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Upright Before God

From a perspective of a child of God, we have learned that our father demands a well-ordered character worthy of eternal life. To accomplish that end God disciplines us when we cross the line and disobey him. While we may not like his discipline, the benefits from his discipline are for our best interest and demonstrate his love for us. His discipline reminds us that bad behavior has consequences and we need to avoid repeating the deeds that got his attention and the reprimand we received. Godís expectation is as follows,

"Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness." 2 Timothy 2:19

Our father expects and demands that we turn away from wickedness followed with a disciplined life aimed to ensure that purpose. Ultimately, his discipline trains his children to be the best that they can be and rule their life with integrity.  The very idea of righteousness with God requires a change of our nature to conform to his character, grace and nobility.

Adam and Eve were created in a righteous state with God and enjoyed a face to face relationship with him until they disobeyed God.  God disciplined them by driving them out of the garden in hopes that their degraded state would teach them the reasons to sustain righteousness with God.  

Satan also had a righteous state with God until sin was found in him and for the same reason God deported him from heaven. God confounded the languages of men while the tower of Babel was being built by people who chose to make a name for themselves and seek God in their own way. God reacted to the perversion of Sodom and Gomorah by reducing this city to ashes. In the same way, the disobedience and perversion of Noahís time drove God to destroy the earth by flood while saving eight people from certain death. With in a hundred days after God delivered his chosen people from the bondage of Egypt they worshiped gods they had made. If it were not for Moses intervening God would have destroyed them also.

These are examples of what you can expect from God for ignoring Godís purpose for your life. Peter expresses this idea by comparing the deeds of the righteous to those who are unrighteous (2 Peter 2:5-10). He explained that the deeds of the unrighteous were wicked in Godís sight and brought on them disaster and the death they deserved. At the same time he said that God knows how to rescue those he considers to be righteous. Peter used these examples to show a pattern of how God responds to wickedness. Peter also said that the world faces a similar punishment because they follow the depraved desires of the sinful nature and despise the authority of God.

When we consider how God responds to wickedness it presents the idea that God has a harsh and permanent solution for sin. Just as God provided an example showing that he detests sin he gave an example of righteousness in Jesus Christ. Because of his sinless life he was able to say that he had overcome the world. God commended Jesus on two occasions saying, ďthis is my son in whom I am well pleased."  God has also provided an example to show approval with an eternal reward of acceptance within his Kingdom through our faith in God.

God wants you to have the same righteous state in his presence as you are with the rest of his creation. Righteousness stems from a trust issue that affects the closeness of relationships. The righteousness you have in any relationship depends on the other personís approval of how you rule your life. When relationships are important and beneficial to your life, you do things to develop that personís trust and approval. When relationships are not important or beneficial to your life, you may not do things to obtain their approval.

In other words donít deliberately destroy a relationship because you never know when you will need to interact with them again for your benefit. The importance of relationships demands the need for stability and planned behavior when life will never end. Have you considered that the moral nature of God is affected by his immortal life? Have you considered that success is based on cooperation from other people whom themselves want success? While morals and cooperation may not produce the outcome you want immediately you will prosper and have success in due time.

Perhaps we need to think about the future and how its nature of God's gift of eternal life and environment we will affect in the future. The Bible tells us that those who stood before the throne of God were a multitude that could not be counted (Revelation 7:9). The opportunity of a relationship with every person in heaven is as great as the relationship God has with every child of his. This presents a huge difference between this world and heaven and the need for right standing with God and his children.

Having a potential relationship with billions of trustworthy persons is mind-boggling when on earth you are lucky to have five friends that you can trust. You need trustworthy people to accomplish great goals and create relationships that last a long time. People have to earn a right standing with another person before he can obtain trust from them.  The bible tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith.   

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6

Faith is based on trust in Jesus Christ and that his death paid the penalty your sins deserved and gave you right standing with God.  Faith demands a trust in God just as God demand reason to trust you. God tested Abraham when he asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son on Mount Moriah (Genesis 22:1-18). While Isaac his son carried the wood and Abraham carried the fire and knife, but he did not see the lamb required for sacrifice. So Isaac asked his father, where is the sacrifice? Even when Abraham knew that God asked him to slay his son he said that God would provide the lamb for the burnt offering. Abraham was fully persuaded that God could restore his sonís life when he raised the knife with the intent to sacrifice his son, as his friend and God had commanded. When God stopped Abraham he knew that Abraham revered him and would not withhold his son.

Like Abraham God continually tests his people to see if they love him and follow his instructions.

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. Deuteronomy 8:2

His purpose is to ensure that his overall plan would succeed and find people worthy of eternal life. Paul warned his disciples that would be tested.

I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. Acts 26:20

And James advised to his disciples to persevere in their trials.

 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

God said your ways are not my ways and like the potter he wants the freedom to mold your life into a vessel he can use.  What makes God righteous is that he makes legitimate conditions for peaceful relations with all of mankind. The book of Job poses a question that all of us need to answer.

