A PERFECT Walking Day - Purity 831
Purity 831 09/08/2022
Today’s photo a wooden pathway into the forest of the Malta Ecological Park comes to us from a friend who shared this scene on social media back on August 25th declaring that it was a “PERFECT walking day.” , with perfect in all caps.
Well it’s Thursday again and as is my habit I am sharing another photo of a pathway because traditionally Thursdays are the days I have done recovery or discipleship ministry and I like to encourage others to get on the path towards a closer relationship with God but in all honesty any day that we choose to follow the Lord is a “PERFECT walking day” as in walking in the Spirit.
Tonight, I step on a new path as I will be meeting with some of the graduates of the Freedom in Christ course for an informal study or walk through of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship and even though I will be traversing over some new ground I have decided to be “bold and courageous” and share the sessions on the mt4christ247 podcast and the MT4Christ247 YouTube channel. I’m officially calling it an “informal study” right now so no one will expect a professionally produced program, lol.
So tune in tonight or tomorrow to see just how many bloopers happen!
And so let’s talk about being “PERFECT” and how the idea that we MUST BE PERFECT can be a real stumbling block to our Christian walk and our relationship with God.
Christ told us to be perfect in His Sermon on the Mount. So you better be PERFECT.
Well to give this some context I want to share just a small section of scripture that leads up to that famous verse, and I’m not sure if it will encourage or discourage you but stay with me because we will try to give you some balance so you can accept Christ’s words and not condemn yourselves. In
Matthew 5:43-48 (NKJV) , Jesus says
43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'
44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?
48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
If we even just look at the immediate context of the preceding verses of that “perfect verse”, we can see that Jesus isn’t delivering a message on fulfilling the law or “doing everything right”. Jesus is talking about love! Jesus is calling for a change of heart that would cause us to consider loving our enemies!
What is He crazy. No Jesus wasn’t crazy but the love of God is “crazy love” as in extreme.
John 3:16 (NKJV) tells us about God’s
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
We were enemies to God, separated from Him by our rebellious sins. But God loved his enemies enough to send Christ to die for us. So if we are to follow Christ, Jesus is encouraging us to show the same type of “PERFECT” love to others.
I am not a Greek Scholar and I am not exactly the “word study” guy but I decided to look at that “perfect” word in this verse and this is what I found:
Strong’s Definitions Legend tells us that this perfect word is:
τέλειος téleios, tel'-i-os; from G5056; complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.); neuter (as noun, with G3588) completeness:—of full age, man, perfect.
The Common English Bible uses this “complete” use of teleios in it’s translation and with it
5:48 (CEB) says
48 Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete.
WOW, talk about a change from thinking that we have to do everything perfectly, as in “doing everything right” or being without sin. Here are a couple of scriptures that should further temper those who would tell us to “BE PERFECT”.
I almost hesitate to share this one but here we go:
1 John 1:8-10 (NKJV)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
Okay, there it is – this is a letter from John to the church and in it it makes it clear that we will never “BE PERFECT” as in being sinless.
HOWEVER, I would point to the fact that we are not to remain complacent in our blatant sins because these verses say that we will sin. I included verse 9 because it tells us that if we confess our sins we will be cleansed and I believe that the rest of John’s letter would indicate that we are not powerless with our besetting sins because the remaining four chapters of this epistle encourages Christians to turn from their sin. That means we can have victory.
But wait, if we can have victory, why does John say we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves?
James 4:17 (NKJV) helps us with that
17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
Here we go, I pretty sure all of us can admit to not always doing the “good” we know to do. Even when we can have victory over overt sins, we will never be sinless because there will undoubtedly be some “good” we have left undone.
Paul’s “discipleship instructions” to the church show us to abstain from evil and to do what is good.
1 Thessalonians 5:15-22 (NKJV)
15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.
16 Rejoice always,
17 pray without ceasing,
18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
19 Do not quench the Spirit.
20 Do not despise prophecies.
21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.
22 Abstain from every form of evil.
So instead of feeling powerless to those besetting sins, fight them. You won’t BE PERFECT but you can make progress. You won’t be sinless. But you can sin less.
But back to being “PERFECT” - Paul’s and John’s verse and all the New Testament teach us how to walk with Christ. And as a reminder, that “perfect” word could be read as complete and the context of the passage it is used in tells us to be “complete” in our love towards others.
