“Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed”
“We may regard this inspired prayer as containing within itself the assurance that those who keep close to the Word of God shall never have cause to be ashamed of doing so.
See, the prayer is for soundness of heart. A sound creed is good, a sound judgment concerning it is better, but a sound heart towards the truth is best of all. We must love the truth, feel the truth, and obey the truth, otherwise, we are not truly sound in God’s statutes. Are there many in these evil days who are sound? Oh, that the writer and the reader may be two of this sort!
Many will be ashamed in the last great day when all disputes will be decided. Then they will see the folly of their inventions, and be filled with remorse because of their proud infidelity and willful defiance of the Lord; but he who believed what the Lord taught, and did what the Lord commanded, will stand forth justified in what he did. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun. Men much slandered and abused shall find their shame turned into glory in that day” Charles Spurgeon
Soundness of heart is an authentic heart, a heart free from duplicity and hypocrisy. The inward reality is congruent with the words spoken and the life lived.
“Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart”
“The righteous who walks in his integrity — blessed are his children after him!”
Integrity as parents does not mean that everything we do is right; it means that we walk in an authenticity that is communicated to our children. Parenting is a very demanding and often heart-wrenching experience as we discover our own lack of wisdom, our own selfishness, and above all our need to learn from our heavenly Father. Parenthood offers an opportunity to grow and develop in wisdom. The grace of integrity is what communicates our relationship with Christ in a way that is most understood by our children. Despite our mistakes, shortcomings, and our own ignorance, it is most critical to display a walk of integrity. Duplicity, hypocrisy, and deceit are most damaging to our children. The greatest sermon to our children is the one we live. Mistakes and personal faults are inevitable in our dealings within our families and without. It is what we DO with them that determines the blessings we pass on to our children.
“So speak ye and so do”
The above scripture may be the clearest definition of integrity. It is a description of one whose inward life is correlated with the outward one. In our earnest pursuit of an authentic walk, the words of our mouth are validated by the life we live. This lifelong quest is one filled with moments of inconsistencies and failure yet having the integrity to embrace our deficiencies as a means of our growth in God is a vital lesson for our children to see the grace of God still at work in our own lives.
“Train up a child in the way he should go – but be sure you go that way yourself”
The Legacy of Life is a chief concern of those in whom the fire of Christ burns. There is an intense desire to pass on the truth of His power and His might to the next generation. They no longer seek their own legacy; they choose to live life in such a way that the next generation would know in a much greater way the wonder of His Glory. Their singular intent is that His Light would grow “more and more unto the perfect day” in succeeding generations.
“So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come”
The love of Christ reaches out to others. It frees us from self-centered objectives through the workings of the Cross of Christ within. There is a new desire to touch the lives of the coming generation with the pure truth of Christ.
“…since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things”
2 Peter 1:14-15
“A Righteous Person
is one who lives
for the next generation” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The idiosyncratic life describes the true Disciple of Christ – Christ likeness creates a life lived outside the norm of any culture, worldly protocols and the conformity to the Ethos of the world. His purpose is to prepare a people who are home in His World and in so doing the disciple must be freed from this one.
“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory…”
1 Peter 1:8
“A real Christian is an odd number anyway. He feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen, talks familiarly every day to Someone he cannot see, expects to go to heaven on the virtue of Another, empties himself in order to be full, admits he is wrong so he can be declared right, goes down in order to get up, is strongest when he is weakest, richest when he is poorest, and happiest when he feels worst. He dies so he can live, forsakes in order to have, gives away so he can keep, sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, and knows that which passeth knowledge. And all the while he may be confounding his critics by his unbelievable practicality: his farm may be the most productive, his business the best managed, and his mechanical skill the sharpest of anyone in his neighborhood”
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord… and I will receive you“
2 Corinthians 6:17
Jesus felt no compulsion to answer this rhetorical and ostentatious question of Pilate. Nor does He respond to those today whose ideas of truth lie only in statements and confessions. Without a living relationship with Christ, truth is merely an opinion, a belief, or a concept born of predispositions or persuasions. There is nothing concrete or absolute in its origin. Some believe one thing; some believe another thing. If truth is simply esoteric in nature and exists only in intellectual assumptions, then the philosophical question “What is Truth?” bears testimony to a lost humanity declaring its own existence as futile and vain. The span of time “lived” between birth and death is inconsequential. Death is merely the end of a consciousness that evaporates into oblivion. Feelings, relationships, and the myriad of human experiences have no real value or meaning.
