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Right and Wrong Still Matter

Posted on June 22, 2018 By In Encouragement , Religion With no comments

To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

Proverbs 21:3

Despite the teaching of the day that everything is relative, there are no moral absolutes, and that you can establish your own values so long as they don’t hurt anybody else is a lot of Crockatoa East of Java.

I try to refrain from political arguments in these devotionals, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. Our focus text demands it. God wants His people to do right, and He places a high priority on our behavior. God views right conduct as “more acceptable…than sacrifice.”

With God there is right and wrong. He has established boundaries to maintain order and for our protection.

Because of the work of Christ, we are no longer under the law nor its penalty. But we are under the law of Christ (1 Corinthians 9:21), which we abide by out of surrender and love. We obey, not because we are forced, but because we are compelled out of allegiance to the King.

When I studied music, there were countless rules that had to be followed. Even in free-form styles of music, like jazz, the rules still apply. For those who love the craft, following those rules isn’t forced labor but a choice made willingly and freely. We love making good music, therefor abiding by the rules comes naturally.

All educational, vocational, and arts disciplines have rules. I find it somewhat humorous that professors in institutions of higher learning promote moral relativity, that there are no moral absolutes, just a lot of gray areas. But within their educational disciplines there are rules and more rules. Break or fail to learn their rules and you flunk their exams. So they really do believe in right and wrong. I know that because of those dreadful red marks that often appeared on my papers. Of course, it’s been a while since I attended college. Maybe now they’re using gray markers.

My wife, the artist, gets frustrated when she overlooks a basic rule of painting or drawing. Art has so many rules, it’s easy to miss something. As a result, she brings her work with her and props it on the living room coffee table. Then, while resting in her recliner, she studies her painting and considers how she can make it better. And usually, if there is a flaw on the canvas, it’s because she missed a rule. Moments later, she rushes back to her studio and fixes her mistake.

That’s a good example of the way we work on our walk with God. Yes, indeed. There are a lot of rules. So we take time to sit back and look at our performances and God points out things we can do to improve. Sometimes, our conduct has been thrown off course because we have failed to follow one or more of God’s rules. Once God has helped us identify the error of our ways, we confess our sin, ask for His enablement to get it right, and get back on course, always motivated out of love and a desire to please Him.

Rules are all around us. They instruct, guide, and protect. Follow the rules and life goes better. Break them and there are consequences. Right and wrong are our rules of order in all aspects of life.

You are no more the author of your moral value code than your television instruction manual. Somebody else wrote the book and if you’re going to get the most out of either, you have got to abide by the rules of order.

God wrote the book on right and wrong. His word is the supreme code of moral values. But we don’t follow it because we have to. We do our best to follow His instructions because we love the One who saved us. And nothing pleases us more than to please Him. We know that “To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” Right and wrong still matter.

For more on this topic, check out this article: With Christian Freedom Comes Responsibility

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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When Doing Right Doesn’t Feel Right

Posted on January 4, 2018 By In Encouragement , Religion With no comments

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

How often do your children come to you with questions to which they already know the answer? “Can I watch TV?” To which you respond, “Have you finished your homework?” Then they answer, “No.” You reply, “Finish your homework!” They unhappily stomp off as if there was some new revelation when in fact they heard the answer they already knew.

Many of us spend a lot of time asking God questions even though we already know the answers. I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t ask God questions because you definitely should. But I do believe that in many situations we already know what God expects. Notice the opening words in today’s selected scripture, “He has showed you, O man, what is good.”

Doing right requires discipline and often requires extra effort. The right thing can seemingly take away some of our perceived pleasures or relationships. The right thing can make us appear cowardly or as a pushover. Doing the right thing can expose us to unwanted punishment or discipline. Do we really believe all the excuses given by people who are habitually late for work, or kids who seldom turn in their homework? They are lying to avoid the consequences of their behavior.

When someone has wronged us we want to retaliate and return hurt for hurt, even though we know our resultant behavior is unacceptable to God. Then there are times when we find ourselves in an embarrassing or compromising situation in which lying is easier than telling the truth.

When you are in a difficult situation with a co-worker, relative, or friend — how should you respond? When you are facing temptation — how should you respond? When you are in an unfortunate situation — how should you respond? Again from today’s scripture, “And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

God has already shown you what He expects. He expects your behavior to be good, just, merciful, and humble. Even when right doesn’t feel right… God expects right behavior.

He wants you to “act justly.” Treat everyone fairly and within the confines of God’s directives and man’s law.

God wants you to “love mercy.” When you feel like getting even — apply mercy. Don’t give them what you think they deserve. Remember, God is merciful, and He desires that we be merciful.

“Walk humbly with your God.” That means that there will be times when you have to swallow your pride or deny yourself a pleasure. As you live your life before Him, you surrender your wants and desires to that which is right, pleasing, and acceptable in the eyes of God.

When you make the effort to do what is right, even when it is painfully difficult, God will bless you. Serve God with integrity. Do the “good” that God has already shown you. Do right even when it doesn’t feel right!

For more on this topic, check out this article: When You Fail to Do the Good You Know

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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