Tuesday, November 6, 2012

CHARACTERISTICS OF A MISSIONAL LIFE! What Kind Of Life Does God Want Us To Live? Part 2


"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)

Now we are moving to the second characteristic of the missional life that God want to be evident in the life of his disciples.  That second point is:

He Does The Right Things!

Many Bible scholars have described this as a person who has HONEST & STRAIGHT FORWARD DEALINGS!  It is a person who is ETHICALLY RIGHT!

This is a person who is so honest and trustworthy that he might sincerely tell someone whom he is doing business with that:

"My word is my bond!"

He is truly an honest person and never has as his intent to deceive another.  He is the kind of person one can count on, believe, trust and have no doubt of deception.

Jesus described Nathaniel as that kind of person when he said, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false."  John 1:43-51.  When the writer of this Psalm used this description he was talking about a person that you never would have to guess what they were thinking or feeling and most importantly would never have to guess what they were going to do!  Why? Because they were the type of person who would behave in the most ethical manner.  They were going to do the right thing regardless of personal harm.

This kind of person reminds me of the old Cowboy movies from the old western shows.  In those movies you could always tell who the good guys were from the bad guys.  The good cowboys always wore white and the bad ones always wore black.  When the good cowboys was questioned why he was willing to defend a town or woman at such great risk to himself his response was always something like, "Well because it's just the right thing to do!"

Living out this characteristic is easier said than done many times.  Most people that I know of and especially Christians want to think that they would do the right thing.  But the real test in living out this characteristic is not when things are going well and easy, no, the real test is when doing the real things is difficult or costly and maybe even dangerous.  I have found that many people, who do exemplify this characteristic, don't do it boldly and confidently but instead they do filled with fear and worry.  

They do it but they do it shaking in their boots.  

Why? Because doing the right thing is not always easy.  I remember a particular time in my life when I was confronted with the challenge of doing the right thing but doing it with the real possibility of personal harm.  My wife and I were living in Pittsburg, California on a very dangerous street.  Everyday there was some kind of yelling, screaming, theft and on this one particular day fight.  

Inside my house I could hear a crowd of people yelling outside when I went to look outside my front door I could see all the neighbors, mainly adults, crowding around in a circle much like you would see in high school when two people were beginning to fight.  As I looked closer to the center of the crowd I saw a teenage boy kicking a man down on the ground over and over again. The man was unable to defend himself and the boy wasn't stopping.  With fear in my heart I shouted to my wife to call the police and I picked up a baseball bat by my door and walked out in the middle of the crowd and stood over the man and said to the teenage boy,

"This is not going to happen anymore! I have just called the police and they should be here in just a few minutes but I am not going to allow you to hurt this man anymore."

To be honest I wasn't sure what was going to happen.  That teenage boys was extremely angry and mad, the crowd, who was just standing there watching look like they wanted to see someone killed.  I thought for a moment that I was going to be the next victim. I was literally trembling in my shoes.  But the crowd dispersed and the kid walked away.  As I helped the man to his feet I asked him if he need to go to the doctor.  In his drunken stopper he said no but thanked me for stepping in. When the police showed up I was the only out there to tell them what had happened. 

The reason I share this story is not to glorify myself but to express that doing the right thing is not always an easy choice and at times is done with the risk of real personal injury.  I share it because I did it not with boldness but I did in the midst of fear and trembling.  

The point is not how we do the right thing but simple that we do the right thing!

This is one of the characteristics that God looks for in His people.  God wants His people to do the right thing even if its difficult, dangerous or cost them greatly!  

How well can you do the right thing even if its hard to do? Many people are willing to do the right thing when its easy to do but many people struggle doing the right thing when it's dangerous or even just difficult.  Which kind of person are you? 

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