The comforts of religion are that it assuages the torment of this thought by providing an antidote of belief; somehow the belief itself will mitigate my wrongness and assure me of a noble end. Rather than seeing the need for repentance and change, my rightness is based on an affirmation. Religion dissipates the gnawing and persistent desire to answer this question in earnest. The belief alleviates the need for a definitive answer. It makes me think that if I believe right, I will personally be right regardless of the life I live. The deception is that I can profess to have truth without the need to become true.
This is the ethos of much of the Christian landscape today. There is an insidious concept that I can be disobedient to the teachings of Christ without any ramifications to my eternal standing with God. I can claim to be in the right relationship with Him and yet disregard my accountability to Him. I believe a truth without it becoming true in my own experience. Consider forgiveness… (for example)
“Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father, who is in heaven, may also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your transgressions.”
To claim Him as my Lord and deny my brother or sister forgiveness is hypocrisy. How many of us hold on to unforgiveness and yet pray to Him without any thought to the ramifications of our standing before God?
Jesus is our only truth; His Life within me, changing me, convicting me, and transforming my behaviour. Profession without the corresponding life to validate it is deception.
“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous”
1 John 3:7
Let no man deceive us. Let us not deceive ourselves. Mere belief does not change an unrighteous life. Jesus came into our hearts to free us FROM our sin; not to allow us to remain IN our sin.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid!”
Paul asks this incredulous question. It is an absurdity to him that it would even enter the minds of those who have truly experienced the power of Christ within.
“If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him”
1 John 2:29
God’s people to a large extent know little of God’s righteousness. This scripture only has power in those who understand “He is Righteous”. To those who know of this truth, sin is an offense to God. It is something that produces a holy war within our own being, something with which we cannot compromise. Its presence is a revelation that a portion of our life is still not fully His. Those who walk in the truth of Christ are convicted, in contrast to those who base their standing with God on a confession.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”
Quoting scriptures, believing in the correct theology, and subscribing to sound doctrine will not free you or me from the power of sin and disobedience. The truth of which Jesus speaks is a power and a dynamic extension of His Life working within the recesses of our being. Jesus presents Himself as the truth; not knowing about Him, but He Himself. Our hope is not based on what we believe. Our hope is in Him living and ruling within, changing the very fabric of our being. Paul presents this truth unequivocally to us.
“Christ IN you the hope of glory”
“…in our day Christ as the truth has… been abolished: we take Christ’s teaching – but abolish Christ. We want truth the easy way. This is to abolish truth, for Christ, the teacher is more important than the teaching… Truth is not a sum of statements, not a definition, not a system of concepts, but a life. Truth is not a property of thought that guarantees validity to thinking. No, truth in its most essential character is the reduplication of truth within yourself… Your life expresses the truth in the striving… The Gospel says that this is eternal life, to know the only true God and the One Whom He sent, the Truth (Jn. 17:3).”
– Soren Kierkegaard
“In Him was life; and the life was the light of men
“I have been crucified with Christ”
“What does it mean for me to be “crucified with Christ”? I think the answer is best summed up in the words the crowd used of Jesus: “Away with Him!” God never allows this matter of being crucified with Christ to remain for us a mere theory, though I confess that for many years it was no more than that to me. I myself had preached the Cross in these very terms without knowing it in my own experience–until one day I saw with dramatic suddenness that it had been I. Nee To-sheng, who died there with my Lord. “Away with Him!” they had cried, and in saying it of Him they had also, unwittingly, echoed God’s verdict upon me. And that sentence of God upon me was carried out in Him. This new discovery affected me almost as greatly as did my first discovery of salvation. I tell you, it left me so humbled as to be for a while quite unable to preach at all, whereas till that day, I have to admit, preaching had been my consuming passion.”
“Between the idea And the reality Between the motion And the act Falls the Shadow For Thine is the Kingdom”
Experiential truth is the bridge between the idea and the substance, between the shadow of words and the Light of the Truth.
“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power”
1 Corinthians 4:20
The Truth of His Kingdom in each of us is as real as the truth which reigns in us. The power to be is the purpose of His coming:
“I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly”
God’s consolation is His assurance to the afflictions of His own. He who called us is also the one who keeps us. His end more than compensates the afflictions and storms of life.
