October 17, 2015

Christian Manifesto VIII: Good and Pleasing to God

Declaration VIII: God's Will Is Paramount

I care about what God cares about. What is important to God is important to me. If things please God that means they are holy and righteous. These are the things I care about. I believe I need to align my thinking and therefore my life to God if I expect anything positive to come out of this life. Although my sin will often lead me astray down paths I don’t wish to go, I still have a heart for God. Because my sin will often lead me astray in error I will appear I am being hypocritical, I am in reality succumbing to the flesh and the evil it breeds even in a believer.

1 Timothy 2:1-3 ~ “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.”

Paul urges Timothy that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people. Even for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. Paul realizes that the welfare of a nation, a community a family and individual rests first upon God Himself which is the One we petition and pray to. Secondly, the act of petitioning and prayer puts in direct communication with God in a personal manner. This is something that a person walking away from God is not doing. They have no relationship with God. Many of the verse of the Bible that mention pleasing God have to do with the direct obedient relationship to God. Not because he is a demanding ogre but because God knows what is best for the one’s He creates.

The things that God desires of man, the things that make man more like Him are all over the verse that speak to pleasing God. The characteristics reads like the what’s what of righteousness and blamelessness: sacrifice, service, bearing fruit, good work, prayers, petition, thanksgiving and on they go. The focus of one’s mind determines the direction of their walk. The direction of one’s walk determines their destination. The destination can be an immediate destination and a long-term one. Thoughts and actions get you where you are going in the immediate sense and they will determine your end in judgment also. Will you do things morally and ethically correct in accord with Scripture or will you fall away from what you were created for by God which was originally holiness?

Pleasing God comes down to a set of decisions. Some will be easy but others will be excruciating.

Too many times people are content doing whatever they want to do. They do what is right in their own eyes and disregard not only God but also the prosperity of others. We saw the same in the time of the Judges in the Bible. This happened because there was no godly leadership. Not in society and by implication, not in homes either. People had turned their backs to God. In so doing the leadership roles and seats of power that should’ve been filled by godly people were abdicated and empty. Empty like the moral bank accounts of the people in the time of Judges and apparently today also.

We see the lack of godly leadership in today in the racial and economic division, injustice, widespread sexual immorality and in the ethical ambiguity. The people that we do have to choose from as candidates in leadership elections are people with multiple divorces, multiple abortions, Hollywood ideologues, feminists, homosexuals, criminals, etc. They have religious convictions and morality as porous as their morality. We then wonder why these same people have distorted morals and ethics that put them in direct opposition to the bible believing, God-obedient Christian and their value system. We cannot active do things to help them see their error but we can indirectly pray for them in intercession.

Judges 17:6 ~ “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

Instead of good leadership that breeds continuity and unity we see just the opposite in society. We live in a society of selfish people, rude behavior and crude sexual images. Here in the Northeast and I-95 corridor, the frantic pace nearly forces us to overlook and bypass our neighbors in favor of manic work schedules and life flow. Epidemic consumerism and materialism are the hallmarks of today’s culture. Racism, classism, feminism and gender confusion, crime and fear seem to reign. Yet, at the same time I must acknowledge that I do not often pray for those that darken the counsel of good leadership. I do not pray for upright thinking in leadership and society in general near as much as I should. I suggest that many of us don’t or things would be different in society, don’t you think?

The discontinuity of unrighteous man vying for control of the world system destroys individual relationships, families and societies. That is why the divorce rate is astronomical and it is an “every man for themselves” mentality in society today. Had people stayed close to the principles of the Bible we would be a well-founded community and families would more likely stay together. As they say, families that pray together, stay together. Things would not be perfect because we like in a fallen world but they certainly would not be as dysfunctional and messed up as they are now. The Bible, Jesus and the Gospel should sit at the center of all lives as a foundation stone of a righteous upright life.

Our job as Christians is to pray to rectify this situation just as it was in Paul’s day. There have always been corrupt leaders such as Antiochus Epiphanes IV, Nero, Caligula, Hitler, Saddam Hussein. We should always be praying as Christians and believers in the One True God that God that the evil of these men be stifled and limited. Whenever and wherever possible, we should pray that they be brought to a genuine faith in God. By being brought to a true faith…these men wouldn’t have been murderous tyrants.

Where there has been no fear of God, there has been little or no wisdom. We need to pray that God causes a revival and a turn back to godly ways or we will continue to meander down a path to national destruction. This is pleasing to God.

Romans 12:1 ~ Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

2 Corinthians 5:9 ~ “Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.”

Galatians 1:10 ~ For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

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