Thursday, September 15, 2011

Self Help


Right and good are often in conflict.

Matthew 28

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

The Great Commission of Matthew 28 demands that we go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to observe the whole Word of God.

As new believers grow in the Word one of the lessons they should be taught concerns the Authority of God’s Word.

Another lesson we should teach every disciple of Christ involves The Authority of the Believer.

Luke 10

19 "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

God has given each and every one of His children authority over demons, sickness, poverty, worry, fear and sin, just to name a few.

However, in order for any believer to adequately exercise their authority over demons they must first learn to exercise authority over themselves.

1 Corinthians 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.

The Bible tells us that we must judge ourselves lest we be judged …

And we are admonished to examine ourselves to insure we are in the faith-

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you are disqualified.

We must be sober and vigilant because we have an enemy, the devil, who is constantly looking for a way to deceive us and lead us to fail.

It is not enough to just follow our heart because the heart of man can be exceedingly wicked, so quick to justify what we see as good for us or others, even above that which is right.

Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

Rather we must lead our heart with the Word and the Spirit.

If we listen to the wrong voices we will make the wrong choices.

There is a struggle in the earth and in men’s lives between right and good.

Right and good are often in conflict.

We must have a higher standard to apply to ourselves than simply what we think is good.

Genesis 3

1 ¶ Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, ’You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’ ?"

2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;

3 "but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ’You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’"

4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die.

5 "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

6 ¶ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

The question is not about “good vs. bad” but rather “right vs. wrong”.

There is a right and there is a wrong above that which may seem either good or bad.

How can a person help themselves determine if what they are doing or allowing to be done, is right or wrong?

Our thoughts, actions and decisions should always be subjected to the Word of God. No other test can divide between the thoughts and intents of the heart and come up with a pure answer – “Right” or “Wrong”.

Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

What seems right and good to man is not always right in God’s eyes. But …

The Word of God is always right, never wrong, and always best even when it does not seem to be good.

Allow me to share some tools which will help us examine ourselves and the motives for our thoughts and actions. Remember, it’s not about good and bad, but rather, right and wrong … and God is right!

The Simple Self-Help Test:

· Would this conduct be right for any other person facing similar circumstances? (My son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, mother, father, teacher, policeman or priest)

For example: Would you want your son or daughter to be treated the same way you are treating your spouse? Would you want your child to be treated the same way you are treating other children? Would you want to be treated the same way you treated that person?

· Does my behavior treat others as ends in themselves or as a means to an end?

This checks the motivation for the relationships we make and the ones we don’t. Half of the Ten Commandments deal with how we treat others with whom we have relationship. Is what we do for the best interest of others?

1 Corinthians 10:24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.

· How would it be if my actions established a universal law of behavior governing others in similar circumstances?

In other words: If everyone else was forced to act just like me, how would that work? (for the terrorists ??? – How about for the pacifists ???)

There is a struggle between right and good.

When Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, their eyes were opened to that struggle. They immediately began to wrestle with decisions based upon what they considered good for themselves and/or others instead of simply what was right in the eyes of God.

Right holds a higher standard that does good.

Both good and evil are imaginations of a person’s mind in consideration of the choices they present to themselves. Right and wrong leave no room for justification based upon such subjective measures as what is always best for me. Unless it would be right for everyone, it may not be right for you!