David W Measures Ministries International
A Pleasing Walk
The Apostle Paul taught the Colossian church: “Walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).
What is required for a pleasing walk? Paul tells us: “Put on therefore, as the chosen of God, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, whoever has a complaint against another; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you” (Colossians 3:12-13, my paraphrase).
Paul is telling us in so many words: “Here is my word to you in these critical times. In light of the hard times you know are coming, you are to measure your walk with the Lord.”
In other words, we are to ask ourselves: “Am I becoming more like Christ? Am I growing more patient, or more quick-tempered? Kinder and gentler, or meaner and more argumentative? More tender and forgiving, or more bitter, holding onto grudges? Do I ‘bear with others’? Do I put up with the weaknesses and faults of those near to me, or do I always have to be right?”
Paul is suggesting that, in light of such a coming day, it doesn’t matter what works you accomplish or what charitable deeds you do. No matter how kind you are to strangers, no matter how many souls you bring to Christ, this question remains: Are you becoming more loving, patient, forgiving, forbearing?
Examining your walk with Christ means looking not so much at what you are doing, as at what you are becoming. Such a walk cannot be achieved by human effort alone. It won’t happen by self-determination, merely saying, “I am going to become that kind of believer.” Rather, it happens by the work of the Holy Spirit, through faith in his Word.
First, we read these words and believe them to be God’s call to us, to examine ourselves. So we ask the Spirit to show us who we truly are, and measure ourselves by his Word. Then we ask the Holy Spirit to help us change.
God’s Fire Still Burns
Sadly, much of Christ’s Body today resembles a modern-day Valley of Dry Bones. It is a wilderness filled with the bleached skeletons of fallen Christians. Ministers and other devoted believers have flamed out because of a besetting sin.
And now they are filled with shame, hiding out in caves of their own making. Like Jeremiah, they have convinced themselves, “I will not make mention of [the Lord], nor speak any more in his name” (Jeremiah 20:9).
God is still asking the same question he asked Ezekiel: “Can these dead bones live again?” The answer to this question is an absolute, “Yes!” How? It happens by the renewing of our faith in God’s Word.
The Word of the Lord is itself a consuming fire. Indeed, it’s the only true light we have during our dark nights of despair. It’s our only defense against the enemy’s lies, when he whispers, “It’s all over. You’ve lost the fire. And you’re never going to get it back.”
The only thing that will bring us out of our darkness is faith. And faith comes by hearing God’s Word. We simply have to cling to the Word that has been implanted in us. The Lord has promised, “I will not let you go down; therefore, you have no reason to despair. There’s no cause for quitting. Rest in my Word.”
You may think, “But this dark night is worse than anything I’ve ever known. I’ve heard a thousand sermons on God’s Word, but none of it seems of any value to me now.” Don’t fret; God’s fire still burns in you, even if you can’t see it. And you’re to pour onto that fire the fuel of faith. You do this by trusting the Lord. When you do, you’ll see all your doubts and lusts consumed.
God’s Spirit is breathing life again into every set of dry bones. He’s reminding them of the Word he implanted in them. And those who once lay dead are being revived. They’re crying as Jeremiah did, “God’s fire has been shut up in me for too long. I simply can’t hold it any longer. I can feel the Lord’s power raising me up. He’s putting life in me. And I’m going to speak the Word he gave me. I’m going to proclaim his mercy and healing power.”
FEAR & AWE
The prophets warn us that when we see God shaking the nations, and perilous times befall us, our natural man will fear greatly. Ezekiel asked, “Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee?” (Ezekiel 22:14).
When God warned Noah of his coming judgments and told him to build an ark, Noah was “moved with fear” (Hebrews 11:7). Even bold, courageous David said, “My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments” (Psalm 119:120). And when the prophet Habakkuk saw disastrous days ahead, he cried out, “When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble…” (Habakkuk 3:16).
