The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe...
The Christian life involves many choices to trust and submit to God amid the challenges of a fallen world. We must consistently and increasingly "choose life" in order to honor our Lord Jesus Christ and impact our world for His glory (Deuteronomy 30:19).
What leads us to make those choices? How can we grow in the faith and faithfulness whereby we live our lives "doing the will of God from the heart?" (Ephesians 6:6). The first and primary answer lies in the work of God in our hearts. Let us consider a number of aspects of this grace that motivates and empowers the exercising of our will to trust and obey.
The Presence of God - "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). To have expectation of faithfulness to God as defined by the New Testament, His indwelling presence in our hearts is required. "Without Me, ye can do nothing" declared the Lord Jesus (John 15:5). God made us to be His spiritual dwellingplace whereby He lives in us, and we live through Him. Only thereby can we make the choices that lead to consistent godliness. "Christ liveth in me, and the life I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20).
The Power of God - "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might" (Ephesians 6:10). What if we had woken up this morning to discover we must live the Christian life by our own self-motivation and capability? What if our Heavenly Father had appeared to us and said, "I want you to be like My Son today in thought, attitude, word, and deed. Now have at it!" Yikes! Thankfully, "the power of His might" serves as the internal dynamic whereby we find ourselves enabled by God's grace received by faith. "Let us have grace, that we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear" (Hebrews 12:28).
The Plenty of God - "His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness" (II Peter 1:3). No matter how great the challenge, the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit makes possible our choice to trust and obey. We don't always do so, of course. However, believers have never had a moment when we chose to distrust and disobey when we could not have done otherwise. We are supercharged vessels of godliness through the abundance of spiritual life given to us when we trusted in Christ (John 10:10; Ephesians 3:20). This we must believe about ourselves because it is true, and because we are far more likely to make faithful choices when we believe them to be possible through Christ.
The Persistence of God - "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). As we frequently suggest in these messages, our faithfulness to God is in direct proportion to our understanding of His faithfulness to us. The more we discover how persistently He works in us "both to will and to do of His good pleasure, the more we find ourselves persistently making choices to trust and obey Him (Philippians 2:12-13). Every act of faithfulness in our lives flows from the grace of the Lord Jesus, as received by the faith of the believer. "The just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17). Knowing our Father's persistence regarding "the good work in you" empowers us to perform good works by Him.
The Patience of God - I would have given up on me a long time ago. Indeed, after being a believer for nearly 45 years, I find myself more and more realizing how patiently longsuffering our Heavenly Father is. What a perfect word to describe God's patience - longsuffering. Solomon taught us that God finishes what He starts (Ecclesiastes 3:14). The patience required for completing the project to conform us to the image of Christ is a wondrous thing that tells us so much about our blessed Lord. Moreover, it leads to our "patient continuance in well doing" (Romans 2:7) "Thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth" (Psalm 86:15).
The Purpose of God - to make us like His Son. Everything our Father does in life moves with the current of Christlikeness being formed in us. The beloved Romans 8:28 that assures us that "all things work together for good to them that love God" can only be rightly understood if we proceed to consider Romans 8:29: "to be conformed to the image of His Son." The Lord Jesus lived a lifetime making choice after choice to trust and obey His Father. "I do always those things that please Him" (John 8:29). As we more and more realize God's purpose of making us like the Savior, we will more and more make the requisite choices that reflect the light of Christ in us.
Finally, the Perfection of God. "As for God, His way is perfect" (II Samuel 22:31). We must have the strongest conviction that our Heavenly Father's determinations and allowances in our lives are governed by perfect love, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. Satan ever seeks to discourage our confidence in the Lord's intentions and capability. We must resist such deception, determining within our hearts that "His way is perfect" regardless of whether or not we understand the pristine execution of His divine purposes. "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 32:4).
These and countless other truths increasingly formed within our hearts and minds result in increasingly formed determinations to make the moment by moment, day by day choices that comprise the Christian life. As a final suggestion, note the God-centered emphasis of the consideration. Indeed, we shall not venture far down the path of righteousness if we emphasize our human response, vital as it is. Walking with God rather begins and continues by emphasizing His divine action that leads to our response. The writer of Hebrews declared such grace in a declaration unsurpassed regarding the perspective that leads to piety and the choices of faith and faithfulness....
"Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith."
"Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
(II Corinthians 3:18)
Weekly Memory Verse
Thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness."