Sunday, November 20, 2011

November 20, 2011 … Acting Responsibly

Passage of the Day: Ephesians 5: 15 [highlight verse in bold/underlined] … 15 Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.

My Journal for Today: John MacArthur makes a rather startling claim as he once again discusses Ephesians 5: 15 in today’s Strength for Today devotional. He maintains, supported by such Scripture as 1st Cor. 1: 3, and Col. 2: 3, as well as today’s passage, taken from Eph. 5: 1 – 16, that even the new, born-again believer has been endowed with enough wisdom to be able to fulfill the mandate of today’s verse/passage.

Ephesians 5: 1 – 14 [linked here for your meditation], which precedes today’s verse, [please read it!] is Paul’s forceful teaching that we must, as Christians, be imitators of God (i.e., Christ); and one verse in this passage is a linchpin verse for Battle Plan Ministry, the ministry into which God led me to found and lead over 10 years ago. It is Eph. 5: 3; and it states: “But among you [i.e., Christians] 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.”

That is a high standard for any Christian to uphold, let alone one who has become habitually, or maybe even addictively, wracked by habitual sexual sin. However, it is the mirror of truth because God is Holy; and we must aspire to be Holy, as He is Holy, … 24/7. Paul had no less that five separate exhortations in his New Testament epistles where he charged his fellow Christians to be Holy because of God’s holiness (see Rom. 12: 1, Eph. 1: 4, Col. 1: 22, 1st Thes. 4: 4, and 2nd Tim. 1: 9). And if that is not enough from God’s Spirit as the Author of Scripture, Paul was joined by Peter who quoted God from the Old Testament, Who commands His children to be Holy as He is Holy (see Lev. 11: 44, 19: 2, and 20: 7). REMEMBER, God never calls one of His own to do something that He, through His Spirit, will not enable that one to do (see 1st Cor. 10: 13 and 2nd Peter 1: 3-4).

So, though we have been given free-will, if we are truly IN CHRIST, we are driven by God’s Spirit to make choices that pursue and aspire to absolute holiness. Christ commanded us to shine His light through our lives into the darkness of a sin-engulfed world so that others can see God, the Father, being lived out in our lives (see Matt. 5: 16); and that can only happen when we live in holiness, reflecting the Holy light of Christ.

And yes, I agree with Peter’s contention that all Christians, are endowed by God’s Spirit with all they need to live holy and blameless in God’s sight (again, see 2nd Pet. 1: 3 – 4). Theologically and spiritually that’s our positional righteousness in Christ. However, reality and experience has shown me that new or immature believers are more susceptible in their posture to the foolishness and schemes of the devil and his system in the world. They are more vulnerable in their own deceit-ridden hearts as well (by now you should know Jer. 17: 9), especially if that heart has been saturated for much of the life of that new believer by habitual sin.

But even a babe in Christ is more capable of resisting sinful living and making Christlike choices than any non-believer. And over time, if that immature believer intentionally chooses to follow God’s word, seeking His will and His way, he will become a stronger, wiser, more Christlike believer, shining Christ’s light more often and with more intensity into the darkness and glorifying his Father in Heaven as he does so.

So, we must continually ask ourselves if we are forever pursuing God’s mind, especially in the face of an increasingly confusing and foolish world which presses us on all sides to take our minds off of God’s will and His way. We must look at our choices and determine if they are choices to follow self or the Savior. And if those choices are more and more the latter, we are growing in Christlikeness and shining an ever brighter light into this world.

My Prayer Today: Fill me, God, daily with Your mind. Amen

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