Tag Archives: God’s Grace and Guidance

Being Perfect

Living in the Spirit
August 24, 2017

Scripture Reading: Romans 12:1-8

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. –Romans 12:1-2

How do we not conform to the world? It takes effort! A friend and I were commiserating over how bad the traffic had become in Oklahoma City in recent years. New cars apparently no longer are equipped with turn signals at least they are rarely used, the fastest driver sets the speed limit, preventive driving requires vigilance in search of people with their eyes on their cell phones rather than traffic, and road rage is a norm. Driving manners are just a simple examples of how the world encroaches on our ways of being.  We get caught in it without even knowing it. The norms that seem acceptable regarding how we treat each other are frightening. Not conforming to aspects of society that fail to pass the test of love takes intentionality. It also requires a close relationship with God who guides us in discerning what is right and what is just.

Paul talks about our need to do what is good and acceptable and perfect in God’s eyes. The word perfect always concerns me. We might for a majority of our actions do or be good and acceptable to God, but what does it mean to be perfect? The Greek word translated perfect* means to be full grown, complete in all parts. It seems to me that someone full-grown: takes responsibility for his or her actions, maintains a broad and growing bank of knowledge,  and strives to demonstrate in his or her life the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness (Galatians 5:22) in all that they do.

Prayer: Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven,
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more**. Amen


**First Verse of Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah by William Williams. See at http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/g/u/guideme.htm

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

The Ten Commandments

tumblr_m7g58wbiHm1rukhkdo1_500 love-god commandmentsLiving in the Spirit
August 17, 2015

Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 8: (1, 6, 10-11), 22-30, 41-43

22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands to heaven. 23 He said, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart, 24 the covenant that you kept for your servant my father David as you declared to him; you promised with your mouth and have this day fulfilled with your hand. 25 Therefore, O Lord, God of Israel, keep for your servant my father David that which you promised him, saying, ‘There shall never fail you a successor before me to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your children look to their way, to walk before me as you have walked before me.’ 26 Therefore, O God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you promised to your servant my father David.—1 Kings 8:22-26

I think the Israelites that Solomon stood before at the dedication of the temple would have been shocked, if they time-traveled to today and witnessed all the bluster about displaying the Ten Commandments anywhere. Throughout the wandering years when they worshiped in the tabernacle, the Ten Commandment tablets were carefully stored in the Ark of the Covenant behind a curtain. It was called the Holy of Holies for a people who were monotheist and were in constant discord with peoples who worshiped idols. Now they had a temple, a fixed placed to worship, with a special place reserved for the tablets and special rules on even who could enter the place. Probably the most serious complaint about Solomon’s reign was that he married foreign women who worshiped other gods.

While the love of God for God’s people has always been described as unconditional; the history of God speaks of a conditional relationship of walking before God as David had walked before God. As with David, God allows us to suffer the consequences of our own actions. Indeed, God still forgives, still actively engages with us when we are willing to seek God’s guidance and grace to learn the better way.

One of those gifts of guidance and grace are the Ten Commandments that God calls us to live. They show us the way. Our living them fully is the best way to show our commitment and respect for God. We teach others about them with our lives.

Prayer: Lord help me each day to walk in your way. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.