Essentiality Of Consistency
Consistently determined to do the right thing, not the convenient thing, but the right thing.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, this is your friend, Dr. Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you. So grateful for the privilege of ministering, by way of radio, over these many gracious stations that make time for us, most of them in the morning, but some in the afternoon, and a few in the evening. So, it’s different times of the day or night when you’re listening just now, but, “Though sundered far by faith we meet around one, mercy seat”, the old song says, and you and I are one in our love for Christ and our love for the Word, aren’t we?
We’ve taken a little detour the last few days just hitting the high spots on the book of Philippians. I love that book so much, don’t you? And we’ve come now into the chapter 4, “Stand fast in the Lord”. How do you stand fast in the Lord? Well, first of all, you commit yourself to Him as a person and then you let Him work in your heart attitude, be of the same mind in the Lord. You specialize in helping people and you learn the secret of rejoicing in the Lord, not in circumstances. Joy has to do with your relationship with a person, not circumstances. You can be going through some terrible experiences, humanly speaking, that make you unhappy and uncomfortable. You may be in real pain, suffering, financial reverses, family problems that break your heart. Life is that way you know, it’s not all roses, is it?
So then, what? Oh, you can have joy then because you know Him and He hath said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”, and He promises, “When thou passest through the waters they shall not overflow thee. Ye, though I walk through the Valley, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me”. The joy of the Lord is your strength says the Bible. That’s how to stand fast in the Lord. Then you go on into verse five. Standing fast in the Lord means a consistent life. You don’t to, you don’t have a life of up one day down the next, tell the truth one day and untruth the next, live for God one day and live for yourself and your desires the next. It doesn’t work that way. He says, “let your moderation,” Dr. Ironside used to, use to paraphrase that, “your sweet reasonableness be known unto all men, the Lord is at hand”. Consistency. Why? Because people are watching you, “Known unto all men”, that’s a generic word meaning people. People are watching you. Have you found that out? Paul says another place, “We are made a spectacle unto men and angels and demons.” The word spectacle is like what happens in a big amphitheater, big stadium, says, this is though we’re in a big stadium and there’s an audience watching us. Then the writer to the Hebrew says, “We’re compassed about with a great cloud of witnesses so we run with patience the race that is set before us”. People watch you.
It’s amazing what, what folk do watch. You think that there are times when you say to yourself, “Well, it doesn’t matter now”. Yes it always matters. It always matters. You have little children growing up in your home, everything you say and do is watched by those little eyes and ingested mentally, by those little minds, and what you say and do all day long becomes the stuff of which their personality is built. That’s an awesome thought, isn’t it?
Now and again in my life I’ve been aware of the fact that the people watch me. It always comes though, I must confesses, as kind of a shock. Somebody, somebody came up to me one day and said, “I saw you”. I said, “Oh God, what did I do now”? Well what it happened was, when we were living in Wheaton, Illinois and as I was driving along on the street called Gary Avenue, I happened to see a little fellow, couldn’t have been more than 3 feet tall, something like that, trying in vain to reach high enough to put a letter in the mailbox. His mother evidently had said, told him, “Go down and mail this letter”. So, there he was trying. He would jump, but he’d miss. So, really without thinking about it, I pulled over the car over to the curb, stopped, got out, lifted him up, so that he could open the, the opening there of the mailbox, and he could put the letter in, which he did, and then I put him down and he didn’t even say thank you as I recall, he just went away again. I got on and I got in the car and I forgot about it. Later on, somebody comes up and says, “I saw you”. Oh, what did I do now? Said, “I saw you stop and help that little boy”. Somebody was watching.
Shakespeare wasn’t it that said, “The night has a thousand eyes”? Well so has the day. People watch to see how you react under pressure. People watch to see how you react when you have a choice between something selfish or unselfish. People watch to see whether you have to be the star, or whether you’re willing to pass the ball to somebody else and let him or her make the basket. People–let your sweet reasonableness, your consistency, your moderation, your even tempo of living, your constant commitment to your Lord, day and night, let that be known because people are watching you and they’re taking their cue, so far as the development of their own set of values is concerned, their taking their cue often times from you and they say, “Well if he can do it, so may I”. People watch you. People in your home, your children, your wife or husband. Your relatives, your neighbors, your acquaintances, your schoolmates. If he can cheat on a test, so may I. If he can just slide by, so may I.
