authority?
The “You said” prayer!
God promises, “You will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me as a vital necessity and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will release you from captivity…” ~ Jeremiah 29:13-14, AMP.
I want that, don’t you? The commandments of God give us His authority to do as He requires. His promises grant us right to expect His response on the authority of His word.
David, in his seeking after God, writes, “You have said, Seek My face – inquire for and require My presence as your vital need. My heart says to You, Your face / presence, Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require of necessity and on the authority of Your Word” (Psalm 27:8, AMP).
Seeking after God that demands fulfillment by His authority brings to mind an infant in need. A hungry infant screams, kicks, and squirms until they have their need. According to God’s word, He will respond to such wholehearted seeking.
“The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him, inquire of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and on the authority of God’s word” ~ Lamentations 3:25, AMP.
“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” ~ Philippians 2:9-11.
On our journey to discover the pathway to godly promotion, the words, “this reason,” beacon us to discern the reason mentioned for Christ’s promotion to the Name above all. Finding the answer and discovering the pathway to our own promotion requires we go backward in the passage from here. Doing so, first we look at the example of Christ that is the reason for His promotion.
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” ~ 2:5-8.
Jesus had it all. He was in the Eternal, the Omnipotent, Omnipresent God, with full authority as God. He chose to leave the Eternal, coming into the limits of a flesh being so-as-to set the example and live the life that led to sacrifice for the eternal hope of all humankind. That journey led Him back to the eternal for all time, imparting to Him as Christ, the Son of God and man, the Name above every name as King of kings and Lord of lords. Simultaneous with Jesus’ promotion, God imparted to us the Way to Truth and Life Eternal in Christ.
Jesus began where He wanted to be, came willingly to where we are, then returned to the throne that was His all along, making a path for us to follow. Christ’s example points us to two things necessary for godly promotion:
- The emptying of self.
- The humbling of self to the point of obedience.
Jesus left His high position, emptying Himself of all He had and was, to come on our behalf as Christ, Savior and King. He calls we who are in this Beloved union through Christ to the same. “Emptying self” is the call of Christ found in Luke 9:23:
“And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me’” ~ NASB.
We must do as Jesus did, denying self-interest in order to take up the cross of self-denial as exemplified in Christ. The Amplified version of this verse tells us that to deny oneself means to disown oneself by losing sight of self-interest and concern, laying down one’s own interests, to refuse and give up self-centered purposes. Denying oneself takes up God’s purpose, plan, will, and way as one’s own.
Then the Amplified Bible explains that we take up our cross as we follow Jesus, cleaving steadfastly to Him, conforming wholly to His example “in living and, if need be, in dying also.” To empty self is the mindset expressed by Paul in Galatians 2:20:
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
The Persona of Pre-Jesus, described in our Philippians passage as One existing in the form of God, willingly chose to relinquish who He was and all He had in order to walk in human flesh as the promised Messiah—fully man, while rightly God. We follow His example by emptying self of our flesh man to take up His likeness in Spirit and in Truth. Emptying oneself lays down the person we think we are and desire to be in order to discover the person He destined us to be. It lays down our individual, selfish want and any claim on one’s own life in order to take up Jesus, give Him full reign, and allow Him to complete His work on earth through us. In so doing, we become the body of Christ. This is the humbling of self before Him to the point of obedience at any cost.
God “WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation” ~ Romans 2:6-8.
Godly promotion requires dying to self-interest, humbling self to obey God, trusting Him to be God, lifting us up and taking us to higher ground in His way and on His timetable. He knows what our promotion in life looks like and what it will take on our part for us to get there. Note that Jesus received a type of promotion through a degree of renown in the earth that led to thousands following to see what he would do next. However, even the closest of His followers scattered and denied Him when He was taken into custody and only a little over 100 followers of Christ remained in that upper room after He bore His cross. The true promotion of Christ came to Him as He took His seat at the right hand of the Father in the Eternal.
We too readily work for a promotion we can see here and now, failing to focus on the treasure of Heaven. If our promotion is not what we expect, bringing hardship and challenge to us as it did to Jesus, Paul, and others of Bible times, we too readily fall away and quit working for the things of God. The heart of Jesus often hurt over those who turned away, but He did not view His success from a worldview. He saw with eternal eyes and trusted the will and way of God. God’s idea of promotion and prosperity is not worldly, but eternal.
Jesus set the example to show us the way to godly promotion through emptying of self and living humbly as servant of God, trusting all to Him. Next post we look at what God expects of us who would receive promotion.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” ~ Matthew 6:19-21 (see 1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
“If then you have been raised with Christ to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead, aim at and seek the rich, eternal treasures that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds and keep them set on what is above, the higher things, not on the things that are on the earth” ~ Colossians 3:1-2, AMP.
“Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to HOW YOU OUGHT TO WALK AND PLEASE GOD (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. For THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD, YOUR SANCTIFICATION; that is, that you ABSTAIN FROM SEXUAL IMMORALITY; that each of you KNOW HOW TO POSSESS HIS OWN VESSEL in sanctification and honor, NOT IN LUSTFUL PASSION, like the Gentiles WHO DO NOT KNOW GOD; And That No Man Transgress And Defraud His Brother In The Matter Because The Lord Is The Avenger In All These Things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So, HE WHO REJECTS THIS IS NOT REJECTING MAN BUT THE GOD who gives His Holy Spirit to you” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8.
