Honorable Living

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession. 1 Peter 2:9

While delivering a well-publicized speech, a respected leader and statesman got the attention of his nation by declaring that most of his country’s honorable Members of Parliament (MPs) were quite dishonorable. Citing lifestyles of corruption, pompous attitudes, unsavory language, and other vices, he rebuked the MPs and urged them to reform. As expected, his comments didn’t go well with them and they dispatched counter-criticisms his way.

We may not be public officials in positions of leadership, but we who follow Christ are a “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” (1 Peter 2:9). As such, our Lord calls us to lifestyles that honor Him.

We honor God’s name when we call Him our Father and live like His children.

The disciple Peter had some practical advice on how to do this. He urged us to “abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul” (v. 11). Although he didn’t use the word honorable, he was calling us to behavior worthy of Christ.

As the apostle Paul phrased it in his letter to the Philippians, “Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Phil. 4:8). Indeed, these are the characteristics of behavior that honor our Lord.

Lord, when we are honest with You, we understand how often we fall far short of honorable behavior. We know how much we need You. By Your Spirit, help us replace any selfish thoughts, words, and actions with things that please You and draw others to You.

We honor God’s name when we call Him our Father and live like His children.

By Lawrence Darmani

God’s Tools for Making Us Holy

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Sanctification is the process God uses to conform believers to the image of His Son. The writers of Scripture used word pictures that speak of the Father’s shaping work in the life of His saints. Isaiah, for example, compared the Lord to an artist making pottery: “We are the clay and You our potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand” (Isa. 64:8). These are some of the tools He utilizes to mold and perfect His creations:

The Bible. The psalmist described God’s Word as “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps. 119:105). The Holy Spirit illuminates what we read so that we can come under conviction and grow in our faith.

The Church. As part of Christ’s body, we learn of God’s ways from the pastors and teachers who have been called to minister. The Father also calls His children to fellowship together (Heb. 10:25), in part so He can use them in each other’s sanctification process. Not only that, but there are Christians at church who will encourage their brothers and sisters in times of trouble or hold them accountable when they miss the mark.

Suffering. God freely offers us solace and help during times of difficulty, but He also uses our painful circumstances to shape us. When we submit to Him, we emerge from our struggles looking more Christlike than ever before.

From the moment a person places trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s transforming work of sanctification will be ongoing throughout his or her life. As children of the King, we should long to glorify our Father by faithfully reflecting Him. To do that, we must yield to His tools of sanctification.

Our Rock: The Creator

“Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.” (Deuteronomy 32:18)

Just before his death, Moses predicted the coming apostasy of Israel in a prophetic “history” of Israel. Not only did his prophecy come true for the nation of Israel, but the same could be said for much of Western Christianity today.

Moses recounted the fact that Israel had been blessed greatly of the Lord, but instead of drawing closer to Him, they grew “fat, and . . . Forsook God which made [them], and lightly esteemed the Rock of [their] salvation” (Deuteronomy 32:15). The use of the term “rock” refers to the rock that Moses struck, yielding water to sustain them in the parched desert region. The rock followed the people on their journeys and provided an ever-present reminder of God’s marvelous provision. (If one should further doubt as to the identity of the Rock, “that Rock was Christ,” 1 Corinthians 10:4.) They totally forgot, however, the God of their creation and salvation, and sacrificed to demons, old gods, and to any new gods around (Deuteronomy 32:17).

God has given us life, and without His daily sustenance all life would cease. How foolish it is to attempt to live life without the One “that begat” us—who gave us life and even now maintains it. All too often the Creator God is excluded from our churches, our government, and our schools. Even many Christians live their lives as practical atheists, making decisions and living their lives just as if no God exists. Let us recommit ourselves to giving the rightful place in our lives and in our sphere of influence to “the Rock that begat” us.

“I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect; for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deuteronomy 32:3-4). JDM

No Compromise with Sin

To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. —2 Corinthians 5:19

But how can God say to the sinner, “I’ll move over halfway”” Can He say, “You’re blind, so I’ll move over and be half blind, and you’ll move over and be half blind…”? And thus by God coming halfway and compromising Himself, could He and man be reconciled? To do that God would have to void His Godhead and cease to be God.

I’d rather go to hell than go to a heaven presided over by a god who would compromise with sin, and I believe every true man and woman would feel the same. We want God to be the holy God that He is…. The prodigal son and his father did not meet halfway to the far country. The boy came clear back where he belonged. And so the sinner in his repentance comes all the way back to God, and God doesn’t move from His holy position of infinite holiness, righteousness and loveliness, world without end.

God never compromises and comes halfway down. God stays the God that He is. This is the God we adore—our faithful, unchangeable Friend whose love is as great as His power and knows neither limit nor end. We don’t want God to compromise. We don’t want God to wink at our iniquity. We want God to do something about it. AOG130-131

Thank You, Father, that You never compromise but instead provide a way for me to come to You through Your Son. What a plan! Amen.

Prayer and The Spirit of God

We know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit maketh intercession for us. (Romans 8:26)

Probably none of us really know as much about prayer as we should—but as students of the Word of God we may agree that only the Spirit can pray effectively.

The idea has been expressed that “wrestling in prayer” is always a good thing, but that is by no means true. Extreme religious “exercises” may be undergone with no higher motive than to get our own way!

The spiritual quality of a prayer is determined not by its intensity but by its origin. In evaluating prayer we should inquire who is doing the praying—our determined hearts, or the Holy Spirit? If the prayer originates with the Spirit, then the wrestling can be beautiful and wonderful; but if we are the victims of our own overheated desires, our praying can be as carnal as any other act.

Consider Jacob’s wrestling: “a man wrestled with him till daybreak.” But when Jacob had been beaten upon, he cried, “I will not let you go unless you bless me!” That wrestling was of divine origin, and the blessed results are known to every Bible student!

The Eternal Watcher is evermore fixed upon us

In all our wanderings the watchful glance of the Eternal Watcher is evermore fixed upon us—we never roam beyond the Shepherd’s eye. In our sorrows he observes us incessantly, and not a pang escapes him; in our toils he marks all our weariness, and writes in his book all the struggles of his faithful ones. These thoughts of the Lord encompass us in all our paths, and penetrate the innermost region of our being.

Dear reader, is this precious to you? then hold to it. The Lord liveth and thinketh upon us, this is a truth far too precious for us to be lightly robbed of it. If the Lord thinketh upon us, all is well, and we may rejoice evermore.