50. CLAIMING THE PROMISES OF GOD (PART 2)
(The Faith Forum Series -Batch 3)
In Part 1 of this Article, I discussed the whole issue of claiming the promises of God, which are really guarantees of God’s blessings, as laid out in the book of Psalms. If you haven’t read it yet, I strongly recommend that you do so before continuing on here.
In Part 2, I will be now examining some of the practices of an upright person, meaning, one who cultivates a lifestyle of doing the things that please God, as mentioned mostly by David, in the said book of Psalms.
In that book, David mentions a list of ways, behaviours, attitudes, thoughts, actions, philosophical outlooks and practices that are wrong, rebellious and displeasing to God and contrasts it with the practices that are right, pleasing to God and obedient.
As was stated in Part 1, it is important that we, as persons who have professed Christ, ensure that we are walking uprightly, so that we would not be categorized with the wicked and attract curses, rather than the guarantees of blessings in our lives.
According to the book of Psalms (not me) and based on what I have gleaned from it so far, when a person walks uprightly and therefore pleases God, these are some of the practices he DOES NOT engage in:
1. He does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. That is, he does not seek out and make decisions based on the advice of those who do not have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ his Son or have a lifestyle of doing what is right. (Ps. 1:1)
2. He does not stand in the way or allow himself to be in the company, enjoyment and entertainment of those in the habit of sinning. (Ps. 1:1)
3. He does not sit in the seat of those who are scornful or keep company and socialize with the wicked. (Ps. 1:1; 26: 4-5)
4. He does not love vanity, meaning that which is worthless, vacuous, empty or of no spiritual benefit and he does not pursue lies or falsehoods in his actions or with his words. (Ps. 4:2; 12: 2)
5. He does not commit or join with others to commit murder against the poor, less fortunate or the afflicted and does not love violence. (Ps. 10: 7-10)
6. He is not thirsty for bloodshed, the destruction of others and he is not deceitful (Ps. 5: 6; 12:3)
Note well: Speaking evil of someone wickedly is usually motivated by a heart filled with bitterness, envy, hatred, resentment and unforgiveness (which are all relatives by the way) and is described as MURDER and VIOLENCE in the Bible. It is therefore viewed as being equal in severity, to murder, violence and bloodshed.
This is why David prayed to God in Psalm 55:9 as he did. He said: “Destroy O Lord and divide their TONGUES: for I have seen VIOLENCE and strife in the city.” In 1 John 3:15, John also stated, “Whosoever hateth his brother is a MURDERER: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”
7. He is not unfaithful in his speech (Ps. 5:9)
8. He is not wicked and malicious inwardly and does not have impure motives to the things he does (Ps. 5:9)
9. He does not speak forth nasty, rotten, wicked, malicious, unkind, filthy things (Ps. 5:9)
10. He is not deceptive in spirit and does not use speech to flatter, manipulate or deceive people so as to get his way (Ps. 32: 2; 5:9)
11. He does not pursue others to destroy their lives, their reputation, their character or their name in the eyes of others, by maligning them and he does not slander, speak lies wickedly about others and join forces with others to bring them down (Ps. 7:1; 31:13)
12. He does not instigate attacks or wickedness against those that did him nothing just for the fun, popularity or pleasure of it and does not reward evil to someone who was at peace with him or position himself as his enemy or do wickedly to someone that did nothing to him (Ps. 7:4; Ps. 25:3)
13. He does not repay someone who treated him well or kindly with evil (Ps. 38:20; 35:12)
14. He does not plan, devise, scheme or concoct mischief or evil against others and tell lies or bring false accusations or misinformed statements about others (Ps. 7:14; 10:2; 2:11; 35:11, 20)
15. He does not hate people or store up bitterness and hatred in his heart against others (Ps. 9:13; 24:19)
16. He does not disregard or ignore God in his actions (Ps. 9:17; 10:4;12:4)
17. He does not act with pride (Ps. 10:2)
18. He does not persecute, oppress, exploit, manipulate, set traps for or take advantage of the poor (Ps. 10: 2; 9-10)
19. He does not boast about the cravings, wants or desires of his heart (Ps. 10:3)
20. He does not bless, approve of or endorse the covetous or greedy person, whom the Lord hates (Ps. 10:3)
21. He does not practice or continually engage in ways that grieve the Lord (Ps. 10:5)
22. He does not love unjust or unfair practices (Ps. 10:5)
23. He does not place confidence in himself and his position in life, his strength or intelligence and does not speak proudly but understands his frailty as a mere human being in God’s sight (Ps. 10:5-6)