Sexual immorality is rampant in our day, even among those who belong to God. Adultery, fornication, incest, pornography, homosexuality, rape and molestation of innocence: all these are addressed in God’s Word as being against His will for us, and we see it all in our day, in ever increasing prevalence, even among the people of God. I believe all these perversions of God’s ideal way sicken the heart of God who calls us to sanctification that has a vital purpose.
The institution of marriage and the act of marriage, as God intended it to be, is a picture of what our relationship is supposed to be like with our Holy God. It is the giving of oneself fully to one person, able to so greatly trust that person that we can be “naked” – fully exposed before them. Such intimacy is not meant to be shared with any other than the one we are intended for, the one we are to spend our life with. In likeness to our relationship with the One True God, we are to be saved and kept for the one we are meant to be with for all time.
Even to look on another so as to lust after them, which is the business of pornography, is to sin against God and against His holy institution. Premarital experience and fleshly lust rob of experiencing God’s best for us in our relationships and it hinders our ability to trust each other, which is vital to true intimacy. I know this for a fact, not only because of what the Spirit has taught me in God’s word, but unfortunately because of personal experience.
I was sexually active in my youth, not having anyone to teach me these things. I married unwisely to get out of that lifestyle and that marriage ended in divorce. When God brought my husband into my life – and He did! He has made this clear to us in many ways through our years – I struggled over my past as I began to learn the truth of God’s ideal. It hindered our intimacy for a long time, until God healed me of the consequence of my sin, delivering me from the guilt and shame, and set me free indeed. It is my hope in sharing these things that I can spare some of you the pain and struggle.
The pre-marital impurity done by or to those still waiting for their mate-in-Christ is the commission of sin against our Holy God and that intended mate. It is also sin against one’s own flesh, and I am not just talking about STDs or out of wedlock pregnancy.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases and the potential for pregnancy are just part of the consequences we can face. Sexual intimacy with another gets into the depths of our being. When we do find our mate, flashbacks of previous experiences can hit our hearts to bring us to shame. It can keep us from satisfaction with our mates and hinder our healing from that past.
With every act that is not sanctified and set apart in keeping self for one’s future partner, we do harm to these vital relationships as it affects our very personalities and expectations for marital relations. Needing to “practice” so we will be ready for our mate, knowing how to satisfy them, is a lie straight out of hell.
No two people are alike. What one likes and expects, another will abhor. If you “practice” with one and like certain things, then marry another who does not like those same things, you will be constantly dissatisfied with your mate, ill-equipped to satisfy them, and frequently tempted to go back to where your desires can be met. Sexual relations is one area where ignorance is bliss. If you come together in innocence and learn to please each other, you will be satisfied together. When you grow in your intimacy together, learn what each likes, and minister to each other’s needs, that very intimacy satiates desire and makes you one flesh together, protecting you from desire for another.
Realize, beloved one, that until a couple marries, they do not yet know that they will be married. Anything can happen to stop our plans for marriage between the proposal and the “I do”; so “we are getting married” is not a license to take to ourselves the privilege of marriage before we are legitimately wed together. TRUE LOVE WAITS! This false belief that “engaged” is the same as “married” has ruined the gift of purity for many young couples. From the instant of that first kiss of longing that makes one want to touch, all the way to the actual penetration, all of that act of intimacy is sex! It is a gift to be given on the wedding night, AFTER the “I do” is done. Scripturally, marriage does not begin until the parents give the bride to the groom and all human legalities that define marriage are fulfilled.
The next portion of our passage, “That No Man Transgress And Defraud His Brother In The Matter Because The Lord Is The Avenger In All These Things” speaks to me of the insult we do to others through failing to possess our own vessels in sanctity for our marriage partner.
Defraud: to use deceit, falsehoods, or trickery to obtain money, an object, rights or anything of value belonging to another. From the premarital encounter that destroys the gift of purity meant for another, to rape, sexual immorality done with another’s mate or against one’s own mate, any sin of immorality that is done by force against another ~ all of these are transgressions that defraud another. And all of these defraud God, for in that instant we insult the One who loves us most and rob Him of our wholehearted intimacy with Him as God and Lord.
If we are His child, such acts grieve and quench the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. Since God is always with and for the believer, we cause pain to His Holy Presence, who is made to experience our sin by virtue of His intimate knowledge of us. Such acts do great harm to our relationship with Him. And it is an act of blasphemy, as it gives God’s name in us, “Christian”, a bad reputation.
I believe the “brother” in this statement toward those we defraud could be translated “brethren,” which would mean: our brothers and sisters in Christ; our family and those we are kin to; those of the same people group; any people whose lives are touched by our sin. Even the angels in heaven who are watching God’s people and the triune-God with whom we are one are adversely affected by our sin.
