What does it mean and how do we do it so that we are Righteous before God? If we are honest with ourselves we would have to admit that as seen in churches, Christian as well as religious conferences; many in the Body miss the mark when it comes to honoring the Most High God not only on this Earth but more so in the boundless and ever-expanding Universe. It was not until Jesus showed up that we could see and learn what the reverence of God truly entails and yet in my personal journey and search; I have seen some strange forms of worship by others that are more reminiscent of pagan and ritualistic dances that do nothing to bring the Body closer to Christ much less the Spirit. As stated, “Every man's way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts. To do Righteousness and justice is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice”. - Prov. 21:3. God is so high above us; He truly can seem unattainable.
Very few men and women have been in the physical presence of God just like Moses as stated, “You shall see my back parts, but My face you shall not see” - Ex. 33:23. And very few have known they actually sat with Him like Abraham as stated, “God appeared to him and had supper” - Gen. 18:1-8. It seems the Old Covenant people had a better deal with God as He revealed His presence by various manifestations. Sure; we can point to Jesus being the very physical embodiment of God as Jesus stated, “You see and hear me; you see and hear the Father” - Jn. 14:9. But this was not the physical manifestation of the being of God but rather the Spirit of God’s Righteousness working through a man. It is a higher and original intent of God to be reverence by man as stated, “For we (ought to) walk by Faith, and not by sight. We are (to be) confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” - 2 Cor. 5:7. Another way to say this is, “walk by God’s Spirit and depart, abstain or turn away from the flesh and the world”.
To put this in perspective we have to align every foundational Truth not by our thinking but by God’s as the omnipotent one. We have to connect the dots as they were intended to be before man got a hold of it. The utopia of God’s desire is, “To be their Father and them My children” - 2 Cor. 6:18. This is still the prime directive. This is the reason for it all! God being perfect does not do imperfect things! The creation story as we know is perfect including all the attributes of the first man and woman. This includes the body, mind and spirit and everything that comes with this ensemble. The garden, the nucleus of God’s plan is perfect but outside of it is not. God as stated, “walks (presence) is in the garden” - Gen. 3:8. This is the inward utopia that the current Testimony Christian's ought to seek to obtain. God’s intent is to renew us back to what He had with Adam before the fall and just with Adam; to renew, regenerate and refresh this entire world’s population and the world’s resources. To be fruitful and multiply! There are a few who have come close to God’s full plan of redemption. For if we truly know God; then we would have the discernment it is not just about personal Salvation or just pockets of prosperity. Yes! Prosperity!
James makes the harsh point stating, “We do not receive because we ask amiss” - Jm. 4:3. James is really pointing to the paradox of our personal Faith. That although Faith is a personal power; a gift; it is governed by God’s Kingdom rules. If we don’t appreciate the latter then the former will be amiss and is why Paul states, “God is not mocked, for what we sow we will reap” - Gal. 6:7. In practical terms; a man may give of his time, talent and monies expecting that this Kingdom law of reaping what you sow, will come back to him in a thirty, sixty or hundredfold return by his “illegal” faith but because he does it amiss, out of God’s will; he will also reap a harvest of sorrows but as stated by John, “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.” - 1 Jn. 5:14. This is a part of reverencing God.
Faith is all about asking and expecting and it is essential that we reverence the God who we look to for our asking with the right attitude and attributes as stated, “Know therefore that the Lord, your God, He is God, the Faithful God, who keeps His Covenant (Word)” - Deut. 7:9. Now, God who is wise with a history of mankind beyond any of our perspectives is compassionate and merciful in the plights we find ourselves because we stumble around His foundations and everything that upholds His Throne and Kingdom. But have you noticed these blessings are limited in their benefit and are just to keep our heads above water? This is because we ask amiss! We will never attain what Jesus had until we become fully Christ-like in all facets and respects. Jesus Christ represents and is the model that enables the New Covenant to deliver on the Old Testament’s promises; where God outlined the condition of His Blessing by our choice between life or death - Deut. 30:15. With Jesus; the reverence of God moved from legality to Grace. A higher condition of relationship. Some circles say with Grace no sin can keep us from God. This is like denying the cross was necessary and that it did not bridge our broken relationship with God as stated, “(once saved) and having fallen away; to be restored again to repentance, because they themselves are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to open shame. ” Heb. 6:6. Grace is not a free get out of jail card and when we see it that way; we are basically, mocking and slapping God and Jesus in the face by abusing and taking for granted His love and sacrifice for us. Where can there be reverence for God with this type of mindset?
