By Benjamin H. Liles
I recall years ago how my dad would often tell me, "Benny, an honest man never has to remember anything he's said." I have more than often than not thought on his words. While my dad is still in my life, i still, at times, think on things he's tried to teach me.
So, why would I bring this up? I feel a need to be honest with you all here: I have not always been honest. There are things I have shared about my life on this website/blog as it concerns my faith in Jesus the Messiah (in Greek it's Christ). I remember this past month when I was having my gall bladder out I was in a great deal of pain on October 9, a Tuesday night.
I remember being hot through a huge portion of that night, as well as truly cold. I had, at first, a low-grade fever, which was slowly going up. It first hit 103, and it just kept going higher. Why am I telling this story yet again? It's to prove a point that God hates liars. And at that time, while I head head knowledge about Him and Jesus, I was hardly living a victorious life in Him. If anything I was doing what James described in his letter to the churches.
James wrote this, "Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting" (James 1:5-6a, Holman Christian Standard). You could say that in my faith I wasn't doubting. I knew God would get me through my gall bladder surgery just fine. But He desired something out of me. He wanted to get to the root cause and to surgically remove it, same as the doctor who was about to remove my infected gall bladder.
We continue reading on: "But let him ask by faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind" (James 1:6). If you remember in one of the earlier New Testament books the disciples are in a boat and Jesus is coming out to meet them by walking to them on the waves of the sea? Where were their eyes, on the sea and the wind and the storm, or were they looking to Jesus? It took this storm in my life to not only look at Jesus, but to also look at myself. David, as a psalmist wrote these words, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try my, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24, New King James).
I was literally, in that hospital bed, crying out to God almost that same exact thing to Him, but it was more of something close to this: "Lord Jesus, my God! I see how wicked my sins make me! I am a man undone by my own hand! Save me! A wretched sinner! I know I don't deserve your love or your righteousness in the least bit at all. But I'm in a lot of pain. I'm tired of this pain and I desire to do what You would have me do. I'm tired of myself, my sins, and my sinful ways. Help me, Lord, in my unbelief! Help me to see You, to help me see You as You are. I ask this in Your holy and precious name." I prayed something like that, for two simple reasons: one, I was very tired of the way i was acting toward my wife who is very much God's child. She has never deserved the crud I gave out over the last nine years, and yet she's stuck it through beside me to show me God's Spirit as well as His love.
Two, and I believe God allowed me to go through what I had to with my gall bladder, to not only show me how truly sick I was (pun intended there), but to do a couple of other thing as well. Not long after the gall bladder came out we had a front come through that gave us a lot of rain here in Texas, which made national news. For those who live here in the States know all about the lakes in our area, as well as rivers, creeks and streams that were flooding.
We live on the second floor, and in my mind I believe He wanted to show my wife and I that He is still the same God who delivered the Israelites from Egypt, to show us He could calm a flood down to the point where we wouldn't be touched. I captured video from our outside balcony that there was no lake water on the street behind us. Little did I know the flood waters were doing a bit of a semi-circle around the property. There is a line on a building that the Girl Scouts use that shows how high the lake water truly was. Our street from that building slopes upward toward this property we live on. So literally, from two sides on the street we live on, lake water was almost an "O" from the street directly below the one I was shooting video of, up to the street we live on. In other words we were very much, as a baseball umpire would claim, "Safe!"
This is all beside the point. James goes on to say this, "That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. An indecisive (double-minded, divided, wavers, unsettled, two-souled) man is unstable in all his ways" (James 1:7-8) A few versions use different words, but I think Young's Literal Translation gets to the heart of the issue: a man who is unstable has two souls.
Paul says this, "For what I would [want to do], that do I not; but what I hate, that do I...For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would [want to do], that I do...O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:15, 18-19, 24). In other words, sin living within this mortal body keeps me from doing the very thing I know what to do, which is what God allows me to do.
Here's an interesting side note to this: there was a man who had two dogs, and he was asked which dog would win in a race. He replied, "The one that I feed." It's the same when it comes to what we put into our own mind. For we read this within scripture, "The one who sows to please his flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life" (Galatians 6:8, Berean Study). I'm sharing this with you tonight to show you that honesty is truly the best policy. Transparency is not always easy to give, but when it comes to the truth, and in dealing with others it is the way to go.
People never got two different sides of Jesus. He was the same with all. To those who were humble he gave them what they needed: grace, deliverance and redemption, which is what you and I need in our lives. To those who were within the camps of religious leaders, such as the Pharisee and Sadducee, He resisted them. It is why we are told, "submit to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time" (Proverbs 3:34; Isaiah 57:15; 1 Peter 5:5-6, New King James).
If we desire our churches to have honest people within the doors, lining the pews, and to be effective witnesses to others in this world we have to deal with these issues within ourselves. Yes, it's not an easy task in the least bit, but if we want this to be shown and to be seen, as we declare God's wonder-working miracles in our lives it helps if we emulate those qualities that God calls out of us. He Himself is holy and pure, and you cannot call for these qualities out of a defiled and unclean heart. no, it requires a heart that has rich depthness to it. One that is receptive, open, and willing to take the seed of Hos gospel.
The gospel is this: God sent His Son, the Messiah Jesus to come in the flesh, taking on our form so He can show the powers of Hell that He is master of all. He gave His life so that those of us who are done living in the way of the world have access to the throne room of God. Christ died on the cross condemning the flesh and all it's ways so we can have His righteousness. God will not have anything to do with uncleanness or unrighteousness, so unless we are clothed with the Son, who rose from the dead so that we also can have life, we can stand before Him in the righteousness of the Son, Jesus. I pray and hope that this encourages and bless you. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
#livehonestlyinchristjesus, #livelifewell, #lifeforjesuschrist.