Jeremiah 5:21 “Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not”
The Quakers used to say that a preacher must “speak to the condition of his hearers: otherwise he will speak a language known only to himself. His message must be not only timeless but timely.”
I would wonder not only what the condition of the hearers would be, but I would also take my condition into consideration. If I don’t have the patience to listen and understand those whom God has called me to invest into, then how can I say I have love?
My position in Christ must be founded first in a correct view of God.
I pose the question: What is our view of God?
When it comes to how we perceive God, I’m drawn to a similar statement as Tozer.
“What comes in your mind when you think about God, we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man”A.W. Tozer
Whether it’s a level of devotion, a sense of responsibility or worship, the way we entertain who God is will affect how we respond to Him.
Isaiah 46:5 “To whom will you liken me and make me equal,
and compare me, that we may be alike?”
If we relegate our view of God to our experiences, we will be forced to draw conclusions that may be erroneous. The emotional connection we have with every high and low of life, taints our view of how we think God is interacting in each circumstance.
We must look at God from a different perspective, one that allows us to see Him for how He has revealed Himself, not how we perceive Him.
Throughout history God has declared Himself. From the beginning of time we hear His revelation. “In the beginning God…”, the opening statement in Genesis is a reminder of the position from which everything revealed started. When our existence was only a thought, there existed God in the fullness of His glory. Our perception of God doesn’t change who He is. What we declare about God doesn’t diminish or add to His greatness. We have no bearing whatsoever on God’s personhood, we only have a responsibility to understand who we are in light of His position.
Romans 1:21 “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
If we have a correct view of God, we will then have a correct view of others.
How do we gain a correct view?
A good place to start understanding our view of God is to hear how He describes Himself.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 “Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
Attributes of God’s revelation include:
- He practices steadfast love. This kind of love is enduring, it doesn’t fade over time, it isn’t dependant upon our conduct, and it remains consistent regardless of how we respond.
- He practices justice. The moral law is critical to knowing God’s character. The revelation of God’s character is the very thread that is woven throughout humanity. Sinners have the law embedded within their minds, the redeemed came to God through the knowledge of sin, and believers display their love for God by abiding in this law. The moral law is central to everything and God will judge all of humanity according to this standard.
- He practices righteousness. The perfection of God is important to know because it reminds us that all His ways are good. No matter what God does, says, or promises…you can know that it was done or will be done in perfection. God makes no mistakes. The questions of God’s actions or seemingly lack of action must be founded in His perfection. One of the great questions is concerning evil and why God allows it….since there are so many forms of evil it would be impossible to ascertain why God acted as He did, but we can know, whatever His reasoning it has a perfect conclusion.
Since these attributes are exclusive to God, the only way for us to embody these attributes is to submit to God’s presence in our lives.
Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
It is through the renewing of the mind that we can conclude what is good. Recognizing God’s will is to know how to follow. When we act on the knowledge of God’s will, we can understand what is acceptable because we know His perfection.
We can judge righty when we know what God desires.
Knowing others Condition
Once we learn to see God’s will and act on His leading, we begin to see where others have gone astray. The more familiarity we have with obedience, the more we recognize disobedience to God. This knowledge is to be governed with due diligence, through encouragement, rebuke, gentle correction, and at times patient endurance.
1 John 4:6-7 “We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.”
Those who are of God have been born again.
I was connecting with a brother today and we were talking about the quality of being born again. The evidence of the Spirit of God in someone’s life is the confirmation of salvation. To be born again is to have a renewing of your spirit that moves from death to life. The life of Christ in you causes a transformation to take place that brings forth the springs of the water of life.
Out of those springs is love, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.
If I see these attributes of the fruits of the Spirit in a person’s life, I recognize their condition of walking with Christ.
If I see the lack of the fruits of the Spirit, I can know there is a lack of the Spirit in a person’s life.
Sometimes a believer may be given over to sin, the quenching of the Spirit becomes evident and fear, depression, and sometimes anger take His place. Recognizing someone who is born again and yet in sin requires discernment and an intimate knowledge of God.
This gets me to the last point….our condition.
If I can’t see my strengths or weaknesses, then I must rely upon another to show me these qualities. Sometimes the Lord reveals our state Himself, in the midst of prayer and careful study of His Word, He shows us what we lack.
When my life lacks the intimate fellowship of the Spirit, the Lord will bring someone else who is in close fellowship with Him to get our attention.
The wise will listen to correction….the fool despises knowledge.
Proverbs 8:17 “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.”
The condition of mankind is ultimately found within the heart. If goodness is found there, out of that person good things will come. If evil resides in the heart, then evil things will proceed forth. The way we act, speak, think, and respond is derived by what we hold as valuable in our hearts.
Luke 6:45 “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
Our condition must be examined regularly if we are to remain effective in the Kingdom of God. Daily examination should be practiced through prayer and self-reflective from the Word of God. The more we know God’s character, the more we understand His will. The more we manifest the good qualities of Christ in us, the more others will see His love.
We are called to glorify God in who we are—if this isn’t your priority, you may be falling short of His grace. That grace is waiting for you to come in humility and a contrite spirit and when you do you’ll be changed forever.