We have settled that the Father has extended an invitation for us to forsake our lower ways and thoughts and come up to His ways and thoughts. He has enabled us to do so through the new birth which places us in His Kingdom, of which His Son Jesus, was appointed by Him as King. Philippians 2:5-11, I Corinthians 15:24-28
How does this work in real life?
In Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:35 Jesus makes the statement:"Wisdom is justified of her children."
That means a decision made now may not appear to be wise, but the later results will point back to the original decision and prove its wisdom. At the time a wise decision may appear to be stupid. You may have friends asking you what you are doing. You might face criticism. It is the 'children' of wisdom, seen much later, that looks back to confirm and justify the original decision. We might say today, "A wise decision is justified by its results."
Living in the Father's higher ways and thoughts means being willing to see the long term, the big picture, and be willing to be called foolish or stupid by those who don't understand His higher ways.
You're going to pay for it if you decide to walk in His higher ways...
That means walking in His higher ways and thoughts is very often the more difficult of two options before us. From our own lives:When a friend at church used words Barb and I said about the pastor out of context and told him we accused him, Barb and I went directly to the pastor and his wife and apologized. We didn't make excuses though we explained what had happened.
But the relationship was restored because we paid the price of pride, humbled ourselves, and apologized, though in fact we didn't say anything wrong. The other person used our words out of context and weaponized them against the pastor. We had to choose the higher ways of humility, which was the more difficult choice. We could have left that church and told people 'God is leading us elsewhere', but that would have been lying against the truth. It would have been pride.
But it is an internal struggle that begins early in one's life. Does that child admit to eating the cookie, or lie about it? God's higher way is to admit it and apologize, taking the consequences. What will that child do?
Many adults 'eat the cookie' and then blame it on the system, or someone else who did something that caused them to do what they did. Adam said when confronted in Genesis 3:12:"The woman you gave me, gave me the fruit and I ate." Adam sought to implicate Eve and the Lord as partly responsible for his sin. He should have simply admitted he had free will and he ate. We simply need to admit, 'I ate the cookie'. That humbling of oneself even if you know others contributed to you eating the cookie, is a higher way.
Love is God's higher way, but carries with it the risk of being hurt. How many times have you thought your friendship with 'church people' was greater than church attendance, only to discover after you left the church they cut off all contact? Still, you walked in His higher ways, and paid the price.
Kingdom values are His higher ways and thoughts
His higher ways of honesty and transparency can mean making that difficult phone call to the credit card company you are behind in payments to - going through the fear - trusting the Father has some provision and favor and a plan if you make that call. That plan may be to cut up the card and start to live within your means, but doing so will reveal itself as wisdom on the other side of that debt.
Jesus said in Matthew 25:31-46 when He comes and sets up His kingdom He will separate the nations as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Those on 'His' side will include ones who gave to His brethren, water, clothing, food, hospitality, and who visited the sick and imprisoned (In those days people in prison relied on family and friends for food and clothing).
You have to be in relationships with people to know those situations Jesus described. Look at your life now, do you have genuine relationships? Are you involved with people you know to help them through life?
When Peter and John were released by the authorities in Acts 4, it says in v23:"And being let go, they went to their own people..." Do you have a 'people' you can go to?
His higher ways are not the world's higher ways. They usually are not flashy. They do not draw attention to you or Him. He is meek and lowly of heart. Learn of Him as He said. Learn humility, meekness. That's where you learn. His ways are normal, everyday life, walking in love and looking to do good.
His kingdom laws include valuing a cup of water to a child. Helping a brother or sister in the Lord with food and clothing and shelter. The Great Commission is 'teaching others to observe what I've told you' - it means they have to be close enough to you to observe you implementing God's ways into your own life.
When a person settles in their hearts that they don't care if they are seen of men, but want to be seen by God, they will move about this life humbly, transparently, in His higher ways and thinking His higher thoughts.
As the world becomes increasingly dark, their ways of envy, strife, division, murders, witchcraft, sexual sins and perversions, and other sins listed in Galatians 5:19-21 as works of the flesh, will become more prominent in culture and society. By contrast those walking in the Father's higher ways of love, joy, peace, gentleness, long suffering, patience, meekness, self control, will reflect lives of the opposite values and results.
We will have people come to us asking why we are in such peace, why does our life seem to have an order to it while theirs doesn't? On the one hand you will have people increasingly dependent on the government for things Jesus taught should be shared among one another - care for each other as we walk through life together. When government fails.
When bureaucratic systems clog and grind to a halt, there will be many realizing they are alone with no-one in their life to help. And then they will see their Christian neighbor, their Christian co-worker, their Christian family member, and come running for help.
The early church didn't saturate the sprawling Roman Empire over the course of 300 years by having large evangelistic meetings, or 'invite a friend to church' Sundays. They met in homes, evangelized among family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. They took turns hosting, took turns leading, and walked through life with that group of people. When they outgrew a home, because all who could were used to hosting and all took turns leading, they simply multiplied out to start rotating among themselves, from the ground up filling the Empire, family to family, house to house. As in Acts 4, they had no needs in their lives because they made sure all basic needs were met in their midst.
The typical Roman was dependent on the system for their sustenance, even bread handed out by the government. (Known as Cura Annonae for the goddess Annona, it was the distribution of free grain and later free bread by the government)
The days are coming when the difference between those living in the works of the flesh are notably different from those walking in the higher ways of the fruit of the spirit. The days are coming when people on the outside of the Biblical Christian culture will see those living in the higher ways of God's relationships and kingdom culture, and how their needs are met, how they have peace, how they are prospering - and want to know how they can have this Jesus.
"Let the wicked man forsake his ways and his thoughts, and return to the Lord who will abundantly forgive. For my ways are not your ways, nor your thoughts my thoughts says the Lord." "He made known His ways to Moses; His acts to the children of Israel." "Faith, hope, love. The greatest of these is love."
Don't be among those who continually look for one of His 'acts' (miracles) in your life, living miracle to miracle. Know His ways, and miracles will become so normal, the ordering of your steps so God-controlled, you will have constant daily fellowship with Him and the assurance of His deep and total involvement in your life.
New subject next week. Until then, blessings!
www.cwowi.org and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org