How To Live Faithfully
Pride is the essence of human failure; and it is also the point at which many a person fails in his or her Christian life. So, by faith, put on humility.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again dear radio friends, how in the world are you?
Doin’ alright today? Well, thank God we can be in the world but not of it. That, of course, is the background of the little question that I ask, day by day, as we come on the air.
What we’re doing right now is doing a little wrap up session on Colossians; some random wrap up thoughts for each of these four chapters, and we’ve just been talking, the last day or so, about the, the verbs that you find in chapter three.
“Seek those things which are above.” Work, in other words, on achieving a heavenly dimension to your life.
What an important concept that is. Work at having a heavenly dimension in your life.
Most of us are quite secular in our daily lifestyle but it doesn’t have to be that way, uh, you can work at it because the key to it is not your effort, primarily, but the Lordship of Jesus, our blessed Lord and Saviour.
“Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.” He is Lord of all. “God hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name,” Paul says in Philippians, “that is above every name, whether it be things in heaven or things in earth or things under the earth; and that every knee should bow, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
That’s the background of this phrase, “Where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.”
So, you can have a heavenly dimension to your life, and heavenly emotional feelings-verse two-heavenly mindset, in other words. You can have a heavenly dimension in your life when you make Jesus Lord of the various aspects of life, or the various departments of your life. Alright?
So, it’s “seek” and then “set”-verse two-and “mortify”-verse five, where you know that something is dead wrong face it with Jesus and put it on the cross.
And then, “put off,” said he, like you take off an overcoat, put off the ‘respectable’ sins.
I don’t know of anyone that’s ever been thrown out of a church for getting angry and losing his or her temper. It may have happened, but in eighteen years in the pastorate I never saw it happen.
Malice; I don’t know of anyone whom I’ve ever seen thrust out of a church fellowship because of malicious thoughts and words. These are…these are, uh, are shortcomings that people live with, and we ought, instead of living with them comfortably like old friends…eh, you know, it’s possible to get used to almost anything and feel comfortable with it.
Instead of feeling comfortable in these things we’re to put them off.
When we lived in Wheaton it was my job, every now and again, to take the trash out to the town dump which was some miles away.
And so, I would put the various containers of trash in the back of the old, nineteen fifty-four, uh, Ford station wagon that I had at the time and drive out to the town dump.
Now, there was a procedure you followed. When you went in there you were met by either a man or a woman or both who lived right there. And they were, uh, they were a sorry looking couple, I must say. I don’t say this maliciously. It’s just how it was.
They, they weren’t acquainted too closely with soap and water, to put it gently. A sorry looking couple, but that was where they were, and you had to pay them in order to have the privilege of driving a ways farther along that rutty, uh, bumpy road and depositing your trash.
That was the procedure. So, you’d, you’d go in the gate and go along the road and you’d come to this little shack where they lived, and then, uh, you would stop and give them- I generally gave them a dollar, and, uh, (you could tell how long ago that was because today that’d be a great deal more with inflation), anyhow, I gave them a dollar and go on.
Well, one day I stopped. The lady, I use the term gently, was, uh, was on the job taking in the money on that day and I stopped a moment and said to her, “You know, my heart goes out to you living as you must here with, amid all of the trash and junk and everything.” And she, she, her face broke into a smile, revealing a row of snaggly teeth that had, eh, long since perished in their usefulness; she smiled this broken-tooth smile and she said, “Why, mister, “she said, “we’re, we’re pretty comfortable here. We like it.” (soft chuckle from Dr. Cook)
Well, you can get used to anything, can’t you? And, I tell you that story just to highlight the fact that many of us are living still in the trash container area of our lives and we need to put it off. We need to get rid of it.
Anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication, lying.
These are things, these are faults that all human beings have that we need to put under the blood of Jesus; put them away. And God won’t do that for you. You have to work at it, but it is that, it is that series of decisions; one decision is good, but it doesn’t change your character. Your character is changed by a series of decisions, and when you make a series of positive responses to the will of God, you then get a Godly character. Alright?
Now, he says in verse twelve, “Put on.” See, there’s, there’s the opposite truth: ‘Put off’ verse eight, ‘Put on’ verse twelve.
