The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, ~ Acts 17:30
Have you ever heard some one say, “Oops, oh well, nobody’s perfect?” This usually follows some kind of accident or mistake. It’s a good excuse, right? After all, no one is perfect. Yet Jesus said, “You are to be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Mt 5:48). What does this mean? We all know that God does not make mistakes. So how can we be as perfect as the Father? How can this be?
I’ve heard it explained that this is just a goal; that being perfect is not possible in this life. Really? Can you think of just one command from God that is not really a command? Commands are not suggestions! When I hear someone lessen the force of this verse, it reminds me of Genesis 3:1, where the serpent said, ” Did God really say—–?” So, the question is, “What is Jesus requiring of us here?”
Let’s first look at the word translated as perfect. Does it describe a state or quality only applicable to God, like omnipotent or eternal, or is it more like words that describe God’s character like just, faithful (reliable), merciful and holy? Qualities that are unquestionably demanded of all believers?
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word is tam, meaning complete, or tamim, also meaning complete, whole or entire. The word tam is applied to Job by God in Job 1:8 where it is translated as perfect or blameless. Job was, “upright and perfect.” The word tamim is used to describe Noah in Genesis 6:9; “Noah was tamim in his time and walked with God.” The word shalom usually translated as peace means, basically, wholeness.
In the New Testament the word usually translated perfect is teleios and means complete, finished, lacking nothing, mature. James says, “Let endurance finish its work that you may be teleios and entire, lacking in nothing” (verse 1:4 ). Kind of a semi definition, I think.
In the Bible being complete, whole, or finished is the ideal state to reach.
Evangelist pastors and teachers should be working to this end: “Warning everyone and teaching everyone, with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ” (Colossians 1:28). In Ephesians 4:12-13 we see that Jesus, Himself, gave to us evangelists, pastors, and teachers, “To equip His people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach the unity of the faith and to the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
The warning and teaching itself must be perfect, that is complete or thorough, to cover all we need to know in order that we may be complete people. Especially, since no teacher knows what someone they are ministering to may be lacking in their faith. I think that it often takes God to identify this lack for us. Jesus does this in Mark 10:17. Remember the account of the rich young ruler who asked Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus said, “Keep the commandments,” and the man replied that he had from his youth. Jesus then looked at him and loved him and said,”One thing you lack, go sell everything you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven, then come and follow me.” This man was faithful in obeying the commandments and yet lacked one thing.
God knows for sure when we are finished, but I think that we can too, if we are honest with ourselves.
If you are looking for some peace, think about what you know of Salvation through Christ and read this verse…Hebrews 7:25
Then, think of the Levitical priests and their daily sacrifices knowing that it was a foreshadow of things to come. The priests were presenting a picture of what Christ would do for us.
Read Hebrews 7:23-28…Jesus did this for you and me. We do not need to be perfect, there is no score to keep.
If you want permanent peace, tell Jesus you know you can’t be perfect, that you are a sinner, and you want and need His sacrifice on the cross to be for you. Ask Him to give you faith.
If you did, then know that you are His and He is interceding for you.
Spend as much time as you can in the Bible…
Hebrews 7:25 – Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
“With me, abortion is not a problem of religion, it’s a problem of the Constitution. I believe that until and unless someone can establish that the unborn child is not a living human being, then that child is already protected by the Constitution, which guarantees life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to all of us.”
Video courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library
Who is God? People come to be aware of God in many ways; but how do you really know God better? There is a difference between merely being aware of God and knowing Him.
God promises us that if you seek Him, you will find Him. So, if you truly want to know your Creator, search for Him.
- I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. – Proverbs 8:17
- This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. – 1 Timothy 2:3-4
God’s Word tells us in the first chapter of John, verse 1, “In the Beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God.” In verse 14, we are told that the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us.
- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – John 1:1
- And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14
So if you want to know God, you have to spend time with what God gave us to know Him.
But first, let’s take a look at a list of ways that we try to know God that fail apart from the one way God Himself gave us to know Him. Don’t get me wrong, this list is filled with wonderful things and what we consider “godly activities.” As a Christian, this list represents things that we have in our life because we already know God and have accepted His Son as our Savior. They come naturally as a result of who we are and who we are becoming.
Sadly, for those who want to know God, this list represents works; things we do because we often feel like we “should” do them. They do not reveal God to us apart from daily reading, studying, and memorizing God’s Word. All too often we confuse these things as ways God reveals Himself to us. Take a look at the list and notice that many of them are things that we do “to God,” “for God,” or “about God.”
- Listening to godly music
- Talking to or about God
- Singing songs about God
- Singing songs to God
- Donating time to help others
- Volunteering at church
- Belonging to a church
- Socializing with godly people
- Reading books about God
- Leading a small group
- Having the title of pastor, elder or deacon
- Tithing to a church
- Donating to a Christian group
When a person truly knows God, this list takes on a new meaning and becomes worship to the God we know. It then has a different affect on our spirit and relationship with God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and The Holy Spirit, who lives in a believer (2 Corinthians 13:5, 1 Corinthians 6:19, 1 Corinthians 3:16).
Here are the ways given to us by God to know Him:
- Read from a Bible that is a literal translation of God’s Word. It must be translated from the original Hebrew and Greek. I tend to prefer the English Standard Version (ESV), New American Standard Bible (NASB) and the Amplified (AMP) translations of the Bible. I also have the Holman Christian Standard that was given to me by Ravi Zacharias.
