Thursday, March 21, 2013

Your ways or not My ways………… Part II

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matt.5:7).

The first four principles of the disciple's character are related to one's inner life; the remaining five speak of the active side of our character in its relation to others.  For those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, love expressed as mercy toward others will be the evidence of such righteousness.  Mercy is a principle of conduct as well as character in the life of the disciple.  (Sermon on the Mount).

The wonderful promise to those who show mercy is that "they shall obtain mercy" (Prov. 18:24; Matt. 7:2).

 Jesus states in Matthew 7 the principle that we are to be judged on is the same basis of our treatment of others.

Do you, for example, ask God to forgive you your trespasses, while at the same time you have resentment or an unforgiving spirit toward others?

Then Jesus warns that "if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses" (Mark 11:25-26; Matt. 6:12).

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (5:8).

As being merciful speaks of our relation toward our fellow man, purity of heart describes our relation toward God.  If our Spirit life is anything, it is purity of heart, holiness, and godliness.

The term "purity" means "to be clean."  It is, therefore, to have clean desires, affections, thoughts, and motives.  In contrast, it is said of the wicked that "out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication's, thefts, false witness, blasphemies" (Matt. 15:19).

The promised reward to the pure in heart is that "they shall see God."  Sin or impurity of heart acts as a veil and obscures our vision of God.  His Word is no longer illuminated to our hearts, and our prayers remain unanswered (Isaiah 59:1-2; Hebrews 12:14).

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (5:9).

This refers to the manifestation of love in the daily conduct of Jesus' disciples in their personal relationships with others.  In a world filled with hate, riots, social unrest, jealousy, greed, addictions, selfishness, strife, and war, the spirit-led disciple is characterized as a man of peace, as well as one who seeks to make peace with all with whom he comes in contact.

The New Testament clearly teaches nonresistance as the passive side of Christian character (Matt. 5:38-39) and peacemaking as the active side (5:9; I Peter 3:8-11).

The disciple who would follow Jesus and be like Him has peace in his own heart (Isa. 26:3), follows after peace with all men (Hebrews 12:14; Romans 12:18), and seeks to promote peace between all men (Matt. 5:9; Prov. 12:20; James 3:18).

The promise is that "they shall be called the sons of God."  By virtue of this characteristic, they shall be like God's Son, who is the Prince of Peace.

The doctrine of nonresistance is not for the unregenerate, nor for the “carnal” Christian who is weak in the faith and who feels he must resort to force in order to assert his so-called "rights" and defend himself at the cost of others.

All he indicates thereby is that he lacks the faith and willingness to suffer persecution with Christ, and that he lacks the spirit of humility to "turn the other cheek," but must avenge himself and return evil for evil.

People are going to make us angry but we are not to let it get the better of us.  We must not let anger cloud our thinking.  As Proverbs 29:22 says, an angry person starts fights and commits all kinds of sin.

Keep quiet and pray!  Seek God for the right way to handle the situation and for a solution as well as restoration.  He knows the answer and the hearts of all involved.  He will tell you when to speak and when to be silent, when to walk and when to wait.

Sometimes it is smarter not to speak at all while we are angry.   We should wait until we have had time to calm down, think clearly and pray.

James 3:5 tells us that what we say in the heat of the moment can cause a great deal of harm.  A word spoken in anger is just like a tiny spark that starts a forest fire. It cannot be taken back once it has left your mouth.

Revenge doesn’t belong to me. (Romans 12:19-21)

This may be the hardest part of His Word because it involves humility.

God produces supernatural results when we wait upon Him.

When we live lives that are pleasing to God, even our enemies will be at peace with us.   (Proverbs 16:7)

Our thoughts and ways are not God’s, His ways and thoughts are much higher than ours.    So if we will surrender our free will and do as He directs we will learn to walk deeper in His ways.  We will learn His heart and have a greater understanding of His ways!

He desires for us to walk in humility which requires dying to our flesh, emotions, selfish desires and pride.

Through the fire we will burn off pride, selfishness and worldly ways which will allow the true light of Christ to shine through us.   We will display the love of God beyond words!   Our actions will speak love!

In order to do this the first thing to die is our pride.   Obedience is the key to this way of life.   When the time comes and you feel you want to strike out to hurt another, obedience is knocking on your door.   Will you open it and obey or will you decide your feelings are more important than another’s? 

Will you use your razor sharp tongue to kill and destroy a person’s heart and steal their joy or will you step out of yourself and make the right decision?

Will love prevail?

The choice is yours…….who will you serve: Jesus or your flesh?

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.   Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.   James 1: 19-21 NIV

“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” James 1:26 NIV

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the SAME mouth come praise and cursing.  

My brothers and sisters, this should not be.  Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?   My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs?  Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.  James 3: 9-12 NIV



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