“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
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.
“And Abram went up out of Egypt… Unto the place of the altar…”
The faith of Abraham will produce a forsaking of Egypt (the world) and a journey “unto the place of the altar”. At this altar, by the mercies of God (Romans 12:1), we offer ourselves unto Him as a living sacrifice. True faith communicates the nature, works, and heart of Christ. It is the divine enablement to live beyond our own resources and to draw from the wells of the living Christ. What is impossible for man becomes a natural outflow of life from those in whom resides the living faith of Christ.
In Hebrews 11, we read of the lives of regular people, just like us, who “by faith” lived to see the extra-ordinary works of God – despite the fragility of their earthen vessels. “By faith” we can partake of the same resources. We have the same surety of God, the same assurance of faith, by which they made a difference in their generation.
The leading of God is ever out of Egypt and unto the altar. The altar is the way of life to those who are in Christ Jesus for it is in the losing of our own selves that we discover Him. It is in looking past the faltering resources of self that we discover His vastness. The “I can’t” of Romans 7 is swallowed up by the “Law of life in Christ Jesus” of Romans 8.
The Altar is the place of our transactions with God. It is here where we exchange our strength for His; here that the doctrines of salvation become flesh and substance in our lives. In the offering of all that we are, we become partakers of all that He IS. Our partaking of Him will be in proportion to our offering.
“Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar?”
1 Corinthians 9:13
“And thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, the flesh, and the blood, upon the altar of the Lord thy God: and the blood of thy sacrifices shall be poured out upon the altar of the Lord thy God, and thou shalt eat the flesh.”
The priests would eat of the Burnt Offerings they offered and herein lies the secret of His provision for each one of us. “Give and it shall be given unto you” is the measure of our receiving. It is in this freewill offering that we discover the glory and wonder of our God.
We are bidden by the “mercies” of God to offer ourselves as living sacrifices unto our God (Romans 12:1). While many speak of God’s mercies as a sentiment, the power of mercy upon the human heart enables us to offer ourselves without reserve.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
“The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the Beginning of God’s creation”
Christ is the Beginning and the Head of all creation. The scriptures declare “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made”. He is the initiator of all things and it is through the agency of His Life that we are in the process of becoming. Every act of submission, every ministration of His Faith within us, every impulse of the Divine Nature, hastens our own development. There is no growth apart from our redeemed will coming into harmony with His. The closer we walk with Him the more sensitive we become to the flicker of His Life within. His press upon us is the evidence of His Life. True Faith must produce an evidential response in those who are growing into His likeness.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God”
The above scripture is not a teaching or a doctrinal statement. It is the declaration of God describing those who are held in the grip of His Spirit. Being “led” implies that He is inserting Himself into our daily lives whereby we become an extension of His hands and His heart to those around us. Those “led by the Spirit of God” know the Divine imprint of His grace actively at work within the recesses of their hearts. It is a life of joy and adventure which requires a walk of abiding in Him.
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”
The Ancient Hebrew pictograph here translated “agreed*“ (see below) means one of “seeing the door”. It speaks of opportunity and an open door. It is more than just a doctrinal agreement, more than mere belief. It means we are moving in Him! As we walk with Him, we can agree to step into the doors of opportunity as we see and feel the impulse of His Spirit. Too few in our day comprehend that the New Covenant is entirely based on relationship, not a teaching or a mental assent to His Word.
The evidence of our relationship with Him is revealed in our seeing “the door” of opportunity and stepping into it. This door can only be entered into by the moving of His Faith, and with Love being the inspiration. The movement without is a result of His movement within. If there is no press from Him, we must tearfully examine the core and the substance of our relationship.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God”
Let His Word strike a powerful chord within us. Let us examine our lives to see whether we be “IN FAITH”. Or do we merely have a belief which births nothing, costs nothing, and therefore brings forth nothing to the honor of His Name?
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves…”
2 Corinthians 13:5
“Be putting yourselves to the test whether you are in the Faith. Be putting yourselves to the test for the purpose of approving yourselves, and finding that you meet the specifications, put your approval upon yourselves. Or, do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you, unless you are those who are disapproved?”
2 Corinthians 13:5-6 (Wuest Translation)
“I being in the way, the Lord led me…”
* NOTE: Agreed (1349) ac: Repeat co:? ab: Witness: The pictograph o^ is a picture of the eye, the d^ is a picture of the door. Combined these mean “see the door”. As coming to a tent, a tent of meeting and entering in. A place, time, or event that is repeated again and again. (^ the pictographs are not representable in text)