Wednesday, January 18, 2012
For His Own Glory!
This week I began a new study in the book of Ephesians through the ministry of Good Morning Girls.
It has already been very refreshing and encouraging. Much of the study thus far has been about how God chose His church "before the foundation of the world." Eph. 1:4 That is pretty mind boggling to realize that God chose His bride, the church, before the foundation of the world. We are fulfilling His eternal plan that was written in eternity past. He has a purpose for saving us and giving us life during this time in history. Look at the full verse:
"Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved." Ephesians 1:4
That says to me that we have much to be thankful for. We have much purpose to our lives, and we absolutely should be living our lives "to the praise of His glorious grace."
Did you catch the phrase "that we should be holy and blameless before Him?"
You see, I believe that the Lord desires that His people live holy lives. He desires that we be sanctified or "set apart" from non believers. Does that mean that we lock ourselves up and don't reach out to the lost? By no means! It means that we should make it our goal to:
"Lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" - Heb. 12:1
It means that we will not live in a lifestyle that is contrary to God's Word:
"No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God." _ I John 3:9
It means that we will flee even a hint of what is shameful or immoral:
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. - Ephesians 5:3
It means we will have an aversion to evil but CLING to what is pure.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. - Romans 12:9
Here are some practical nuts and bolts when we think about the topic of "Blameless and Holy."
Have I set Christ as Lord in my heart? Am I willing to say, "YES LORD!" to His still small voice? OR do I want to set my own agenda and do things my own way?
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, _ I Peter 3:15
Am I trying to get as close to the world, and its allurements as I can? OR am I trying to be as much like the Lord Jesus as I can? Do I want as much of the world as I can get, or do I want to be conformed to the image of Christ?
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans 12:2
Am I, as a daughter of the King, dressing in a modest fashion so as not to pull my brothers down?
"Likewise that the women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control." I Timothy 2:9
Just a point on modesty......do you see from this verse that modesty is referring to a woman's clothing but also to her heart attitude? Women are to be self-controlled with modest hearts. In reference to clothing, I think it so sad that immodesty is so rampant that when a woman is dressed modestly she really stands out. My point is that modesty is SO NOT the norm that when I see a woman who consistently dresses modestly I can't help but really notice. Shouldn't it be the other way around especially for christian women?
Am I guarding my heart and eyes so that I will not be desensitized to purity and truth?
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. - Proverbs 4:23
We need to be careful about what goes in our ears and in our eyes, because garbage in/garbage out. Mothers, we need to be so vigilant in this area with our children. I try to always choose not even the good but the best. There might not be anything wrong with a certain video or book, but do we have a better option? Is there something that will encourage my children to love God and live for His glory. We have found some excellent resources both in videos and books that inspire our children to greatness. The Lord has been growing me in this area through the years, and I am a lot more picky now than ever before. If we do allow them to see, read, or hear something mediocre it is our desire to talk with them and help them sort through what hidden agendas might be in play in that book, movie, etc. This is a hard one but so worth a concerted effort.
Well, this by no means is an exhaustive list of what holiness and blamelessness is. It is just a few things that come to my mind. If Christ chose us, gave us eternal life, and adopted us into His family that, "We should be holy and blameless before Him" then I think it is important that we continue to "seek those things which are above." Our purpose is to glorify Him!!!
"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him iin glory.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:2 sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self4 with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,5 free; but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." - Colossian 3 1-17.
To wrap this up, I would say that it should be our ambition live "holy and blameless lives" out of gratitude to the Lord Jesus for saving us and adopting us into His family. Our foundation should be that our purpose is to glorify Him in everything. That is why we exist. It is like the catechism I teach to my little girls. Annagrace, "Why did God make you and all things?" And she answers, "FOR HIS OWN GLORY." If God made me and all things for His own glory then my life should bring Him glory through my attitudes, choices, and behaviors. We will never be perfect, but it should be our aim to please the Lord Jesus and live a life of obedience to His Word. As for me, I have much to learn and thankfully He is not through with me yet.
"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."
- Philippians 1:6