Should God then reward you on your terms, when you refuse to repent? Job 34:33

God wants a covenant that honors his authority and establishes a personal relationship with him.

I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you. Jeremiah 7:23

The covenant God makes with you is fair to you and to him. Honoring the conditions of his covenant is taken seriously for he himself complies with the requirements that he has given you.  Every person wants to keep his dignity intact and that requires that you humble your self to acknowledge his authority with a sacredness worthy of respect. Everyone wants to feel needed, appreciated and loved in their relationships and so does God. God has embedded his laws in your heart and made them real and understandable to you. The evil that God hates produces the trials and difficulties that you face everyday day. Needless to say God wants to avoid what causes sin and will not permit those who do evil to enter his kingdom. The character of men and women that God does not want in heaven is confirmed in this manner by Paul.

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians  6:9-10

God expects and demands that his children turn from wickedness to live according to his personal ideals of morality. As our earthly fathers have done, God trains his children to rule their life in ways that earn and develop the respect of their peers. Even though we may not have appreciated him at that time we respected our father for his discipline. Just as the purpose behind his discipline taught us to make proper decisions God teaches us to make the right decisions that will endure for eternity.

God disciplines us because he loves us, but we must be willing to change our ways to develop the character he wants us to have. We will reign with Christ for a thousand years and we need training in leadership to lead men to Christ by the graces of our Father. Like gold refined in fire God wants to remove the residue of sin from our lives.  He prunes our lives so we will produce better fruit, fruit that will not spoil for an eternity.

His purpose is to produce the character of Jesus Christ in us. Not so much as an identical copy of Jesus Christ, as it is to have a similar nature, devotion, resolve and commitment for a morally righteous life before God. Christ did not have gold or silver but what he had was given freely.

Men were drawn to him because he demonstrated mercy, healed the sick, had compassion on the downcast, made friends with those rejected by society and he spoke the good news to those who would listen.  His life depicted the grace of God as he favored those in the upper crust thought were unworthy.  

He also confronted the religious leaders with their hypocrisy and self righteousness. In turn the religious leaders persecuted him and placed him on the cross to kill him.  Even on the cross of Calvary Jesus remain loyal to God. He placed his trust in God and his immortal soul into the hands of God and forgave those who not aware of what they had done.

Still God also spoke of faith concerning the covenant of marriage and said I hate divorce. The vows of the marriage ceremony create a covenant that is normally a lifetime commitment. You and your spouse vow to unite for better or worse, through thick or thin and regardless of what happens, you will be there for them.   

"I hate divorce," says the Lord God of Israel, "and I hate a man's covering himself with violence as well as with his garment," says the Lord Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith. Malachi 2:16

The newness of married life wears off when the person you married is not the person you dated or expected. In America you marry the person you love, but in other countries the parents makes that decision for you. In both situations, marriage is a lifetime commitment and demands a commitment from you to love your spouse. God says he hates divorce and advises you to guard your spirit to prevent breaking the covenant of marriage.

In the initial prayer for salvation when we ask Jesus Christ into our life we also make a commitment to serve God the rest of our life. The first command of God is that we shall love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and all our strength. Jesus also said if you love me you will obey my commands.

It stands to reason that there is a direct relationship between love and obedience. Love forms the unselfish need to please the person you love. Selfish love is cold and directed towards you but you have a commitment to love another person. God gave this advice, guard your spirit and do not break the trust and reliance of your commitments. Maintaining right standing with your marriage partner requires that you purposely do things to please them.

Maintaining right standing with God is also a commitment to purposely do things to please God. However, Satan is at war with the saints of God and is inciting man to indulge their lives with selfishness and comfort. The things of this world encourage serving our needs before the needs of God. Serving our needs distract our attention from more important things such as God and your marriage partner. The selfish nature and will cause love to grow cold.

Love requires work to revive and it can be done. Just as coals can be fanned into flame Paul recommended that Timothy fan his gift into flame.

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:6-7

The gift of God is like a seed that produces the fruit of love. Just as people want to know that they are loved they also want to see that love shown to them. Love demands that you demonstrate your love and it demands that you acknowledge the love that has been demonstrated.  

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7

Sowing seeds of love produces deeds that please God and those loved by you. Each seed produces fruit that lasts a short time and it requires a continual practice of sowing seeds of Love. Love that is true love seems to be effortless and free as if it was your very nature. Paul also recommended to Timothy that he guard his spirit.

Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you - guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. 2 Timothy 1:14

God is showing that what we do has as much potential of becoming the problem as being the solution. All relationships demand a personal responsibility to be just fair and right to the other person. You can not be unfair and expect a right standing with the person you have offended.  Ultimately the problem of right standing in relationships can be avoided by showing love and respect towards one another. Therefore, by relying on the Holy Spirit help guard your ways you can have integrity and be right with God. us

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