So keep walking and talking with God, it just happens to be a PERFECT walking day and God will always be with you regardless of the place, time, or weather to walk with you on the path of “completeness”.
And one last verse:
Colossians 2:10 (NKJV) tells us that
10 and you are complete in Him…
As in Jesus Christ. So guess what, when you put your faith in Him you are already complete! You might make some mistakes or not do the good you know to do, so you will sin, but in Christ you are complete. In Him, you are perfect!
Running short on time so with all that scripture we are going to skip the verse of the day today. But we will be back with another verse of the day from the “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men” tomorrow.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.
Resist the Evil One
Paul showed incredible concern for the cultivation of Christian virtue into the lives of the people to whom he ministered. Christian virtue, or “the fruit of the Spirit,” stands quite apart from worldly vice, or “the deeds of the flesh.” The powers of darkness are utterly opposed to the development of Christian virtue. These demonic powers represent everything that is evil, fleshly and worldly.
For Paul resisting the evil one is closely related to putting to death the deeds of the flesh or stripping off the old nature. These are similar activities viewed from different angles. The goal is to recognize when you face temptation—whether the source of the temptation is viewed as coming from the flesh, the old nature or Satan’s enticement—and to resist it by the power of God. According to Paul, spiritual warfare is primarily resistance. It involves taking a closer look at the supernatural nature of temptation and preparing yourself to face the spiritual onslaught in a spiritual manner.
One cannot “simply” resist the evil one. It is not as easy as just saying no. Satan and his forces are supernaturally powerful foes. One must be a Christian and appropriate the resources that are his or hers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Following Jesus, knowledge of the truth, faith and prayer are all prerequisites to resisting the devil and making progress in the Christian life.
Join God’s People in the Redemptive Mission
The Christian life is not a “holding pattern” until the day of our death. Nor is it something designed by God merely to freshen our lives until we are joined with him in heaven. The church is called to a task, to reach out into the unredeemed world with the good news of the gospel. Christ has given the church the task of “proclaiming release to the captives” of Satan’s kingdom. In the context of Paul’s teaching on spiritual warfare, this represents the offensive part of that warfare.
The Father suspends the Second Coming of Christ to provide time for the church to engage in this mission. Paul urged his readers to “redeem the time” which God gives for this task. It is furthermore the task of the entire church, each individual member, not just those perceived to be uniquely gifted to carry it out.
Expressed in these terms, the threat of evangelism to Satan and his kingdom is clear. It is little wonder that he opposes this activity with all his might.
Let us engage in a moment of speculation about Satan’s “game plan” for the West. How might he best work to blunt the zeal for the mission of the church? If he were to oppose it in a direct way where people could clearly perceive his hostile intention, it might prove counterproductive. People would rally to the occasion.
If he were to use subtle measures, perhaps his strategy would prove more effective.
What if he were to …
□ make Christians think that everyone has already heard the gospel?
□ promote so many problems in the church that the resolution of conflict would sap all their energy and attention?
□ cause Christians to believe only missionaries and evangelists should be concerned with outreach?
□ make Christians think how extremist they might appear to their friends by “forcing their faith” on other folks?
□ point out everything repulsive about the non-Christians whom they know and with whom they might be willing to share the gospel?
□ convince Christians that there is a fair chance that everyone will be saved ultimately anyway, given such a loving God?
□ cause enough “visible” Christians to fall on such a regular basis that Christians appear no different from any other people?
In the West at least, I am convinced Satan has used such devices (and many more) to hinder the redemptive mission of the church. As part of our resistance strategy to Satan and to fulfill our redemptive task, we need to unmask these false pretensions and redirect our energy toward outreach. This call is at the heart of what it means to be evangelical.
The obligation of Christians to the world does not end with the proclamation of the gospel. We are called to be “salt and light” and to demonstrate love to the world. While Paul did not give us an agenda or an example for social activism, his ethics (influenced by Jesus) provide us with a foundation for developing Christian social ethics. Because the powers, through people, work to influence the structures of our existence, we do have a responsibility to countermand as much as possible their polluting sway. The lesson to be learned from Paul, however, is that Christians should place the primary focus of their energy on changing people. Society can change only to the extent that the hearts of the people are changed.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 215–217.