Action Plus Attitude
The proof that God is running your life is that you do right things with the right attitude.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing all right? Well, I used that corny greeting just to remind us that we’re in the world but you don’t have to be of it. You don’t have to be tarred with the world’s brush just because you live in a godless culture. America is becoming increasingly secularized in education and in our community culture and in our national attitudes. But you and I who know the blessed Lord Jesus Christ can live for Him in the midst of all of that.
And His statement is “Ye are the light of the world.” Paul the apostle said, “among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” A light doesn’t make any noise but it certainly makes a difference. You and I are not required to make noise, so to speak. You don’t have to make waves, as the person says. Just make a difference. Just let the light shine. And so that’s why I say “How in the world are you?” You’re in it but you don’t have to be of it. You can be a change agent, an agent for change. What a glorious thought that is.
Today, make a difference for God and for His glory and for the betterment of people around you. Make a difference in this old world by the way you live and by the kind of person you are. Well, this is your friend, Bob Cook, and I’m speaking with you as usual from the little room at the end of the hall on the second floor of the big white house. When I sit down before these microphones, I feel as though I’m inviting all of you to come and have coffee with me or whatever it is you have in the mornings. So whether it’s coffee or tea or milk or orange juice or hot water or whatever, it’s nice just to be together. Thank God, I’m glad that you’re there. Thank you for being on the listening end.
Well, we better get at the book of Romans. We’re looking at Romans 14:17, “For the kingdom of God,” says he, “is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” “The kingdom of God.” What is the evidence that God is running your life? Kingdom means that God is King. What does a King do? He rules, he commands, he controls, he guides, and he is ultimately responsible.
So if God is King – Kingdom of God – if God is King in your life, then what? Well, that means that He’ll be ruling, He’ll be commanding, He’ll be guiding, He’ll be responsible. What are the evidences that God is running your life? “The kingdom of God is not meat and drink,” that’s the first thing. The evidence that God is running your life is not necessarily found in the routines of your lifestyle. “Meat and drink,” in other words, somebody says “I am a vegetarian.” Somebody says “I never do this or that or the other on Sunday.”
I know some people who wouldn’t mail a letter on Sunday. They’ll go to a restaurant on Sunday because they figure they have to eat but they wouldn’t mail a letter on Sunday because that, to them, is something they don’t want to do. Well, that’s all right. Don’t criticize. Earlier in the chapter, he said don’t judge your brother. You judge rather that you don’t put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in your brother’s way – that’s the point of view. Be concerned not about what you think about the other person’s conduct but what he thinks about the Christ he sees in your conduct.
So, all right. It’s not, said he, in the things that we are doing to appear religious. I sometimes get a chuckle out of the way people arrange their faces and their moods as they approach the church on a Sunday morning. Have you ever noticed that? Here’s a family walking along to church on a Sunday morning. A brother is walking a little on ahead. He is kicking at stones and managing to fall down once or twice as small boys will. Sister is walking primly along. She’s beautiful and she knows it and she’s walking along very primly and very beautiful.
Mother is walking along wondering if she remembered to turn off the roast. Father is walking along and he’s thinking whatever thoughts fathers think on a Sunday morning. Now they’re coming within sight of the church and you’ll see them rearrange their faces and they all look a little more sober and little more somber, so to speak. Strange how people rearrange their faces and their moods when they become officially religious, isn’t it? And so they go on into church and they’ll look, with a few exceptions, they look sober and religious for an hour. And then they come out and when they get outside of the door, you’ll see their faces once again change configuration.
They get out of neutral gear into high gear, so to speak. And brother goes skipping along once again kicking at stones and things and sister is walking a little less primly but happily along and mother has decided that she did turn off the roast after all and father is thinking about what he’s going to do in the afternoon and they are now, once again, free from the necessity of looking religious. It happens again and again. But, you know, you don’t gauge the reality of their Christian experience by the way they look in church, do you?
