We are starting a new study this week, The Man God Uses: Moved from the Ordinary to the Extraordinary. CH didn’t really want to but we convinced him that it was the right thing to do. It does take time and requires a certain amount of discipline to complete. But the results are extraordinary.
When we first started When God Speaks, CH was very much a broken man. Seven weeks later, he is beginning to see the light at the end of the darkness. SU received an email from his SU this morning stating that after church last night, they had prayed and made specific commitments to each other regarding their marriage.
Then went home and told their children that Dad was moving back home and that they were going to be a couple again. God is so good.
The title for the first weeks study is “The Character of the Man God Uses”. Character.
The combination of qualities or features that distinguishes one person, group, or thing from another.
Blackaby defines it thus:
Who you are when no one is looking and what you are willing to stand for when someone is looking. It is who you are striving to be and what you can be trusted with.
I like that. Today’s study focused on Psalm 15 and the questions it poses.
Lord, who may be a guest in your home?ï»¿
Who may live on your holy hill?ï»¿
Whoever lives a blameless life,ï»¿
does what is right,
and speaks honestly.ï»¿
Heï»¿ does not slander,ï»¿
or do harm to others,ï»¿
or insult his neighbor.ï»¿
He despises a reprobate,ï»¿
but honors the Lord’s loyal followers.ï»¿
He makes firm commitments and does not renege on his promise.ï»¿
He does not charge interest when he lends his money.ï»¿
He does not take bribes to testify against the innocent.ï»¿
The one who lives like thisï»¿ will never be upended.
What a world this would be if we all followed this prescription! Imagine that. What does it take to reach this level of character? Jesus. Only Jesus can produce this in you. By nature, we are but sinners and cannot be “good”. What is “good” anyway?
We stumble here because we have a relative understanding of what good is. Good is, indeed, a relative term. Something can only be judged good according to some sort of standard. We use the term as a comparison among men. When we say that a man is good, we mean that he is good compared with other men. But the ultimate standard for goodness, the standard by which we shall all be judged, is the law of God. That law is not God, but it comes from God and reflects the perfect character of God himself. Judged against that standard, no one is good.
Sproul, R. C.: Chosen by God. Wheaton, Ill. : Tyndale House Publishers, 1996, c1986
Good is something man made. Character is God made. But character requires integrity. Integrity.
Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.
Now, I know that cannot be done without external help. Blackaby defines integrity thus:
Consistency between actions and inner convictions over time.
The difference between the man that God can use and a “good” man is that the man that God can use realizes that steadfast adherence cannot be done apart from God and that consistency over time is required if you want to be used fully by God in His plan.
A perfect example is in the news right now. As Michael Vick pleaded guilty to a crime, he stated that his life is now in Jesus’ hands. That is great and awesome. But no one will believe him. It will require him to demonstrate Christ, over time, before anyone will think it is nothing more than a public relations ploy.
The same is true with us. There is no set time and in some situations, God will use your repentance immediately to affect someone else. But for His full plan and purpose to be met, it requires you to demonstrate to your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers over time that your life is different and to make them want whatever it is that you have.
There was an exercise to name two people in my life that have done this. The first was easy, SU. And that is a tough one for her to live up to because I live with her, there isn’t much room to hide.
The second one was harder and I ended up choosing Phyllis K. PK grew up with me in the church and, as far as I know, has never turned her back on Jesus. She has demonstrated her love for Christ daily for years. Interesting that I chose two women.
The final question for the day: In Acts 13:22, God says he chose David because he was a man after his own heart and that he will do everything I want him to do.
Will I? Yes.