The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord ,
And He delights in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the Lord upholds him with His hand.
Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright;
For the future of that man is peace.
But the transgressors shall be destroyed together;
The future of the wicked shall be cut off.
But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord ;
He is their strength in the time of trouble.
And the Lord shall help them and deliver them;
He shall deliver them from the wicked,
And save them,
Because they trust in Him.
Psalms 37:23-24, 37-40 NKJV
I want to walk blameless and upright, but I find myself at times – distracted and speeding – saying something negative about my job/workplace – having told someone I would see them on a certain day and circumstances end up making me a liar – or not guarding my thoughts quite closely enough when someone comes against me (even when it might not show outwardly).
You see, I’ve given up and surrendered those big, visible sins of my old life, but I am not yet perfected. There is still room in my life for me to learn and grow and walk out a better life. And you might ask why I would care about such “little things” when the Bible tells us that “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ” – and some might even cry out “legalism” without having listened to my whole message – but I would answer that the two reasons for my wanting to walk a more perfect walk have nothing to do with me.
My first, and greatest reason for wanting to walk a life more like Christ is because He gave His best on that cross for me when He didn’t have to – and He is my example. So I want to give Him my best – even though I know that it is not my works that could ever build myself a way to heaven, I want my life to be a living sacrifice, a testimony of what He has done for me. He has done so much, forgiven so much, redeemed so much of my life from my old ways, that I’m now hungering for righteousness. I want to be pure of heart. I want to see His face.
The second reason is the others around me. There are so many that call themselves “Christians” but who look no differently in their daily lives than the worldly and the carnal and the rebellious and the wicked – and these are the very people that at one time made me sick of the hypocrisy of religion and who sent me running away from “the church”. I just don’t want my life to stumble someone else. I’m not just satisfied talking the words of Christ, I want to walk in the footsteps of Christ.
And yes, I know the warning of Matthew 20:22 just as I know the call of Matthew 16:24. But when I have come to the realization of John 6:68 and I know the warnings of Hebrews 10:26-31, what other choice do I have? I find myself a slave to Christ, a traveler in this temporary world, a messenger sent to deliver this Good News to a dying world that is many times white satisfied being spiritually blind, naked, and penniless. And as stark and hopeless as that might sound to our human minds – it is turning out to be the most abundant life. His ways are truly different than ours, and they are so much better – and I’m experiencing it all because I trust in Him.
He has me sharing the Good News to the world daily through this blog. He has me teaching and leading my family daily in devotionals and prayer and service unto others. He has me studying to become an ordained minister. He has me preaching in the jail each week and counseling and helping those imprisoned and their families. He has me providing food and Bible Study weekly in my home for all who will join us. He has me helping those wanting to recover from addiction and step into a life of discipleship by preaching and counseling weekly at a Rehab center. And He has me sharing my testimony daily in my actions, and yes, sometimes with words.
Someone will say, what a selfish message, he just talked about himself the whole time – and if so, you’ve missed the whole point. Because I know what my life looked like when I was the one in control. I’m telling you about what He is doing in my life. This is not Harold Ballinger’ life anymore.
And this is not me standing proud saying look what I’m doing. No, this is me standing back, humbled and amazed, and even a bit frightened – saying, look what the, Lord is doing, even with someone like me.
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
Revelation 12:11 NKJV
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
I Timothy 1:12-17 NKJV