We are not known as the people of God merely by how much God loves us. We are known as the people of God by how much we love those we can see. When we become forgiving, merciful, gracious, kind, and givers of life to those who are still stuck in the thinking process of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we are growing in the process of becoming manifested children of God that overcome in all things. Offenses come, but we are never to take an offense. Life is not fair, thus we must each embrace our own testimony of victory in Christ without comparing our lives with the lives of others. Fatherless societies seek to protect themselves from offenses, but a father led culture seeks to empower the family to not take offense when offenses come. This is called ‘growing up’ in the nature of Christ.
As a father I write to you all today to say it is time we become the people of God and not merely little children who depend upon Him to be the God of the people. We should have little children among us and we should all keep the attitude of a little child, but we must also grow in our ability to overcome in all things, be strong in all things, and be grafted in the word of God within us in all things.
1 John 5:1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Doing what God says is part of the process of growing up. Acting like God is part of becoming a mature son or daughter of the inheritance of Christ. Faith comes by hearing God speak to our hearts and it is the first step to being able to respond to all that God says to us. Unless we hear and respond to His voice we cannot complain when the circumstances of life cause our houses to collapse. Unless we learn to do what God says we cannot remain strong in our relationship with God in the midst of the storms of life. Fathers don’t say everything is ok when it is not, they simply inspire the family to know how to let God work things out and how to be strong in doing things that are sometimes hard. Digging is much harder than simply camping on the beach.
Luke 6:46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. 49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”
There is a key phrase in this Scripture that reveals a secret to understanding the secret to growing in maturity in Christ. The phrase is ‘Lord, Lord’. This phrase was found in God’s encounter with Moses on Mount Sinai (Ex. 34:6). In the Stone’s edition of the modern Torah, the rabbinical commentaries state that this act of stating ‘Lord, Lord’ is a Hebrew idiom that implies two things. The first Lord implies that God is the one who forgives us for our sins before we sin, knowing the full extent of all of the sin we will ever do. The second ‘Lord’ implies that God is the one who forgives us after we sin knowing the full extent of all of the sin we have ever done. This is the very first expression of God experienced by Moses in his request to see the glory of God. I believe that this phrase is also key ingredient in our own journey of progressively becoming the house of God. It is not what we believe about God that changes our lives. It is our revelation of God that inspires us to truly believe all that He says. It is based fully upon a revelation of His love! When we see Scriptures that address this double ‘Lord’ it is an implication of this Hebrew idiom.
“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”
The issue is one of intimacy and trust. Jesus is saying, “Why is it that I am the one who forgives you before you sin knowing the full extent of every sin you will ever do and I am the one who forgives you after you sin knowing the full extent of everything you have ever done, yet you still don’t do what I say.” The true issue of obedience to God is a revelation of His love for us.
In this story of two houses, both houses were built in the same geographical location. Both may have been the same design of house and even the same size of house. Perhaps they both were drawn with the same architectural floor plan. Both houses are likened unto people who God was speaking to and who were hearing what He had to say. The difference is that one responded by acting upon the words he heard while the other did not. Jesus says that the one who heard and responded to the words was like one who digs down to the rock and establishes a foundation for his house. The one who merely heard is like someone who built his house without any foundation at all. The response of acting upon what God was saying is a testimony to the process of setting a foundation for the house. Both houses were faced with the violent storms of life, but only the house with the foundation set upon the rock was able to stand. This is the testimony of true ‘belief’. Our beliefs don’t change by hearing God; they change by responding to what God says to us. This is the process of setting our lives upon the foundation of Christ. I believe that the basis for our ability to respond to what God says to us is based upon a revelation of God’s love. When we know how much He loves us we will respond to all that He says. It is a revelation of who He is that empowers us to do all that He says. It is a matter of love!
God speaks to all people and anyone can hear Him. He loves all people and everyone is a beneficiary of His love. God’s presence is with all people, but not everyone seeks to give their presence to Him. When we know He loves us we respond by loving Him. We become willing to do what He says, even when it is hard. Living in a justice system of love is more demanding than living in a justice system of right and wrong. Sometimes we want to be so righteous we fail to do what is right. It may not be right to forgive the unforgivable, but it is the right thing to do. It may not be right to receive the flawed vessels God sends into our lives, but in love it is the right thing to do.
More to come,
Ted J. Hanson