Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Birth Place Of Decisions

"But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your 'yes' be yes and your 'no' be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation." - James 5:12 ESV

It is a beautiful thing when our heart does not condemn us isn't it? There is the active smiting of our conscience but then there is the more passive idea that if the gap between our expectation and reality begins to widen we can become disillusioned or disappointed or conversely driven and determined.

Everyone knows that commitments should be kept. The smallest child knows that. I love these verses because We have a God that removes condemnation... the active kind and the passive kind.

"Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;" - 1 John 3:18-21 ESV

If we have a heart that doesn't condemn us it is for one reason only. Our eyes are fixed on God... God's greatness and God's commitments.

"He has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' " - Hebrews 13:5b ESV

God's faithfulness makes God's perfection always close at hand. That perfection is not intimidating because of knowledge about God's grace. God the Father has hidden each believer in the perfection of His Son.

"Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few." - Ecclesiastes 5:2 ESV

"My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody... For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!" - Psalms 57:7, 10-11 ESV

We say 'yes' and 'no' all day long. Some of those short statements have very long range consequences. We want to be aware of that and have wisdom and function from a place where there is no condemnation. A condemned heart make decisions tainted by a need to compensate. It it tries and often fails to fill the gap of expectation and reality. Only God can fill that gap. Only Jesus HAS filled that gap. He was and Is all that the Father ever wanted. He was, Is and will be all that we ever need if our mind comes into alignment with divine reality.

The cross takes care of active condemnation because of transgression. The resurrected Christ and a new creation self image take care of the passive condemnation of living in a fallen world.

"A Psalm of David. O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved." - Psalms 15:1-5 ESV

The law made provisions or 'substitutes' if commitments couldn't be met. It was not rigid beyond reason.

"And if she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean." - Leviticus 12:8 ESV

"And if someone is too poor to pay the valuation, then he shall be made to stand before the priest, and the priest shall value him; the priest shall value him according to what the vower can afford." - Leviticus 27:8 ESV

Provisions can be made for many things with people. The 'price' of salvation is to high for any man but other things have room for battering as long as it is a clean dealing.

"You shall not bring the fee of a prostitute or the wages of a dog (male prostitute) into the house of the LORD your God in payment for any vow, for both of these are an abomination to the LORD your God." - Deuteronomy 23:18 ESV

So today I will do what I said I will do (or make a sufficient substitute provision) and take care of what I will commit to in the future but I will do it as a reflection of a risen Christ... I will walk in the world as an ambassador and minister of reconciliation not as a slave but as a person made free because of the perfection of Christ.


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