- Jesus said that God would send the Holy Spirit to help you remember what He said. You have to know, (read and memorize) God’s Word in order for the Holy Spirit to help you understand and remember God’s Words – “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” – John 14:26
- “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” – Romans 15:4
- “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” – 1 John 2:3-4
- “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” – John 6:63
- Memorize God’s Word – When we memorize God’s Word we are hiding it in our heart (Psalm 119:11); where it helps to renew our minds (Romans 12:2), heal us (1 Peter 2:24), keep us from sin (Psalm 119:11), and allows us to be ready (1 Peter 3:15) to share God’s salvation message (John 3:16).
- “For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12
- “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. – Psalm 119:11
- How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” – Psalm 119:9
- Ask God to reveal Himself while you spend time reading and memorizing God’s Word.
- Taking God’s Word and allowing it to change your life by actively changing what you do and how you respond to life’s situations –
- “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” – 2 Timothy 3:16
When you think about it, God really has made it easy for someone to know Him. He wrote everything He wanted us to know about Him in the Bible. He reveals His plan for us and tells us who He is.
If you really want the life changing message that God has to offer, I challenge you to try the following in your life; I can say from experience, God will show up for you.
- Start and end your day in God’s Word – devotionals do not count.
- Pray to God what you are reading. As an example, using Proverbs 8:17 Pray, “Dear heavenly Father, your Word says that if I seek you diligently that I will find You. Lord please help me to know how to seek You in the way You would want me to. God, I ask that the promise You give in Proverbs 8:17 be realized in my life and that I find You in such a way that it changes me to be more like the person You created me to be.”
- Don’t watch more TV than the time you are willing to read, study, and memorize God’s Word.
- Take notes (journal) about what God is revealing about Himself, His character and desires for you. Spend time thinking about what affect this has on your life, and work towards making changes in your life based on what you are learning.
Be blessed by how God works in your life as you diligently seek Him by reading, studying, and memorizing His Word.
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I believe in God our Father
I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit
Our God is three in One
I believe in the resurrection
That we will rise again
For I believe In the Name of Jesus
When Jesus says to, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you,” He is in the middle of instructing us (Matt 6:25-34) about worry and anxiousness. Jesus goes right to the root of what we worry about – life, food, clothing, shelter. It is the daily struggle of survival and what we tend to put before our relationship with God and His Son. Often times those things drive me.
For me, Jesus’s statement (some would say it is a commandment) to “seek the kingdom first and His righteousness” tests the level of my faith. I am constantly asking myself, “Do I really believe this? More over, do I really believe that if I put seeking God’s kingdom first, that God Himself will take care of these things in my life?”
Can I (and you) change what we consider important to actually put seeking the kingdom of God before work, family and ourselves? Do we have that kind of faith?
What does that look like?
- Reading and memorizing God’s Word
- Taking what we have read and memorized and asking, “How does my life need to change based on what God’s Word says?”
- Being on our knees in prayer with God
- Seeking forgiveness from those we have hurt
- Actively sharing the gospel with those that are lost
Christ tells us that if we seek the kingdom of God first, and His righteousness, that He will provide these things. Christ tells us that God does this for the birds of the air and that we are more important than they (Matt 6:6). Christ tells us that being anxious cannot add a single hour to our life (Matt 6:27). Christ tells us that God clothes the lilies and grass of the field and that He will clothe us; He questions our faith in God (Matt 6:30).
And lastly, Christ tells us to not be anxious (Matt 6:31) and that God knows what we need (Matt 6:32). Christ says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” and ends with a wonderful memory verse – “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matt 6:34)
Where are you at with seeking the kingdom first? Do you struggle with the faith to believe that God knows what you need and will provide it?
Luke 12:31 – Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.
Matthew 19:28 – Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Proverbs 10:3 – The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked
My Utmost for His Highest (Discovery House Publishers; Revised edition , June 1, 1992)
I would like to share with you one of my favorite Bible devotionals. I consider it a must-have to own in your personal library. Here are some of the reasons that I have added this book to my daily devotional time:
- Short, easy daily reads
- Practical, Biblical applications for your life
- One clear topic per day
- Comes in many formats – hardcover, paperback, digital, audio
- 1 devotional for every day of the year
- Good for study, edification, and training
- Travels easily
This edition of Oswald Chambers’ golden book combines all of the features of the updated language edition while preserving the meaning and style of the author. Men and women the world over return again and again to the words of Oswald Chambers in the most popular devotional book ever published. This book has 411 reviews on Amazon—357 are five stars! I have the digital edition and have it on multiple devices, which gives me the opportunity to read it on my Kindle, iPad, smart phone or computer.
Quotes by Oswald Chambers on Hartian.com
Just over three years ago, my life changed dramatically. Up until that time, I was unaware that stress and anxiety were boiling inside of me. I was one of “those guys” that didn’t believe I could be affected by anxiety. I thought I was too tough or strong for something like anxiety. I never saw it coming; truth is, when it did come, I didn’t believe it. My wife saw it, but neither of us would have guessed the magnitude of what life can become when anxiety takes over.
- I started to journal everyday.
- I read and studied the Bible every day.
- I prayed all the time, and did not hold back my feelings or thoughts from God.
The stress or anxiety or fear – whatever you want to call it was unbearable and continuous. It completely debilitated me. I could not sleep, I could not work, I could not eat.
The special veil has been lifted…you know the one where there is an idealistic side of life where in general you are safe and life is good. Sure, bad things happen, but they are isolated, and for the most part, are for others.
To be clear, I know I’m not alone. Many experience this and those that do come to this point through pain and suffering.
A refiner’s fire.
About 10 days ago, the Lord blessed us with my wife being pregnant. Oh the emotion that went through our hearts and bodies! Both of us in our 40’s, and me pushing 50, really creates many questions for my wife and I…most go unanswered.