|Volume 24 Number 8 August 2022
Give Careful Attention
It is a fact that all Christians have flaws and imperfections. Therefore, we have a need for improvement. However, because of our relationship with God through the blood of Jesus Christ, we are also unique and beautiful in His sight.
The same is true in nature. Take, for instance, the formation of crystals that make up valuable minerals and precious stones. I read where each kind of mineral and gem has its own special shape and appearance. Experts in gemology say each mineral and gem is made up of a great number of atoms that are stacked in perfect alignment. They say that occasionally one of these basic particles get out of line. Surprisingly, these “flaws” or imperfections give gems their most beautiful properties. With that said, all of us have personality flaws and character weaknesses. We see sinful tendencies in ourselves such as selfishness, irritability, impatience and vindictiveness.
So, what should we do about these flaws, and how can we guard our hearts from getting discouraged and stop living a changed life, holy as God would have us live? One thing we can do is give careful attention to our thoughts, not only because God knows them but also because our thoughts determine our character. Jesus said in Matthew 15:18-19 that our words and actions spring from our hearts.
Another example from nature is found inside Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. There are enormous pillars in this massive cave that formed by the steady dropping of water. A single drop finds its way from the surface down through the ceiling of the cavern to deposit its minute sediment on the floor of the cave. Another drop follows it, and still another, until the “icicle of stone” forms a pillar of rock.
The Scriptures teach every thought that sinks into one’s soul makes its contribution, producing the pillars in our character. It is sobering to consider that even though we can hide our thoughts from others, Psalm 94:11 says, “The Lord knows the thoughts of man, That they are futile” (NKJV). In your daily prayers this week, ask the Father to help you when you speak, when you go places and even to help your thoughts to be appropriate before Jesus Christ our Savior. You can also ask God, as King David did in Psalm 139:1-4, “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.” Our flaws, our hidden thoughts and our actions when no one is looking cannot be hidden from God – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit above!
For the Love to Be True,
the Will Must Be Free
Free will means that our choices are our own, that no outside force or influence can so infiltrate our thinking as to void our choices. Many times, this is debated in the context of God’s sovereignty, that, for God to be absolute ruler of the universe, His choices must overrule all others. Thus, free will is only an appearance. This is the doctrine of Calvinism.
What answers this apparent dilemma is the Bible’s concept of love. Love does not “seek its own” (1 Corinthians 13:5). In other words, in order for love to be love, it will not be self-willed. It is not about self. For love to be true, it must always have some other as its object and reason. Real love is totally caught up in caring for the one loved.
That God is love is a major declaration of Scripture (Exodus 34:6-7; 1 John 4:8, 16). That we are to mirror that love to those around us is also a clear teaching of Scripture (John 17:26; Ephesians 5:1, 2; 1 John 4:11). Yet, love must always be a free choice of the will for it to be real. Forced or manipulated love is not love at all but simply a control mechanism for the exercise of raw power. So, real love demands a will free to choose.
When we learn that Jesus did not come of Himself but that He was sent (John 8:42), yet He could always call on God to escape the cross (Matthew 26:53), we get the point. Though the choice was hard, still, to go to the cross was always Jesus’ own choice, which choice demonstrated His love for the Father (John 14:31). True love is demonstrated by freewill.
Therefore, it is with us. Though God is certainly Sovereign and all powerful and will always be true to Himself (2 Timothy 2:13), He chooses to be bound by our choices because He loves us.
[Editor’s Note: God did not make robots, which could only function according to their programming. This is clear from the very beginning when God created Adam and Eve and presented them with the choice to obey or not to obey (Genesis 2:16-17). The rest is history (Romans 3:23)! ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]