Tuesday, March 13, 2012

WALKING IN GOD'S WAYS TO ACCOMPLISH GOD'S WILL

Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths…For you are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.  Psalm 25: 5

If God told me it was His will for me to be wealthy, I would not then go out and rob a bank or steal from my neighbors. I would believe His promise and give myself to diligent and honest labor. I would need to please the Lord in character and behavior as I sought to attain the goal He had set before me.
This principle applies to every aspect of our daily life. We must not violate God's ways in attempting to accomplish God's will. We must not employ Satan’s methods nor act in the flesh in attempting to accomplish a spiritual work or in attempting to persuade others to do the right thing. If I have the right position in an argument, I must also keep a right disposition. Godly character is necessary in accomplishing godly goals.

If Satan cannot keep God’s purpose hidden, he will make suggestions as to the method and timing of its fulfillment.
Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” And Jesus answered and said, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written,‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” Luke 4: 5-8.

The verses above show a typical strategy of the enemy. Satan was not trying to hide the fact that Jesus came to be ruler over all the earth, but was offering advice on how to accomplish it. He was trying to sabotage God’s plan by intruding and inserting his ways into the process. He was saying, “You are going to rule the world, and I’d like to help you accomplish that goal. Worship me and I will give it to you now, easier, quicker, and without all the trouble, pain, and inconvenience you will have to face otherwise.” Jesus rebuked the devil and told him to be gone.

David’s Example
Then Abishai said to David, "God has delivered you enemy into your hand this day. Now let me strike him at once with the spear…." But David said…"Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless….The Lord shall strike him.” 1 Samuel 26:8; (see also 1 Samuel 24: 1-6)

On two occasions David had opportunity to strike Saul, but refused to do so because he knew it would be contrary to God’s way and would not represent obedience and faith. In both instances Saul had placed himself in a vulnerable position where David could very easily have slain him. In both situations David’s men became the voice of the devil offering advice. They whispered to him, “This is the day of which the Lord spoke saying He will deliver your enemies into your hand. You can kill Saul now and fulfill God’s promise.” But David would not allow himself to profane God’s promise. He would not try to fulfill it in a rebellious spirit and bring guilt upon himself. David knew God’s purpose would be realized as he walked in faith and integrity. He rejected the ungodly suggestion, chose to walk in God’s ways, and trusted God to fulfill His word. Had David’s heart been filled with ambition, resentment, or hate, he would have been susceptible to the enemy’s voice. He would have killed Saul and brought a stain upon his character.

Removing the Handles
The ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in me.  John 14:3

A major tool of the enemy is to incite people to walk in a wrong spirit in trying to accomplish a right goal. He comes to us as tempter and seducer. He would like to hide God’s will from us, but if he is unable to do that, he will try to intrude into the process by using anything in our hearts that provides a handle for him to grip. He appeals to our rebellious tendencies to influence us to follow his methods and act in ways that are displeasing to God. If my motives are wrong, the devil will dangle the very purpose of God before me in his attempts to influence me to walk in Satan's ways. Wrong motives and an evil heart provide opportunity and a place for the devil. These things make us susceptible to his offer of an easier and quicker way to get what we want.
A good heart learns faith and patience. We must behave ourselves and wait on the Lord.

“Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.” Psalm 86: 11

Saturday, March 3, 2012

SANCTIFYING THE LORD

Being Aware of God
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts...” 1 Peter 3: 15
“For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God (consciousness of God)” one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.” 1 Peter 2: 19

“Sanctify” means to separate or set apart. “Sanctifying the Lord” means to set Him apart from and above all else so that you are aware of Him no matter what else is occurring around you. It is a careful and diligent regard for God that stirs us to obedience during daily interaction with people and life.

A practical example of this principle is the school classroom. When I was a child classrooms were peaceful, orderly, and quiet—while the teacher was in the room. But when the teacher left the room, students would often become noisy and wild. The teacher’s presence made the difference. Sanctifying the Lord means you recognize that God is “in the room” and you behave accordingly.

A person who does not keep God in mind will react to people and circumstances with ungodly behavior and ungodly language, but a child of God will act with conscience toward God and obey Him rather than reacting to circumstances.

Another Person’s Sin is No Excuse for Mine.
“And Jehovah said to Moses and Aaron, Because you did not believe in Me, to sanctify Me before the eyes of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring in this congregation to the land which I have given to them.” Numbers 20: 10-12

When we do not sanctify the Lord we focus on and react to the world around us without thought for what we must do to please Christ. Moses, for example, became angry at the unbelief and sin of the people around him, and in his frustration he disobeyed the Lord by striking the rock instead of speaking to it as he was instructed to do. In his anger at the people he ignored God and used their wickedness as an excuse for his disobedience. As a result he was not allowed to enter the promised land. God does not accept the actions of others as an excuse for my disobedience.

“What about that man?” John 21: 18-22
When Jesus told Peter that he would become a martyr, Peter pointed to John and said, “What about that man?” Jesus responded, “What is that to you? You follow me.” This statement reminds us of a point I made in an earlier post. The two primary characters on the stage of my life are God and me. I should fulfill my own obedience and do what pleases Him in all my dealings with other people, regardless of what they do. When I stand before God I cannot say, “I disobeyed you because my neighbor made me angry.” He will say, “Your neighbor made you angry, but you sinned against me.” You will say, “How did I sin against you?” He will then respond, “Inasmuch as you did it to the least of these, you did it unto Me.”

I am responsible to do what Jesus requires of me despite what others do. In all circumstances I am to follow Him. My responses and actions are to please Him and reflect obedience to His word and ways. My awareness of God and my desire to please Him governs my actions toward others and toward life itself.

“As the eyes of the servants look to the hand of their masters, so our eyes look to the Lord our God.” Psalm 123: 2