Wednesday, October 31, 2012

CHARACTERISTICS OF A MISSIONAL LIFE! What Kind Of Life Does God Want Us To Live? Part 1

Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?  Who may live on your holy hill?  He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his oath even when it hurts,
who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken. Psalm 15 (NIV)

This passage starts off by asking two  very important questions:

  1. Who may live in God's sanctuary?
  2. Who may live on God's Holy hill?
In a very figurative way both of these questions are asking the same thing.  They are both asking what kind of person is fit to stand in the presence of an Almighty God? or What are the qualities God looks for in a person which would allow him the privilege of being in His presence?  

What follows eleven characteristics that God looks for in people.  However, men in and of themselves are totally incapable of living out all of these characteristics.  In our sinful nature it is impossible for anyone, other than Jesus, to reach those standards.  One of the great lessons learned from the Old Testament is that mankind is totally hopelessly enslaved to sin and totally unable to change their predicament.  The Apostle Paul teaches us that the lesson of the Old Testament is to prove to mankind that they are completely unable to live up to the standards that God has set forth and the purpose for learning that lesson is to prepare us for admitting we need a savior.  Read what Galatians 3:21-25 says, 
"Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.  Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law."
 In the New Testament what we have learned is that through Christ, and in Christ, our old sinful nature has died with Christ on the cross and was buried with Christ through baptism and through participation in Christ's resurrection we were born again through the working of the Holy Spirit and God has now begun a process transforming our lives through the renewing of our minds into the likeness and image of Christ himself. (Romans chapter's 6 & 12).

While in our old sinful nature actualizing all eleven characteristics would be totally impossible but now in our new nature, through Christ, we can experience all eleven of the characteristics by God's transforming power!  It is my prayer that by studying these characteristics and meditating on their application to our own personal lives our minds will become renewed and our lives will be transformed more into the individual that God has always intended for us to be.

One last thought needs to be mentioned before we get into studying each of the characteristics.  There is a tendency that once a Christians learns what the characteristics are that God want in them to go out and make it happen in their own strength.  Please understand none of these qualities can become part of your normal daily life by you forcing it to happen. It is only through the power of Christ living His life through us that we will be able to see this transformation take place.  Paul again in Galatians says,
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20 NIV
So in other words the way to experience this transformation of life is not through WILLPOWER but through  CHRIST'S POWER. We need to live a life where we consider ourselves dead to sin and alive in Christ where Christ lives his life through us.  It's not us doing it but it's Christ in us, the hope of glory, doing it through us.  This is so very important because Christ is the perfect example of a life that exemplifies all eleven of these characteristics and as we learn to allow Christ not only to live in us but more importantly through us we too are then able to stand in the presence of the one and true living and breathing God.  That, by the way, is how the righteous live by faith.



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