Honoring God and man leads to the path God is calling you to take!

For the past couple weeks, God has had me reading Romans 12 over and over.  Fourteen years ago, Romans 12:2 changed my life.  This verse led me to drop some of the things in my life that were hindering my ability to give my life fully to Jesus.  One example that seems simple really helped me cut out the negative sarcasm that was ruling many of my relationships.  Cutting out sports talk radio was how I began my renewal.  By eliminating it for a year, and replacing it with either the bible or trusted leaders and communicators, that whole renewing your mind (on good things) made a lot of sense…and changed the way I interact with people.

But this time, God was leading me to read the whole chapter over and over until He made a verse pop off the page.  That verse was something I have known in my heart for a long time, a thought that has driven many of the conversations I have had over the past year or so.  It’s a verse that helps us understand the value in understanding biblical truth as well as interacting with those far from Him.  It’s a verse that leads to honoring God and honoring man…seeking the will and passions of God as well as respecting man’s beliefs and convictions, even if they contradict God’s word.  What’s the verse that affirmed my thinking?  Romans 12:17…and then the context in verses 15 through 18 hammered home the thought:

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 

Give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all!  That’s it!

How often do believers give thought to their interpretation of God’s word, whether it be proper or not, and completely disregard others thoughts and beliefs if they differ?  This verse contradicts that way of thinking.  It is telling us to stand firm in our faith, beliefs and convictions, and treat others with honor – you know, the whole love God and love others thing!

God did not stop there either!  He then led me to 2 Corinthians 8:21 that just drove home the message He was sharing with me, and clarified it even more:

…for we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man. 
Seems pretty legit, right?  Yet the staunch critic could still look at these verses and argue the intent of the message.  But God’s not done with what He has been sharing with me yet.  Proverbs 3:1-6 nailed it for me:

1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
for length of days and years of life
and peace they will add to you.
Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good success
in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.

Verse 4 says it all…So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man!  After God’s little two-week journey, I have been humbled by God and how He reveals His truth to us…not just for us to keep to ourselves, it’s for us to share!

What I really appreciate about Proverbs 3:1-6 is not just that confirmation of finding favor in the sight of God and man, but the fact that verses 1-3 command us to study His word and do what is right in the sight of God, in that our days with be filed with peace as we become more loving and faithful.  Verse 4 tells us by becoming more loving and faithful, we will find favor with God and man.  Verses 5-6 are very familiar verses that I feel have been taken a little out of context…by themselves, they preach!  Yet when coupled with verse 1-4, they add the power of being learners and appliers of His word, loving God and His word along with loving man and respecting him…in doing so, as we trust in God, not ourselves, He directs our paths and shows us the way to invite others into relationship with us and Him.

As we seek out to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ to Go and Make Disciples, these verses affirm that we must be grounded in our faith and willing to get into the world of others who may not share our beliefs, and quite frankly might completely contradict the will and nature of our God.  I am tired of listening to people who profess their faith in Jesus Christ yet are too afraid to step away from their comfortable existence and into the life of someone different from themselves because of their differing beliefs and convictions.  Some of my favorite interactions have been at bars over a beer or at a local coffee shop listening to some music and talking about life and struggles, growth and victories.  And the best, most God honoring conversations have been regarding the controversies surrounding homosexuality, alcohol, hypocritical thinking, and answering God’s call in ministry with those The Church has either forgotten, shunned or been too afraid to love the way Jesus did!

Listen, people are sick and tired of being condemned for what they believe or watching those who claim to be followers of Jesus acting and behaving the same way as the world they condemn.  People just want to engage with someone who values them for who they are yet stands firm in their beliefs and convictions…someone willing to listen to their ideas and share their own.  So I ask you, will you be that person who is sold out for Jesus, one who will form friendships with those far from Him?  Will you step out of your comfortable lives and love others the way Jesus did?  We need a generation of believers who are willing to be bold, love well, and honor both God and man so that the Great Commission can begin being fulfilled…simply because a few followers actually acted like the One they follow!  We need The Church to begin acting like The Church in which Jesus commanded to go into all the world and make disciples!  It’s time to…..




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