“The highway of the upright is to depart from evil”
It requires living faith to produce the true pilgrims of Christ. Faith inspires obedience and purity and those who keep their steps in His will, discover that the path becomes a highway. The communication of His Will brings clarity and definition to the pilgrims of faith. They seek no earthly comfort; their hearts are aflame with the desire for His Kingdom to become a reality here on the earth.
How do we know we are on the High Way of God? How can we feel the growing confidence of His Spirit’s dominion in our lives? It is found in the life which is departing from evil.
“The highway of the upright is to depart from evil“
The forsaking of evil will find us walking on God’s HIGH Way. It lifts us out of the dregs and the contagion of this world. Blessed be the Name of the Lord, who causes us to triumph over the darkness and temptations of life.
Regardless of our confessions and persuasions, the verity of our walk is revealed in the divine enablement to depart from evil. His Kingdom is not in words, but in His Life beating within our own (1 Corinthians 4:20). It is an indomitable faith that presses us to greater righteousness and an increasing sense of our separation unto Him.
“A highway will be there, a road, and it will be called The Holy Way. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it will be for those who walk in the Way. Wicked fools will not go there”
Blessed are they who tread “The Holy Way”, who find the strength in Him to walk the pilgrim way!
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you; who have set their hearts on a pilgrimage”
” Only by pride cometh contention…”
Pride is the spring from which every form of contention flows. It may be masked by earnest religious phrases but its poison results in much human sorrow within the Body of Christ.
Pride is the curse of humanity. It is the cause of unforgiveness, bitterness, envy, jealously, and malicious talk. It may be hidden in the smile of hypocrisy or the vehemence of outright aggression. It erects walls between close friends and breeds separation and schisms within the people of God. It is often cloaked in the “spiritual garments” of truth and sincerity, declaring with the subtly of Cain, “am I my brother’s keeper”? In the end, Pride brings spiritual blindness. It is its own judgment. Pride denies an individual their own progress in Christ and brings with it stagnation, deception, and sorrow. The love and forgiveness they deny to others become the harvest they reap. Forgiveness destroys the insidious workings of pride, darkness, and deceit. To forgive another one must give up their rights and hurts to the One who bore all sin in Himself.
The unforgiving remain unforgiven*
“Then laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil words, as newborn babes desire the pure soul-nourishing milk, that you may grow…”
1 Peter 2:1-2
May we set a watch upon our words, for out of the abundance of the heart does the mouth speak. Paul entreats us all:
“And, finally, be all of one mind, sympathetic, loving the brothers, tender-hearted, friendly, not giving back evil for evil, or reviling against reviling; but, on the contrary, give blessing; knowing that you were called to this in order that you might inherit blessing. For the one desiring to love life, and to see good days, let him restrain his tongue from evil, even his lips not to speak guile. Let him turn aside from evil, and let him do good. Let him seek peace, and pursue it; because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous…”
1 Peter 3:8-14
*“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.” Mark 11:25-26
“For as in Adam all die, even so, in Christ shall all be made alive”
1 Corinthians 15:22
The key for life, any life, is to be in Christ. There are no formulas, teachings, or concepts that can replace the pulse, the purpose, and the indomitable press of Him. Jesus is the Life and the secret to His vitality is found as we abide in Him.
“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life”
1 John 5:12
There is something so essential in the LIFE of His own, simple and yet so powerful. The Holy Spirit has been given for this reason: to lead us into this growing relationship.
“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me…”
The Life of Christ is the sum of all truth; not just an addition or influence. He is the fountain of doing and reasoning. It is this Presence that transforms life from a series of unrelated events to an adventure full of purpose.
“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory”
The quest for an ever-deepening relationship with Him is the joy and purpose of life. There is no point of arrival; His depths are eternal and blessed are those who are captivated by His sheer beauty. This pursuit is fueled by the mystery that unfolds within the common course of life. No wonder the Psalmist cries out with joy:
“O taste and see that the Lord is good…”
“For too long, we’ve called unbelievers to “invite Jesus into your life.” Jesus doesn’t want to be in your life. Your life is a wreck. Jesus calls you into his life. And his life isn’t boring or purposeless or static. It’s wild and exhilarating and unpredictable”.
