Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48.
Our Saviour understood all about human nature, and He says to every human being. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” As God is perfect in His sphere, so man is to be perfect in his sphere. Those who receive Christ are among the number to whom the words so full of hope are spoken. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” These words declare to us that we should be content with nothing less than the best and highest character, a character formed after the divine similitude. When such a character is possessed, the life, the faith, the purity of the religion, is an instructive example to others.
But those who are waiting to behold a magical change in their characters without determined effort on their part to overcome sin, will be disappointed. We have no reason to fear while looking to Jesus, no reason to doubt but that He is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto Him; but we may constantly fear lest our old nature will again obtain the supremacy, that the enemy shall devise some snare whereby we shall again become his captives. We are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you to will and to do of His good pleasure. With our limited powers we are to be as holy in our sphere as God is holy in His sphere. To the extent of our ability, we are to make manifest the truth and love and excellence of the divine character. As wax takes the impression of the seal, so the soul is to take the impression of the Spirit of God and retain the image of Christ.
We are to grow daily in spiritual loveliness. We shall fail often in our efforts to copy the divine pattern. We shall often have to bow down to weep at the feet of Jesus, because of our shortcomings and mistakes; but we are not to be discouraged; we are to pray more fervently, believe more fully, and try again with more steadfastness to grow into the likeness of our Lord. As we distrust our own power, we shall trust the power of our Redeemer, and render praise to God, who is the health of our countenance, and our God.
Maranatha p. 227
—–Please pray for me as I am going to be having to make a very important decision. JT
—–Please pray for Ron as he has a couple of very hard questions to answer that were submitted to the organizations where he volunteers. Rose
A few years ago, I was able to get in contact with a friend from my childhood. June and I had gone to school together in Kindergarten, fifth, sixth, and tenth grades. During this time, we lived in an older, slightly run-down neighborhood. She came from a single parent household with few possessions and no car. If they wanted to go anywhere, they walked. I was living with my mother and her alcoholic husband. We had a car, but little else. He drank up most of his money. Life was difficult for us both and during our growing-up years, but we never expected to rise higher than our surroundings.
However, a different future awaited June! She joined a figure skating club just a little before graduating from high school, and it was because of this club that she began to realize that her self-concept was not true at all. At first, June felt intimidated by her fellow club members—the president of a local university, doctors, lawyers, etc. Gradually, she began to realize that even though they held important positions in the community, they were just people with their own set of problems and heartaches.
Joining that figure skating club seemed like a little thing, yet it changed June’s life. The barrier she had built in her mind was broken down, and her desire for a better life began to take action. At first, she only took one class at a local community college. The next quarter, she took two. Finally, she went to school full time. She found, to her surprise, that she was a very intelligent person and now teaches at a university and has traveled to many parts of our planet!
How often a small, seemingly insignificant decision can change our whole future. One determination to stand for the right can bring a flood of blessings our way. The reverse is also true. One weak moment of yielding to temptation can put us in a downward spin that will last a lifetime. Such was David’s experience. When he was young, he was a man after God’s own heart. (Acts 13:22) David’s whole focus was on his Great Creator Who led him day by day as he led his father’s sheep. Given a talent for music, David became the author of most of the psalms that have been sung for millennia.
While a young man, he was valiant in battle, fighting for the honor of God. When pursued by Saul, he kept his integrity. (1 Sam 24; 26) When Saul was removed from his kingship, the King of Kings elevated David to the throne. Over the years, David remained true to God and was greatly blessed because of his faithfulness.
One day, however, David’s life took a wrong turn. “And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house. And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.” 2 Sam 11:2-5
Sadly, David committed murder in order to cover his sin of adultery. (2 Sam 11:15-21) Although he repented (2 Sam 12; Ps 51), there were consequences. From that moment, David’s kingdom began to wane. Moreover, his household suffered greatly. Because of his sin, David felt powerless to command his children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Eph 6:4 He lost the respect of his children and they, too, let their passions bear sway. (2 Sam 13) Even his own son attempted to take the throne from him and he had to run for his life. (chapters 14-18)
So it is with us. As Moses set before the children of Israel a choice between life and death, (Deut 30:15-20) so our future depends upon the choices we make each day. Our happiness or unhappiness is dependent upon what whose voice we obey—God’s Word or the whispered temptings of the evil one. Solomon advises, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Prov 4:23; James adds, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren.” James 1:12-16
May we be careful to make good choices. May we pray as did David, “Show me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.” Psa 25:4, 5 May we claim the promise, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” 32:8