Lesson 4 -- second quarter 2001
March 25, 2001
© Copyright 2001, Christian Light Publications
Who is first in your life?
"We ought to obey God rather than men" is a great slogan and even an effective rallying cry. Those who utter it had better believe it. Those who believe it will certainly live it. And those who live it are prepared to die because of it. So don't allow your lips to express it unless your life already does!
Those who proclaim, "We ought to obey God rather than men," open themselves wide to scrutiny and testing. If you are going to say it, you need to know that it will be used as a microscope to examine your life and as a magnifying glass to enlarge any inconsistencies you may live.
"We ought to obey God rather than men" applies to more than just any situations in which those in authority would require us to disobey God in order to obey them. To use it only in such circumstances is to deny its power and authenticity. To use it only in such circumstances is merely that: using it (as opposed to believing and living it).
When we "obey God rather than men," we establish that God has the reins of our lives. Nobody, not even our own selves, supersedes Him in authority and importance. When this is the case, we show plainly that we "seek...first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness" (Matthew 6:33).
Another area where "God rather than men" must ring true is that of influence. To what influences do you respond positively? What influences affect your thoughts, your attitudes, your speech, your choices, and your life? Even in this area of your life, "We ought to obey God rather than men"!
I don't pretend to have even an inkling as to whether or not widespread persecution will come to North America. I don't know if we'll ever be hauled before civil or religious authorities and need to proclaim, "We ought to obey God rather than men." But I do know that if our testimony of loyalty is to be convincing in such a scenario, it must be a proven part of our lives right now.
Does everyone who knows me now, know me as an individual who is unswervingly loyal to God and His ways? Can they imagine any circumstance in which they know I would choose myself or some other human rather than God?
All this drives home again the truth that Christianity touches the entire being, not just the tongue. Are you that touched?!
How do you respond to having your toes stepped on?
The words and testimony of the Apostles cut to the hearts of the religious leaders. The truth found its mark in the lives of the listeners. Their response was to plot to rid themselves of those who made them so uncomfortable. These were men who knew the Scriptures well...but didn't live them well. Surely they knew that "Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish" (Proverbs 12:1). And you would imagine that the warning of Proverbs 15:10 would not have been lost on them: "Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die."
Well, before we get too proficient at finding all these handy verses that they should have thought about, let's be sure we both know and live the verses that apply to us! Just how do we respond to the reproof and correction that comes our way? What do we have to say to (or about) those who, in speaking the truth, manage to step on our toes and cut us to our hearts? May the Lord teach us to love, value and appreciate (and thank!) those who correct us with the truth!
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