When we commit adultery, we sin not only with the person we partner with in the act, but we sin against their present or future mate, their children, and all who will be touched by the pain of the consequences brought about by the sin done and exposed to light. And what does it say? “The Lord is the avenger in all things.” So the consequences that come against us because of our sin come from the very hand of God. STDs that destroy our bodies; out of wedlock pregnancies that sideline our plans for the future; marriages ended because of hurt and lack of trust; these consequences and more are allowed by God because of our sin. HE WHO REJECTS THIS IS NOT REJECTING MAN BUT GOD.
Pray as God leads you today for yourself, those you love, and all God brings to your heart today. If you have committed these sins already, repent, stop what you are doing, get right with God and seek godly council to help you correctly deal with the sin done.
Pray for the body of Christ to be sanctified and set apart in purity, delivered from perversion, and to know how to possess their own body in obedience to the Father. It is better to be a eunuch by choice than to commit acts of such sin and face the wrath of our Holy God.
If you are one who has been hurt by such sin, forgive for your own sake, so that you can be in right standing with God, able to get His perspective on the issue, and seek godly council to help you find healing and strength to carry on. Unforgiveness, bitterness and anger will hurt you! Do not hold on to these but seek the healing power of God to equip you to entrust these hurts to Him.
Whichever side of the insult you are on, beloved, whether the sinner or the one sinned against, God will heal you. He will enable you to love and to trust again as you seek His face and His grace, which is sufficient for ALL THINGS. And, as I can attest to, His healing can establish your ability to experience true intimacy with your mate, renewing the gift He intended you to give to each other alone.
“For after I turned back, I repented; And after I was instructed, I smote on my thigh; I was ashamed and also humiliated because I bore the reproach of my youth” ~ Jeremiah 31:19.
I have three children, twelve grandchildren, and many friends and acquaintances that are younger than me, and one thing I have learned through the years is that the young don’t always do what they are told. I can warn one of these from my experience of a path they are thinking of traveling, and instead of hearing and receiving the warning, they too often choose to walk the path for themselves and learn things the hard way. In the world’s economy, there is too often an unseen badge of honor we feel we have earned by learning things the hard way, by experience rather than through instruction. But in God’s kingdom, the badge of honor comes to those who hear and, through faith, obey the instruction given.
“The young don’t always do what they are told” comes to me in the voice of a Stargate SG1 character named Anteaus, a leader of the Nox in episode 107. He was not just speaking of the child Nox under his care, but he was speaking of the SG1 team and the people of earth. What has me thinking on this subject this beautiful Sunday afternoon?
On my way home after Church, mulling over the message and its application to me personally, the Spirit, in the voice of Anteaus, said to me—about me, “The young don’t always do what they are told.”
I am nearing 60 years of age, an elder in our society, yet to God whose age is beyond number, I am “the young.” Still, at my age, I too often fail to hear fully what God is telling me. There are a couple of things we flesh beings are prone to do when we are not hearing and receiving through faith God’s instruction to us with understanding and clear comprehension:
One – We too often hear, but then add more to His instruction than He intended we bear; just like Adam and Eve. Adam was told not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Yet somehow when the serpent asked Eve about it, it was translated to and through her as, “We are not to eat, or even touch it!” (Genesis 3) So one way we fail to do what we are told is by making God’s instruction burdensome by adding to it things that He did not intend us to bear. Or, if you are like me, we often add things that make it less our fault when we fail, as you will see in my example below.
I am not beyond making God’s instruction to me more difficult or convenient by adding ultimatums or a way out beyond what He instructed me. Just today God instructed me through 1 Peter 1:1-2 that we are chosen for the purpose of obedience to Christ. As I noted that in my study notes, I had to scratch two words out as I wrote, “We are chosen for the purpose of obedience to
and through Christ.”
Now is the “and through” untrue? No. I can do nothing apart from Christ (John 15). And it is through the Spirit of God that I am empowered (Romans 8:13; Galatians 5). But in that moment God was instructing me that I must choose to obey. It is my responsibility to hear and obey: my choice, given me by God, to do so. As a result, as soon as I finished writing “obedience to and through Christ,” God caught my attention with “That is not what My word says,” and I had to scratch the “and through” to take responsibility for the “to do” I am called to.
Two: Another way we fail to do what we are told is through forgetfulness or by setting God’s instruction aside and ignoring it altogether. No matter how old I get, and even the older I get, the more prone to forgetfulness I am. How many times of late I have slapped my thigh with the words, “Man! I forgot.” I have to deliberately work to grasp hold on God’s instruction and choose to do it with determined conviction and deliberate effort to remember. I know that, from the earliest Bible days to now, I am not alone in this struggle, as Paul and Peter both often taught “by way of reminder, lest you forget.” And farther back still, God would have the patriarchs of faith set up altars of remembrance, so when they would see it, they and their children would be reminded of the ways of the Lord, what He did for them, and His instruction to them.
No matter how old we get in this life, we have to remember to take care, for “The young do not always do what they are told.” Like the child Nox and the SG1 team in episode 107, when we fail to hear and receive instruction, we very often get ourselves into a world of hurt that could be avoided if we would only listen with intent to put into practice the wisdom of those older and wiser: especially when that Older, Wiser One is God the Father.