THE RIGHTEOUS WILL STAND
15 Do not lurk like a thief near the house of the righteous, do not plunder their dwelling place; 16 for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes. Proverbs 24:15-16
I know that there is a lot of unrest in the world, our country and even in our personal lives. I know that there has been many days that we have discussed the presence of evil in our Iives, but as each day moves on, I am surprised by the ability of wolves to appear in sheep's clothing. The battle of today is the struggles that we face every day to maintain the righteousness of God in our lives. Evil lurks around us and we find ourselves beginning to dive into the conversation. We find ourselves picking sides and point fingers and that is exactly what the ruler of confusion wants from us. Many times we have mentioned that we have a battle that is continuously going for our hearts and our minds. There are battles that cause us to truly question who we are and what we really believe. We get confused because it seems as even friends have the right intentions but as we saw from the other day, we have to be careful that we hold truth to the foundation of God's standards and not the standards of those who are ready for us to fail and jump on the chance to overtake us. We are in the battle every day for our lives and the great truth is that we are never alone. The CREATOR and SUSTAINER of the universe is walking with us to fight these battles.
Looking at our lesson for today, we are reminded that we have to be careful of the intentions that we have in this world. We have to watch those who are ready to be a thief and come and steal the joy that God has laid out for our lives. It is not something that is really easy to discern, but it is something that we must pay attention to as we walk through this life together. Unfortunately we have began to mistrust everyone and we think that they have ulterior motives when we should be searching for the best in EVERYONE and finding ways to help them to grow in righteousness. Today, we really see this more as a warning for those who are seeking ways to cause harm to those who are trying to do good in this world.
Regardless of which side of the party lines you fall, our real intent for people is that they live a life that is worthy of God and find a way to put our evil ways behind us and step onto the battle field. The soldiers are few that are willing to really look outside the political blinders and realize that in God's eyes we are all part of His creation. It does not mean that we agree or accept everything that we do, but we are called to love each other in the same way that God loved us. That means we are to pray and love those that have wronged us in some way or may be continuing to cause us to struggle because of the anger and frustration that entangle our minds and hearts in their snare each day. I have said it countless times that the battle belongs to the Lord, but the reality is that we struggle to understand which side of the battle we are even standing on anymore.
Solomon lays down some really good truth today as he is teaching us about wisdom. He opens our eyes to recognize that we are not to stop or hinder the ones that are doing good in this world. Even though we may not fully agree on every aspect of their lives, we are cautioned not to live as those who are like a thief and ready to steal the joy from the lives that God is using to do good. We are called not to steal their glory for our own and sometimes, let's be honest, that is hard to do. Many want to be in the spotlight when it is really the person in the background that has laid the foundation and prepared for the success. We are called to highlight those who are working in the background and honor them for their hard work. You know it is not just the actor or actress that puts on the play, but the other hands that had to make the costumes, sets, wrote the words, handles the lighting, runs the cameras, and sets everything into motion for that perfect image to be displayed. The same is true for us in the Christian world. All of us must realize that there are a lot of people that have poured into the lives of those that have helped them along the way. Just because we have the opportunity to take them down the last few steps to salvation doesn't mean that we step in and take all of the glory. There are parents, grandparents, friends, Sunday school teachers, coaches, teachers, neighbors, relatives, and even strangers that the Holy Spirit has used to play a valuable part in leading anyone to come to make a decision for Christ. Those who are doing the will of the Father will stumble and fall... why.. because we are human and sin is in the world. It goes again to the spirit of the HEART that is tested by God that allows the righteous to falter but not fail. Those who are seeking on selfless gain will find themselves living a life that is full of calamity and chaos and never fully satisfied in who they are.
So today I just want you to take a second and realize that failure is not the end of the road for those who are seeking God's plan for their lives. Failure is a growing experience that allows those in the hand of God to be stretched and tested in the times of trials and tribulations. However, during those times there is a line that is drawn in the sand. For the ones that are pure in heart and seeking the will of God, we find that they are growing in their faith through the struggles they endure. For the ones that are walking with evil, we realize that nothing in this world will truly satisfy the desire of the evil that is within their hearts. They seek to destroy anything that is good because they have not experienced true joy and freedom through the gifts of God's mercy and grace. The battle will continue until the day comes for Jesus to return. I know that for a lot of people, they have been praying hard that that time comes soon based on the evil, death and chaos happening in the world today.
Others are still holding on to the hope that they have more time to reach out to those who are lost and help them in their time of need to find Jesus. Finally, the others are standing on the line trying to decide which way they are going to go. Are they going to live the life of the righteous battles evil and expressing the love of God to the world... or are they going to just throw us their hands and surrender to the world because they truly believe that there is no hope left? That is the true sign of failure when we finally give up and say that we are done and there is no more good in this world that can be done. STOP.... DROP TO YOUR KNEES... and PRAY we NEVER get to that point in this journey. Hopelessness is the sign that the thief has stolen the hope God has placed in all of us. Solomon says it himself, that the righteous will rise and they will stand on the foundation that was built by God. It is time to stand.... it is time to shine the LIGHT OF TRUTH into the world of darkness! RISE UP ALL YOU RIGHTEOUS AND STAND ON THE WORD OF GOD!