Please note as you read theses passages: The fear that came upon these godly men wasn’t a fleshly fear, but a reverential awe of the Lord. These saints weren’t afraid of the enemy of their souls but they did fear God’s righteous judgments. And that’s because they understood the awesome power behind the approaching calamities. They didn’t fear the outcome of the storm, but rather God’s holiness!
Likewise, each of us will experience overwhelming fear in the coming times of destruction and disaster. But our fear must come from a holy reverence for the Lord, and never from a fleshly anxiety about our fate. God despises all sinful fear in us, the fear of losing material things, wealth, our standard of living.
All over the world, people are filled with this kind of fear, as they see their nations’ economies deteriorating. They’re afraid an economic flood will sweep away everything they’ve labored for throughout their lifetime. Such is the cry of unbelievers who have no hope. It ought not to be the cry of the godly. Indeed, if you’re a child of God, your heavenly father will not endure such unbelief in you. Isaiah warned: “Who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; and forgettest the Lord thy maker…and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor…” (Isaiah 51:12-13). “Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread [awe]” (8:13).
Let God be your fear and awe. That kind of fear leads not to death, but to life!
THE DIVINE EXCHANGE
- JESUS WAS PUNISHED THAT WE MIGHT BE FORGIVEN.
- JESUS WAS WOUNDED THAT WE MIGHT BE HEALED. Surely he hath borne our griefs (literally, sicknesses), and carried our sorrows (literally, pains): yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement (punishment) of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes (wounds) we are healed. Isaiah 53 v 4-5
- JESUS WAS MADE SIN WITH OUR SINFULNESS THAT WE MIGHT BECOME RIGHTEOUSNESS. For he [God] hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5 v 21)
- JESUS DIED OUR DEATH THAT WE MIGHT SHARE HIS LIFE. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6 v 23)
- JESUS BECAME POOR WITH OUR POVERTY THAT WE MIGHT BECOME RICH WITH HIS RICHES. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.(2 Corinthians 8 v 9)
- JESUS BORE OUR SHAME THAT WE MIGHT SHARE HIS GLORY.And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost (Matthew 27 v 46 & 50). Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none (Psalm 69 v 20).
- JESUS ENDURED OUR REJECTION THAT WE MIGHT HAVE HIS ACCEPTANCE AS CHILDREN OF GOD. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (Ephesians 1 v 5-6)
- JESUS BECAME A CURSE THAT WE MIGHT RECEIVE A BLESSING. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (Galatians 3 v 13-14).
Genesis Ch 44 v 33-34 – A Man with God’s Heart
“Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the lad as a slave to my Lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers. “For how shall I go up to my father if the lad is not with me, lest perhaps I see the evil that would come upon my father?”
These were the words of Judah, he was one of the brothers, who agreed to sell Joseph into slavery many years earlier. In this story he is faced with the dilemma of either allowing his younger brother Benjamin to go into slavery to Pharaoh (which would bring unbearable grief to his father Jacob) or to offer his own life in place of his brother Benjamin. Benjamin had been wrongly accused of stealing from Joseph, who at that time was Pharaoh’s no2. No doubt the wrong done to Joseph left Judah with time to consider his actions. He was not prepared to make the same mistakes again and consequently he offered his life as a substitute. This did not go unnoticed by Joseph, for surely it showed Judah’s repentance through his change of heart.
The apostle Paul states in Romans Ch 9 v 3: “For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countryman according to the flesh.”
Jesus stated in the gospel of John Ch 15 v 13 “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
If we follow on in the scriptures, we can notice that the greatest blessing of their father Jacob, didn’t go to Joseph but to Judah. Genesis Ch 49 v 10 states: The sceptre shall not depart from Judah. Consequently Jesus was born into the family line of Judah.
Judah was concerned about going back to his father without his brother; this is the attitude we should have towards all those we know and love. For surely how can we go back to our father in Heaven without taking others with us, we need to have a change of heart like Judah.