Monday, July 03, 2006

Blameless Life - Psalm 15:2

It’s all about purity. Pure actions, pure speech, pure thoughts. We cannot achieve this purity on our own. Let’s ask God for His assistance.

Being pure may not be popular, but it is the right thing to do. But how do we determine what is righteous behavior? Jiminy Cricket sang about letting your conscience be your guide. I believe that “still, small voice” is the Holy Spirit, and that He will actively guide you through life. I also know that it’s possible to ignore His voice even when He’s shouting at you full volume from the inside! This is especially true when you’ve been hurt and you’re angry. Our natural response is to counter-attack, but we must reach for God, instead.

So, how can we protect ourselves? I suggest creating an action plan to test every decision against the Word of God. If we’re in the routine of ignoring the counsel of the Spirit, we must establish a habit of returning our focus to God in all circumstances. This will keep our thoughts in the proper place and make it easier to hear Him when He is trying to direct our paths.

Walk This Way

Who can we follow in order to walk blamelessly? Only Christ is blameless. We are terribly flawed, so don’t make the mistake of patterning your walk after another human being. Only by following Jesus can we hope to walk blamelessly. And I can speak for more than a few of us, I’m sure, when I say that there are a few things Jesus did that we would have difficulty doing to follow Him. Like love. There are days that I doubt my ability to love like He does.

God’s love provided a way that we can be in His presence: the blood of Jesus! Christ suffered the humiliation of the cross for the express purpose of restoring our relationship with our Father. His blood covers our sin, allowing us to dwell in the sanctuary of the Most High God. Without Jesus, we cannot enter God’s presence because He cannot be in the presence of sin.

Who does what is righteous?

Only Jesus does. That is why we must follow his example. Our only hope to live a righteous life is to live like Jesus did. Look up the following scriptures for examples of Jesus’ behavior. (Matthew 4:1-10, Matthew 26:63, Mark 2:15, Mark 4:33, Mark 6:1-4, Luke 3:21, Luke 10:21, Luke 11:1, John 2:1-2, John 11:35.

Ephesians 5:1 says that we should be imitators of God in the way that a child imitates his parent. But our goal should not be to merely mimic how Christ lived. Although that would be a definite improvement on how I behave sometimes. Our goal should be to allow Christ to live through us. He does this by filling us with the Holy Spirit. Christ lives through us, because He lives in us!

Straight From The Heart

Jesus always spoke the truth. I wish I could say the same for myself. He really loved the people He dealt with. He knew that He was going to die for them. So He told them the truth, but with great love. Look at some of His encounters in the gospels. He didn’t sugar-coat His Word. He even offended some people. But He never attacked them. He did what was best for them because He loved them.

It’s easier to fix something if you know what’s really broken. I learned this while I was working as a computer technician. Someone would call with a problem and want me to fix it. But when I would ask them questions in an attempt to determine how the problem arose so I could fix it, some people would actually lie rather than admit to making a mistake. This sometimes meant hours of trial and error on my part as I tried to fix the computer. However, if they would have told me the truth about what happened, the fix would have taken minutes. Since human egos are fragile, and must be treated gently, I tried to educate my customers by telling them that mistakes happen and I could better serve them if I had all of the pertinent information. In some cases, this was sufficient motivation for the client to tell me the truth about what actually happened.

My Pastor reminded me of the tenderness of the human psyche when he taught me something during a Mother’s Day sermon about passing on the blessing to our children. He said that he learned this while coaching his young children’s sports teams. The phrase he said that resonated with me was “shout encouragement and whisper correction.” It makes perfect sense to me. The truth needs to be spoken, but the truth is not always pleasant. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean we can ignore the bad and only deal with the good that comes along. Even I admit that I don’t mind receiving kudos in front of other people, but to be humiliated by a public reprimand sours my spirit. And frankly, it motivates me toward some rather ungodly behavior.

What I really like is that this advice doesn’t just apply to raising children. It’s how we should treat others if we are in any type of position of authority. And it’s how we should be treated by people in authority over us.

Sometimes, you can cushion a painful truth with your tone of voice, the setting in which you have your conversation, and the body language you use. It’s not always effective to advise someone to speak to another individual as they would like to be told. We all process information differently, so we must be sensitive to each other. I will confess that “shout encouragement and whisper correction” will become by Mommy mantra. And I will still ask God to work through me to obey His word on this subject:

Go ahead. Memorize Psalm 15:2.