Simply No Excuse!
I’m sure I’m not the only one.
In fact, I’m positive I’m not the only child of God who has said something, or done something that undermines the integrity of the Christian stance we’ve taken and the godly pathway upon which we’ve chosen to walk.
But doing so, provides my enemies with ammunition, which they have no hesitation in using. And so, with perfect glee (whether behind my back or at point-blank range), they shoot and scoff: Call yourself a Christian do you? What a hypocrite! Now the fact that other people have fallen in this regard does not excuse me. As a child of God, I’m not called to measure myself against others but against God’s Word, His Will, His standards.
Stock-Check Your Spiritual Life
The Bible clearly tells us to examine ourselves (our thoughts, our attitudes, our conduct):
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. (2 Corinthians 13:5 NKJV)
Another version puts it this way:
Check up on yourselves. Are you really Christians? Do you pass the test? Do you feel Christ’s presence and power more and more within you? Or are you just pretending to be Christians when actually you aren’t at all? (2 Corinthians 13:5-6 The Living Bible).
So how often do we stop and do this?
It is only as we take an inventory of our beliefs and our behaviour that we can comply with this request.
Unfortunately, we are more likely to focus our telescope or magnifying glass upon the deeds of others, than upon ourselves. No wonder Jesus issues a reprimand about seeking to remove a small spec from the eyes of those around us, whilst a log obscures our own vision and discernment!
Are You Play-acting Through Life?
Nobody wants to be a hypocrite.
I certainly don’t and I’m 100% sure that you don’t want to be one either.
Now don’t get me wrong. I get that we are not perfect beings and that we’ll never reach that stage of absolute perfection until Jesus returns. However, we do have a responsibility to live as true to our confession of faith and commitment to Christ, as far as we possibly can.
We do not want to be like the Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees of Jesus’ day, whom he denounced as “white-washed sepulchres”.
And we don’t want to be guilty of using our righteousness and liberty as a cloak to hide, or perpetuate a sinful lifestyle (1 Peter 2:15-16).
So how can we be sure that we are doing our utmost to live up to God’s standard of holiness?
As already suggested above, we can regularly examine our hearts and our lives.
And, as David did, we can ask God to search our hearts and reveal any hidden ways of rebellion and dishonesty.
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23 KJV).
Before I go on, let me make something perfectly clear. Righteousness is not the same as holiness.
Righteousness –v- Self-righteous Rituals or Religious observance
Righteousness is our legal standing of approval and acceptance in God’s eyes.
Righteousness is a state of being which God has imputed to us because of our faith in Jesus Christ, because of that precious blood which He had shed for us, thereby justifying us in God’s sight.
Righteousness is a quality that cannot be increased or decreased. Just as daytime does not become night simply because rain clouds accumulate and dark skies occur, so the condition of righteousness we’ve been given, cannot be undone or contaminated by good or not so good deeds.
Holiness on the other hand is a godly standard of living. It can be maintained. It can be increased or it can be undermined.
Religious observance is not holiness. And rituals or legalistic rules do not constitute holiness.
From my understanding of the scriptures, I believe that holiness is a decision to separate oneself from the corrupting influences of the world. I believe it is a loving and submissive obedience to God, which results in reverence for and towards him, plus respect for and towards others.
When we indulge in behaviour that displeases our Father God and stands at odds to what we know we ought to do, then (provided our hearts have not become callous), the Holy Spirit convicts us. He does this as we read God’s Word, as we receive the counsel and teaching ministry of those placed in authority over us, or through His direct promptings within our hearts.
A Heart He Smites, Is a Heart that will do right!
Even King David revealed that his heart “smote” (i.e. convicted) him when he’d sinned.
And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.” (2 Samuel 24:10 KJV)
The other day, I read a post from one of my blogger friends, where the Holy Spirit “smote” her heart about a less than Christ-like behaviour. You can read about it here.
I laughed as I imagined the scenario and could identify with that temptation to become impatient and engage in behaviour which condemns us later down the road.
And indeed, there have been those occasions where my own heart “smote” me for un Christ-like behaviour, such as indulging in gossip and backbiting.
Dear reader, perhaps you can relate.
There are periods in our lives when we feel “enough is enough” and, taking umbrage because of other times in the past when we were pushed around or made to feel like a doormat, we charge full steam ahead, pushing our way past those who dare to stand in the way of our self-esteem.
Friends, as we go about our day-to-day lives, let us not forget that we are actually living, breathing, letters being read by others. It may be strangers. It may be work colleagues. It may be family or friends. But you can jolly well bet that amongst those onlookers, there will be a few enemies. So let us diligently strive to walk on God’s Highway of Holiness, so that our lives make at least good, if not riveting reading!
This Week’s Prayer Focus: (Don’t forget to put on your spiritual armour before entering the battlefield of prayer!)
Let’s pray for ourselves and for one another in the body of Christ that we will pay heed to James’ admonition to be “doers of the word, and not hearers only…” (James 1:21-24)
We come before you in meekness and with humility. Forgive us for those days when we fall far short of your standard of holiness. Forgive us when we indulge in less than Christ-like behaviour, in order to assert our rights or upholster our self-esteem.
Help us to remember Christ’s example in the face of challenging or humiliating circumstances. Help us to remember that he chose the path of obedience and humility and, as we recall his example, may we choose to emulate him.
O Lord God, help us to also remember the behaviour of Christ’s religious contemporaries, which stood at odds to His gospel. Let us take warning from this and examine our own ways.
Lord Jesus, we thank you for your precious, efficacious blood that even now speaks on our behalf from the mercy seat in heaven. We thank you that your blood speaks of nobler things than the blood of Abel, which had cried out for vengeance. We are so grateful to you that your blood cries out “mercy”, “forgive them for they know not what they do”. And we thank you dear Lord Jesus that whilst you are seated beside our Heavenly Father, you continue to make intercession for us.
Holy Spirit, what a precious gift you are to us. During the coming days, weeks, months and perhaps even years, help us to walk worthy of our calling. Help us to walk uprightly upon that Highway of Holiness. Whenever we stumble or fall, or deliberately desert that path, motivate us to repent, arise and move forward, confident that we are righteous in God’s sight. Finally, we ask that you make us zealous in our commitment to please and obey our Father God, in all of our ways.
We ask this in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.
© Carol Hind
Author of: Petitions From My Heart
(If you live in the UK click here)
Women of Warfare followers and visitors have a wonderful and victorious week!
Did you enjoy reading this post? If so, please share your thoughts in a comment box below. Do you know someone whom would benefit from its message? Then please don’t hesitate to share it. Thank you.
***** ***** *****
Sunday’s Supplications invites you to not only read the posts but also participate in the prayers. Let’s pray for ourselves and for each other. Let’s obey God’s command to watch and pray for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18)
Please note, you do not have to be a blogger to join this praying community.
***** ***** *****
CREDITS: The above CC0 images come courtesy of Pixabay.com