Russell D. Moore
“Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty”
2 Corinthians 6:17-18
Separation from the world is an issue of the heart; it is in itself the revelation of our salvation. We are not sanctified by our confession, we are sanctified by the living truth of Christ working within to sanctify us without.
“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth”
It is in the Word becoming the truth in us, whereby we know what sanctification is. Obedience is the only path to sanctification.
“Do not have Jesus Christ on your lips, and the world in your heart”
“Resolved, to ask myself at the end of every day, week, month and year, wherein I could possibly in any respect have done better”
– Jonathan Edward
The earnest Christian is intent upon the growth and the development of our walk and life in Him. It is Him we seek to please, glorify and honour. We were created for His pleasure and it is to such an end that we seek to walk circumspectly. His love in us is the only means by which we live right and walk right. Love is the only motive which is capable of pleasing Him.
“But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God…”
2 Corinthians 6:4
“I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it…”
Faithfulness to the present truth we know will always culminate in greater things in God. The Church at Philadelphia, even in their weakness and poverty, were faithful to do the works of God and were given an open door. Doing the will of God inevitably leads us into greater avenues of service unto Him. Those who are faithful in the little things will always receive more.
The stagnation of a faith without works perpetuates its own lethargy and barrenness. Within the true disciple lies an eagerness to do that which is before them without hesitation or delay. We must always bear in our hearts the verdict of God upon a “faith” which is void of works.
“What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him? And if a brother or sister is naked and in lack of daily food, and one of you tells them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled;” and yet you didn’t give them the things the body needs, what good is it? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself. Yes, a man will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe, and shudder. But do you want to know, vain man, that faith apart from works is dead?”
The “Open Door” is set before those who are faithful to yield themselves to the promptings of God within and respond accordingly. There are those who feel hemmed in by circumstances when in fact they may have not been faithful to the things at hand. Joseph, bound within Pharaoh’s prison, remained faithful to the gifts which God had given him, and, in the end, he was given great authority!
“For whoever has, to him will be given, and he will have abundance, but whoever doesn’t have, from him will be taken away even that which he has”
The path to enlarged places in God is found within our faithfulness to Him in the little things; hidden things, often only known to God. In the end they will bring us to the open door of His grace.
Just a couple of examples are David who, while tending the sheep of his father, overcame the lion and the bear. Rebekah at the well, in her willingness and faithfulness to serve, was brought into the lineage of Christ!! (read Genesis 24:12-27) May we see the importance God places on those who reveal their heart by the work of their hands. He sees and measures out greater faith in proportion to their faithfulness in everyday life.
Let us seek His “open door” through faithfulness in our commonplace lives. Let our determination to honour Him “in all things” be an entrance into the greater things of Him. May we find joy each day in ever looking for ways to glorify Him, even in the secret thoughts of our hearts.
“I thank him who enabled me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because He counted me faithful, appointing me to service…”
1 Timothy 1:12
Obedience will open doors that no amount of praying alone can.
“The Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his lord will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the right times? Blessed is that servant whom his lord will find doing so when he comes. Truly I tell you, that he will set him over all that he has.”
May His exhortations permeate our hearts, and may we seek to be faithful to Him in all things.
“Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord”
The one who was unfaithful lost what he had been given and the eternal consequences were even greater.
“But his lord answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant. You knew that I reap where I didn’t sow and gather where I didn’t scatter. You ought therefore to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received back my own with interest. Take away therefore the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will be given, and he will have abundance, but from him who doesn’t have, even that which he has will be taken away. Throw out the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”
Faithfulness determines eternal destinies.
“…they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful”
“The great majority of the Christian world is still weeping at the foot of the cross. The consciousness of man is fixed on the Christ Who died, not the Christ Who LIVES. They are looking back to the Redeemer Who was, not the Redeemer who IS.”
–John G. Lake