“Put on, therefore, as the elect of God holy and beloved, compassions, mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearance, and forgiveness. And, above all these things, put on (Calvary) love, which is the bond of perfectness, and let the peace of God rule in your hearts.”
You work, not only at: number one, facing that which you know to be dead wrong and putting it on the cross by faith, second: putting off those things with which you may have lived comfortably but know them to be hindrances in your life-again- the Lordship of Jesus Christ and a series of decisions concerning His will, will make a difference in your character.
Now what? The same process, on a positive side, will add these virtues to your life. “Put on.” That is, by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in obedience to His Word, you take a stand in these areas: compassion and mercy. Interesting that he puts that first. “Bowels of mercies.” The old-timers used to feel that the emotion, the seat of emotions was in your viscera, and that’s why they use that term.
We would call it compassion and mercy. Compassion and mercy.
Why put it first? Because, hard-heartedness and selfishness shows up first in your relationship to other people’s needs. Your lack of spirituality and your lack of a, of a vital connection with the Lord Jesus will show up first in your attitude toward other people’s needs. It’s a profound truth there, but it’s so very, very applicable to every one of us.
Compassion and mercy. Then what? Kindness. Kindness. You see, the mark of having been with Jesus is not that you shout at people, but that you are kind to them under pressure.
Now, it’s easy to be nice to somebody nice, but when people are difficult or even impossible, and when you’re under extreme pressure, in a business situation or in a domestic situation, it takes the grace of God and the indwelling Holy Spirit to be kind. He says, “You put that on by faith.” In other words, when you’re faced today, or tomorrow, with a situation where you’re under pressure, you’re tempted to blow up and give the person a piece of your mind: instead of doing that whisper a prayer and say, “Lord Jesus, be Lord of this situation and my feelings right now,” and He’ll make you kind.
Now, that doesn’t make you any less truthful or any less practical. If you’re the boss you still are responsible for directing the work of that particular subordinate with whom you’re dealing. Uh, if you are a teacher you still are responsible for motivating that student that seems to be so gifted but so lazy. And, eh, the fact that the Spirit of God is leading your life does not excuse you from doing the right thing, or the efficient thing, or the productive thing that is, that is indicated at a given point.
You don’t have to be sloppy in your procedure to be religious. You can be efficient and spiritual at the same time. Granted that, God will give you the love and the kindness that will tell anybody the truth that needs to be told in a kind way.
This is Christianity at its best. You do this by faith. You put it on by faith! Kindness, humbleness of mind- all of us are proud by nature. Pride is the essence of that which caused our first parents, Adam and Eve, to fall. “Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” “When they saw that the fruit was pleasant to the eyes and good for food and a tree to be desired to make one wise, they took thereof and did eat…” and so on.
Alright, pride is the essence of human failure and it is also the point at which many a person fails in his or her Christian life, so by faith you put on humility. Humility is a God-ward virtue, the quality of knowing that you need God every split second of the time. And God can give you that kind of a mind. By faith, you can become more dependent upon your Lord day after day.
Meekness is the willingness to play second fiddle. Long-suffering is our expression “large hearted”, that you make room for people with their faults instead of without them. Forbearance…you know what that is. The willingness to put up with other people’s mistakes until they learn, and then finally, in verse fourteen, “…above all these things,” he says, “put on (Calvary) love.” ‘Charity’ is our word “Calvary love”.
Agape: “God so loved the world,” same word, “that He gave His only begotten Son.” Calvary love. Now, how do you do all this? You do it by faith. You work at it, but you do it by faith. And you do it moment by moment in terms of situations that arise.
You see, you are not tested in terms of anger, let us say, or in terms of, uh, of uh, kindness, for instance. You’re not tested always in that particular area. Some other time you’ll be tested in a different area. And so, by faith, you turn yourself over to the Lord in each situation and He, as your Lord, through the indwelling Spirit of God, does the work that makes you the kind of person that you want to be. Holy and beloved, elect of God, merciful, kind, humble, longsuffering .
Isn’t that great? Well, thank God for His Word. I love it, I love to share it.
Dear Father, today, help us to work by faith at adding to our lives those things that honor Thee. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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