Thursday, August 2, 2018

Good meets better

Do you ever ask a simple question of God - one that is quite often a consideration of humankind, but kind of niggles at you until you actually find the answer? Sometimes the questions we ask almost get a little too revealing of our insecurities. Like us asking who it is that God shows favor to - who is it that is welcomed into his presence, made to feel at home, enjoying the very fruits of his rule.  When we hear the answer from God, we rarely record it, but once in a while what we hear may do well to be recorded. David heard from God about those traits that we see in a man or woman of God that make him/her free to move about in the presence of a holy God - something that niggled at his mind and heart enough that he asked God who it was that gets on "God's guest list".

1 God, who gets invited to dinner at your place? How do we get on your guest list? 2 "Walk straight, act right, tell the truth. 3-4 Don't hurt your friend, don't blame your neighbor; despise the despicable. 5 Keep your word even when it costs you, make an honest living, never take a bribe. You'll never get blacklisted if you live like this." (Psalm 15)

Although I don't think this is a literal "guest list", there is evidence in scripture that God has our names recorded in heaven, so it may actually be likened to one. To 'get on it', one has to learn to walk straight, act right, and tell the truth.  Let me just tell you for a fact, we don't do this on our own - it is impossible to do this without the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives. At the moment we cry out to God to cleanse us of our sinfulness, opening the door for the cleansing that comes by the blood of Jesus, we are inviting the Holy Spirit to take up residence in our lives.  It is his purpose to assist us in the revelation of truth - providing for us the enabling to behave in a different manner than we had previously responded in life's moments of making choices. 

Acting right is one of the most difficult challenges we experience in life - it is the very thing that good parents strive to influence their children to do from the moment they are able to first understand the consequence of their actions.   Yet, we must keep in mind that action alone is not what God desires - we can do all the "good deeds" we want to, but apart from a heart yielded to his desires, open to his leading, and abandoned in worship to him, we are only "being good". It is artificial goodness - it pales in comparison to the goodness that God works into our lives through this process referred to as obedience. Not one human being could hit a home run out of the park on each and every one of these listed traits.  We may attempt to live according to these standards a good deal of the time, but we will find moments of compromise in our lives where we stray from the standards we set, no matter how hard we try to live by them in our own power.  It is impossible to be righteous in our own power!  Righteousness comes by one source - the blood of Jesus.  His sacrifice on the cross those many years ago is the only means by which we are viewed by God as righteous.

The "good deeds" that we do are only behaviors that are exemplary of the work of the transformational power of God in our lives - they are not of our own doing.  Try  as we might, we will find all these particularly "good" behaviors rather unrewarding without the empowering of the Holy Spirit within. So, if we are desirous of experiencing God's presence, being welcomed into his throne-room, not as guests, but as members of the Royal Family, we must be "in Christ".  As we come to Jesus, hearts open to his redeeming work, asking him to be Lord of our lives, he brings us into the family. The outflow of that life leadership change is the exhibit of the most right kind of behavior in our lives. We begin to look out from ourselves, seeing others in a new way, and look beyond how the events of life affect just us, seeing how there is an impact of each of our behaviors on another.

A promise to us - he who does these things will never be shaken.  Want to live a life that isn't always on the verge of collapse, shaking each time something doesn't seem to be going as well as we might have liked?  Reach out to Jesus, welcome him as your Savior, and watch the life transformation of being welcomed into the family of a holy God. Then you will know what it is like to be on a solid foundation - unshaken by life's challenges and welcomed into the presence of God. Just sayin!