26 Jul Be An Upright Person Before The Lord
One of the hardest questions we can ask ourselves is: Am I an upright person before the Lord? Am I honest with my every inclinations, desires, motives and choices? Am I clean with integrity? We know for a fact that God is always using His word and truth to illuminate every corner of our hearts, revealing even the darkest parts. When this happens, we will start to see the greed, the comparisons, the selfishness, the jealousy and the contempt within us. Needless to say, it will cause us to feel uneasy, guilty, vulnerable and shame. How then, do we respond when this happens?
Men’s response when their nature is revealed
Well, there are 3 types of responses we will talk about today.
1) Firstly, it is to conceal.
To hide from God and men. When we know how we are like, what we are thinking, what we feel, what we have done is not right, the first response could be to put on a false front and hide “this side” of our nature from God or people around us. We do not bring it up to God, or pray about it. We are afraid that if others find out, we will be judged, criticised and our self image will be smeared. Thus, this is where hypocrisy begins to grow in us.
2) Another response would be to be honest before God.
To open up our hearts before God in prayers, acknowledging that there are indeed areas in our lives that are fake or we are ashamed of. However, after this, we should also confirm of God’s nature. That He is glorious, holy and pure. Thus, even though we are in lack, we can find our place in His mercy and grace that has revealed this to us, so that we can be healed in His love and truth. When we continue confirming God’s love for us, it gets easier and easier to be truthful before Him.
3) Finally, the last response we can have is to be honest with ourselves.
This is an overlap of the previous response. When we are upright before the Lord, naturally, we will be honest with ourselves too. Let us take a moment to think this through. Are you honest with yourself? Do you really know yourself? Who are you like before God? Who are you like when no one is around? What is the source of light in your life right now? How is your faith living?
The intention of God’s illumination is to restore our lives
Now, brothers and sisters, all these questions may seem to prick at us and we may ask: “Why is God so difficult on us? Why can’t He just give us certain things, let us gain in certain ways or succeed in this area? If He gave us a little more, maybe we would not have all these weaknesses piling up within us.” But here’s the thing, God loves us and knows us more than we know ourselves, thus, He has surely planned and set the most fitting ways to bless us timely and rightly. When we pray that we are submitting our life to God, what does it mean? It is the first step to being honest with ourselves. Not asking in prayers for things that we desire or throw in some hope of getting what we thing is right, but trusting that God knows better. When we hold on to God’s word and let it illuminate deep within our hearts, we will become more and more upright before the Lord and before men. Our love for others will not be fake, the way we handle things will be done in wisdom of God’s counsel and hypocrisy will leave us. This is a very joyful and liberating spirit that grows healthily in faith.
A prayer before the Lord
Let us turn to the bible. <Proverbs 30:7-9> “Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.” Now let us dwell upon these verses for a bit. The Psalmist asked the Lord for something, and it is important for us to note that a person’s spiritual living is related to what they ask from the Lord. Some foolishly pray, some pray for lavish things, some pray without any foundation, while others bring their prayers uprightly before God. And here, the psalmist prayed for 2 crucial points that should become our prayer topics today if we want to be upright with God and ourselves.
1) The first thing the Psalmist mentioned is: “Keep falsehood and lies far from me”. This also means to pray for our spiritual state against deceit. We need to be wary of deceitful voices around us that goes against the truth of God or distorts the gospel to affect the spiritual lives of believers. We need to be wary of thoughts and emotions that seeks to add or subtract God’s full gospel to suit our personal inclinations. We must confirm that these are indeed falsehood because in Proverbs 30:5-6 it says ““Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” So as we pray, discover all these untruths within our hearts and minds, and realise how they are causing us all these inabilities to be upright before God. We need to listen to God’s word in entirety and should we feel uncomfortable, challenged or rebuked, let us not run from the truth but face our weaknesses and let the fullness of God fill our hearts, heal us of our shame or past, and rely on Him all the more.
2) Next, the Psalmist mentioned “Give me neither poverty not riches.” This means that we need to pray for all the possessions that we have in our lives. In simpler words, it is to pray to be upright in spirit and not to stumble because of matters that has to do with material possessions. When the Psalmist says this, we can see that he is truly someone who knows himself and is honest with himself. When men are in different situations, we change very quickly. In bad situations, we may rely on God. But when conditions are good again, we may easily forget about Him, we will rely more on what we possess, trusting our own judgements, successes and finances. Thus, the Psalmist asked wisely here, that God may give and take away from him as God plans so as to sustain his faith and not let himself stray away. This is a heart that values God and their personal sanctification. This is a heart that God desires and a prayer that delights in Him.
Therefore, may the Psalmist’s prayers guide us as we journey in our faith to becoming more and more upright with God and men. Let us really use our spirit to test and affirm these points daily so that we can stand firm against the lies of the world, the deceit of our hearts and be a blameless child before our Father God.