I called, this is a good many years ago now, shortly after I came to the college. I called a young lady and talked with her. I said, “Are you friends with so and so”? And she said, “Yeah we, we run around together”. Well I said, “had you heard that she’s about to flunk out”? “Yeah”, she said, “She’s having trouble”. Well I said, “I understand too, that your own grades are something and that they’re not too hot. You’re in trouble too”. “Yes”, she said, “I suppose I’ll, I suppose I’ll have to drop out too”. Well I said, “Was, was your friend always a poor student”? “No”, she said, “She used to, she used to get A’s and B’s”. I said, “When, when did the change come about”? As we talked it developed, that the change in this other young ladies’ grade structure, going from A’s and B’s down to failing marks, it was about to cause her to flunk out of college, the change came about just after she began a close friendship with the young lady to whom I was talking. But, when that thought hit her, it just devastated her and she burst into tears. She just didn’t know the impact that she was having on another human being.
Somebody’s going to do well because you did well. Somebody’s going to try harder because you didn’t quit or somebody’s going to learn to try a shortcut in life because you were compromising. It’s an awesome thought, isn’t it? People do watch you. Paul says, “Herein do I exercise myself to have always a conscience void of offense toward God and toward men.” “Having a good conscience”, says Peter, “that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accused your good conversation in Christ”. A consistent, day after day after day, walking with the Lord. Consistently determined to do the right thing, not the convenient thing, but the right thing. Consistently walking close to your Lord in prayer and devotion. Your consistency is part of standing fast in the Lord.
Now, there is another reason for that. He says, “The Lord is at hand. It was my privilege to visit the headquarters of a great Christian organization in the Midwest one day, and the, the offices at that time, that were laid out in a large building where you didn’t have office cubicles, but you had maybe 100 different desks with people seated at the so that you could look clear across a room full of people. That’s how the thing was set up at that time, and the man who was, who was showing me around brought me to the door of this room and then we began to walk slowly through the room, and as people became aware that he, who was the boss, that he was walking through you could almost see the work pace quickened, you could see like a, like a breeze blowing across wheat field, you could see people becoming aware of the fact that the boss was there. They weren’t afraid of him, but they respected him, and they knew that he was in charge. I remember that visual impression as I, as I watched.
It does make a difference if Almighty God is watching you, doesn’t it? Joseph said, “How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God”? Hagar said, “Thou God, seeist me”. The psalmist said, “Where shall I go from Thy presence? Go up into heaven without into the depths darkness doesn’t hide from Thee because the darkness and light are both alike from Thee”. Can’t get away from God, always there. And even if you fall asleep counting your blessings, He says when I’m awake, “when I wake, I’m still with Thee”, for He has said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee”.
God is there. He’s the God who is there, Francis Schaeffer wrote about. It does make a difference doesn’t when you realize that Almighty God is watching. The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole Earth to show Himself strong on behalf of that whose heart is perfect toward Him. The Lord is at hand. He’s not someplace a million light years off in the universe, He’s here now, and the blessed, indwelling, Holy Spirit of God, implements the presence of God to you. The Spirit witnesses with our spirit that we are the children of God and if children then heirs, joint heirs with Christ. The presence of God is real. The supervision of God is real. The attention of God is real because, “He hath inclined His ear unto me, therefore will I call upon them as long as I live”, said the psalmist.
God listens to you, and He not only listens to what you say, but He listens to what is, is in your thoughts. “Thou art acquainted”, says the psalmist, “with all my thoughts”, and He not only knows what you do say but what you could say. “There is not a word in my tongue, but lo, oh Lord Thou knowest it altogether”. The knowledge of God about you, is infinitely perfect. He’s at hand. So, if you’re going to can stand fast in the Lord, you’re going to try to maintain the, a consistent commitment to your blessed Lord, that simply is by faith, just as you to Christ as Savior, just so you commit yourself to Him, moment by moment, walking with your Lord.
Dear father today, may our lives have the consistency that proves that we know Thee, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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