“You afflicted, tossed with storms, and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in beautiful colors, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones” ISAIAH 54:11-12
In affliction, tempest, and sorrow the God of all comfort comes softly like the dew settling upon the grass after the long dark season of night. His silent ways bring whispers of hope within the human heart and His strong arms hold and carry us in the distress of our circumstances. He walks with us through the valleys. He gently embraces the wounded heart and in the secret of His ways, we see the fair colours of His handiwork. We see the precious stones of His making become the foundation of our lives; not only strong and stable but filled with the beauty of His own being. There is no such thing as wasted tears for those that know their God. All sorrows and trials become part of the building of His story in our lives. His comfort becomes the very currency that we can share with others for it has become ours through the experiences of a life with Him.
“…who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God”
2 Corinthians 1:4
“My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash and be clean?”
2 Kings 5:13
How often we have missed God’s power in the simple things, the daily things, the seemingly innocuous things because of our own wrong thinking. The revelation of Christ is often found in a lad giving up his five loaves and two fishes; the widow simply pouring out the “little” oil she had on hand; the man putting forth his withered arm despite the scorn of the religious crowd; the woman breaking her prized alabaster box to worship Him lavishly.
“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”
It requires a humble heart to see the glory of God in humble things. It takes a pure heart, transformed by the power of Grace, to see His opportunities all around us. His wisdom is buried in the mysteries of our own children, in the circumstances which come our way at home, at work, and in the mundane things of life. The Parables of Jesus were drawn from everyday examples filled with the power of truth. Though many heard, few understood their import. Jesus spoke in parables for He saw His Father’s truth in them. To Him, this world was filled with the Face of His Father everywhere He looked. The proud and haughty hearts of men saw nothing, heard nothing, and therefore continued in their blindness of heart.
It is the heart that determines our seeing and hearing of God. It is the “renewing of our minds” whereby we are able to “know the good, acceptable and perfect will of God”! Without these changes, men may read the scriptures, pray, and do many religious things, but the power of transformation ever eludes them. Life itself becomes mediocre and pedantic.
Paul was one filled with the joy and anticipation of ever learning through the varied experiences of life. He declared that the heavens, creation, and the wonder of nature were resplendent with the evident hand of God. He found glory in His sufferings, weaknesses, and weariness through God’s power and strength. He declared with boundless joy:
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things, I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”
The humble heart sees God in the humble and simple things. The pure in heart behold His wisdom and hand in the things which beset them. Such things are learned by the Holy Spirit working within our hearts through the medium of obedience unto the purifying of our souls.
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently”
1 Peter 1:22
“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications…”
“He is called the Spirit of supplications because without Him there cannot be any such thing as sincere and acceptable prayer; and this view of His character is added to show that wherever He is received as a Spirit of Grace, He must be received as a Spirit of prayer. By this, we may detect the hypocrisy of those who pretend to have grace, maintain they are not absolutely grace-less, and yet restrain prayer before God. It was as wise to say that a human body may have life and never breathe, so as to say that a soul can have the Spirit of grace and never pray. The apostle Paul before his conversion, like other Pharisees, made very long prayers; yet it was not till he was made partaker of the Spirit of grace that the God of truth said of him, “Behold he prayeth.” All the prayers of the Pharisee had gone down to oblivion without the notice of the Hearer of prayer, but the first feeble cry of the gracious soul is heard and observed. But as we may thus bring men to the test whether they have the Spirit of grace, so may we ascertain in what measure they have it and to what degree they exercise it: for the more grace, the more supplication: the less grace, the less supplication.He is the Spirit of grace, that He may be the Spirit of supplications: “Pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” Jonathan R. Anderson (Excerpt from Sermon)
Abiding in the Spirit of Grace for today is the power and the source of fresh and fervent prayers daily.
“The Word of God is called a light unto our feet, not to our tongues, merely to speak about–but to our feet, to walk by. Getting knowledge is your work; opening your hearts to understand is the work of the Holy Spirit. But you must ask Him for wisdom and believe He will give it to you. God has promised wisdom to those who “ask in faith, nothing wavering” (James 1:6). Strive for wisdom, not so that men will respect and admire you, but so that they will celebrate God’s greatness. The end of every human effort should be to magnify His Name. Go to God with David’s prayer on your lips: “Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works” (Psalm 119:27). William Gurnall
“Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet…”
For continuous illumination, His people are to walk in the way of His precepts for the lamp at our feet will only illuminate that in which we walk.