No, you don’t. You gauge the reality of their Christian experience by the way they react under pressure in everyday situations. And you gauge the reality of their experience with Christ by the way He is real or not real, as the case may be, in situations where, maybe, their heart is breaking or their temper is about to flare up or they are becoming discouraged or whatever it is, is the Lord whom they say they love, is He real in those situations? That is how most of us evaluate another person’s Christianity, isn’t it true?
So the reality of whether God is running your life or not is not settled by the things you say, “Oh, I don’t do that because I am a Christian. That doesn’t really settle it. Now, Paul has already said, if you got a conscience on something, you better be true to what the Lord may be saying to your conscience. So I’m not downplaying at this point the importance of observing whatever rules of life you may have adopted in good conscience. I’m not downplaying that. But as I say to our young people here at the college, we have rules that say we won’t drink alcoholic liquors, we won’t have anything to do with mind-altering drugs, we won’t smoke tobacco, we won’t gamble, and so on.
We have some rules, what we call house rules and I think they’re pretty good ones, don’t you? But I often tell the young people, “Look, you could keep every one of these rules and still not be a good Christian. Keeping these rules may help to keep you in school but it won’t make you a good Christian. That’s something that has to be done in your heart, you see.” So, the rule is important and the lifestyle is important and the things you do in good conscience are important but we don’t gauge the reality of your relationship with God by those things. Those are entirely what you would call “byproducts” of your devotion to Him.
Why is it that I don’t go out and tie one on and become totally stoned, you know, drunk? Why is it that I don’t do that? Is it because the fact that I don’t do that, that proves that I’m a Christian? Oh, no! The reason I don’t go out and get drunk, number one is I don’t think I would enjoy it; number two, really, it’s a byproduct of my desire to honor the Lord and to keep from offending His people and to keep a testimony that’s clean before God, you see? So He says, “The Kingdom of God,” the proof that God is running your life, in other words, is not found in the things you say and do to be religious.
Go to church — that’s great! Sing the hymns — that’s great! Engage in Christian activities within the structure of the local church — that’s great! But the proof that God is running your life is not found in those things that you do to be officially religious. Do you follow what I’m saying? Well, then, you say, “Brother Cook, if that isn’t it, than what is?” Well, he says, “The kingdom of God,” the proof that God is running your life, “is not meat and drink,” the things you do to be religious, “but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.”
Now what really proves that God is running my life? First, righteousness. When you trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior and commit yourself to Him as your Lord, God reckons you righteous. In other word your record yonder in the glory is forever expunged of all of those offenses against the Holiness of God that were on your record and forever and forever you are accounted righteous because of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is what we call “imputed” righteousness. God reckons you righteous because of Jesus, our Lord.
But there is also “imparted” righteousness. Paul says in an earlier chapter in Romans that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us; we who live not after the old sinful human nature but who follow the dynamic of the Holy Spirit of God that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us we who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit; “to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” That’s Romans chapter 8. So when you make the Lord Jesus Christ the Lord of your life, God imputes, He reckons His divine righteousness to you on your account for the sake of the Lord Jesus who died and rose again for you.
But also through the work of the Holy Spirit and through the Word of God operating in your life, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” says Paul. By the Word of God and by the Holy Spirit, God imparts His righteousness so that you find yourself doing right things because Christ is living within you. The proof that God is running your life is that you do right things with the right attitude, with the right set of thoughts behind it because Christ is your righteousness. That’s one of the proofs.
We have to ask ourselves sometimes “How righteous is my life?” Not “How do I look,” but “What is the real essence of my conduct? Is it really right in the sight of God? Is my attitude right? Are my thoughts right? Are my motives right? Is the atmosphere of my life, in other words, God’s righteousness? That’s the number one proof that God is running your life —the Kingdom of God. Righteousness. Well, we’ll get at the rest of that the next time we get together.
Dear Lord, keep us in Your will today. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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