24. He does not operate in a godless manner but understands that he is accountable to God for every word, thought and action and knows that how he chooses to behave, comes with consequences (Ps. 10:11, 13, 14; 12: 4)
25. He does not attack, seek to destroy or malign those who walk uprightly and he does not boldly and unashamedly speak wickedly and with scorn against the righteous (Ps. 11:2; 31:18; 37: 12, 14, 32)
26. He does not glory, rejoice, celebrate, feel happy, enjoy or triumph (whether inwardly or outwardly) at the mishaps, downfalls, pains, trials, tragedies or adversities of others or participate in or invest in the destruction of another (Ps. 13: 4;22:12-13,16 -18, 21; 25: 2; 35 :15)
27. He does not serve false gods or put anything or anyone above or as more important than or deserving of more attention or praise than the true and living God, which is idolatry (Ps. 16:4)
28. He does not pray to God with pretence, a lack of realness or dishonesty. (So for example, he does not go to God pretending that he did things right when making his requests or pretending that he is sorry for his wrong, so as to manipulate God into giving him what he wants or putting the blame for his bad behaviour on someone else or ignoring the wrong he did and pretending that it never happened and that God is pleased with him). He does not pretend that God doesn’t understand his true motives, thoughts and the ugliness that exists in his heart, whenever it is there (Ps. 17:1)
29. He is not in the habit of committing sin based on the assumption that (1) What he is doing is not a sin or (2) What he is doing is wrong but God will not punish him for it because others do the same thing and get away with it or it has become acceptable as the norm or as part of the culture or because he thinks of God as ever merciful and misunderstands grace as giving him a licence to do whatever he wants without consequences or because he has done it countless times before and seemingly got away with it) (Ps. 19:13)
30. He does not meditate, dwell on, devote time, enjoy or encourage thinking about things that are not acceptable to God (Ps. 19:14)
31. He does not bribe, pay off people or promise compensation to get his way (Ps. 26:10)
32. He does not deceive people by speaking peaceably to them, while thinking mischief, evil, wickedness, how to hurt, malign or destroy them, in his heart (Ps. 28:3)
33. He does not secretly set traps, ambushments or nets to catch people, whether in conversation or otherwise (Ps. 32:4)
34. He does not hope, wish, pray, desire evil, misfortune or bad things for another but hopes for good things to happen to them and genuinely wishes them well and that they will be blessed. (Ps. 40:14; 41:5)
35. He does not pretend to care, be concerned about, supportive of a person in his or her situation but then spread the details of that very situation to others (Ps. 41: 6)
36. He does not embrace or court evil to the point, where he lets go of wisdom and doing good and is determined or hell-bent on doing wrong (Ps. 36:3-4)
37. He does not borrow, take from someone with the intention, promise, assurance or expectation that he will repay it and then either wickedly, deliberately, dishonestly, negligently or unfaithfully, not repay the debt. (Ps. 37:21)
38. He does not withhold mercy from those around him, is kind to the poor, less fortunate, homeless or beggar, gives selflessly and lends willingly. (Ps. 37:21, 26; 41:1)
39. He does not speak foolishness and things that are unfair or unjust (Ps. 37:30)
40. He does not honour, show deference or have respect or regard for the proud or haughty person or those that practice dishonesty or lies. (Ps. 40: 4)
41. He does not underestimate God’s power to resurrect, restore, redeem, raise up, reverse, heal, bring back, bring out, save and deliver (Ps. 41:5, 8)
42. He does not turn against, betray, kick down further, suddenly position himself outwardly as an enemy, suddenly display hatred for the very person he held as his friend, when he recognizes that that person is down and out, in a low place or in affliction. (Ps. 41:9)
43. He does not mock the upright in their adversity and try to make them feel that God has abandoned them or does not care about them or cannot hear them or is not listening to them or does not exist or cannot help them or that they are hopeless in their situation and will never come out of it. (Ps. 42:3)
44. He does not trust in the amount of money he has amassed in his bank account, his possessions or his earthly inheritance and does not feel prideful or boast about it to others (Ps. 48: 6)
45. He does not think of himself and his influence too highly, to the point where he regards himself and his power as perpetual or immortal. He is however, ever mindful of the fact that he will die one day and allows this to keep him humble (Ps. 48: 10-14).
Having listed what an upright man or woman that pleases God does NOT do, I ask the obvious question to both myself and to you: “Are you pleasing God? Are you truly walking uprightly?”
If the answer is no, then focus on living right and not on obtaining God’s promises.
(Written on 8th May, 2016)