The same way Jesus cleared and cleaned out the physical temple because He was addressing the Old Covenant mindset of outward show of Righteousness; it is the same way we must purify all potential devices and rights that may hold back the sinner's Salvation by repentance and Grace. We must make our Temple of the body, mind, and spirit cleansed for God to be represented under the New Covenant of not rights as with laws but with the sacrifice of unconditional love. We judge not the person but we judge or rather evaluate the actions that are for self-interest and those that are for God’s interest. The latter being the greater of the two.
I am often led by the Spirit when writing these blogs to do something that seemingly has no relationship to what I am writing, yet somehow it is connected. He led me to YouTube where the first set of populated videos included an evangelist, I rarely listen to. To my surprise and interest, they were talking about how sometimes a religious mindset causes us to judge others. As if judging is not a part of being a Christian. Some say, the Bible says not to judge others and they would be half right. The Word seemingly contradicts itself as stated, “judge not or you be judged” - Matt. 7:1 and “judge Righteously” - Jn. 7:24. Did not Jesus judge and condemn those such as the Pharisees and Judas? And did not Jesus go into the temple and throw out the sellers wares stating “My House shall be called the House of prayer” - Matt. 21:13; and we are told as stated, “to discern (judge) every spirit” - 1 Jn. 4:1. We should not be confused by these distinctions or the responsibility that comes with representing and reverencing God. Because how we demonstrate our Faith to the world in action, is a reflection of our reverence for God; His Kingdom and Throne.
Everything God declares is Righteous but not everything we utilize or do in the name of God or for that matter Jesus is automatically Righteous before God. Why? Because without the right kind of reverence it is unacceptable just like when animal sacrifice became no longer Righteous before God. God is not looking for our labor but our hearts to be Righteous before Him. In the YouTube video, this preacher was referring to the adornment of the body with trinkets of gold but especially tattoos. Now, this is an age-old discussion of what does outward appearances have to do with the inward conviction of honoring God from one's heart? In the Old and New Covenant; everything! It is why the Garden was pure before the outside influence tainted it with irreverence to God by disobedience and sacrilegious acts. Adam brought irreverence into God’s Garden (Tabernacle); then Jesus rid the temple of irreverence by throwing it out because God demands and wants a clean, reverent place to have a Righteous relationship with His people; which are now the physical and spiritual abode we call our body.
You think Jesus was not sensitive or compassionate to those selling in the House of God? After all; His people were under the oppression of the Romans and the temple was one of the few places, the Romans could not enter being Gentiles. But where do you draw the line and make a distinction of Grace, to Sanctification, Holiness, and Righteousness? Some say, but if it's done with the right heart how can it be judged and condemned? All the good in the world does not make it Righteous like killing unborn babies by abortion because of a crime. God can use our personal sorrow and turn it into a blessing. It's the perspective and Faith we have. Just like John the Baptist was “preparing and making the way straight” - Is. 40:3; Jesus during His ministry was using the Spirit as a sword to show what God deems Righteous and good. So must we! The Sabbath is this example. God knows and is compassionate some have to work on this day whether traditionally, a Saturday or a Sunday. But the issue is not the day which is an outward reverence but to take the time with inward reverence and heart to honor Him and be at rest in His Covenant at least one day of the week. By this thought process, we connect dots of the foundational Truths of personal sacrifice which is the tithe. The giving to God a tenth of what He gives us. Paul uses the example stating, “Is not the Kingdom of God more than meat and drink but Righteous, and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” - Rm. 14:17; and “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient and will not have power over me” - 1 Cor. 6:12. Paul hits the point saying “if it offends (not beneficial) then don’t do it” - Rm. 14:13. Why? It is not by our statement of Faith do we reverence God’s love and sacrifice for us but by our example in servitude to His cause do we accomplish this. To do as Jesus would!
The religious mind rejects and avoids the word prosperity as if it is anti-God. Yet; the beginning and the end of the very Bible that is used to preach against prosperity especially in its lowest form of financial wealth is clearly written as God’s will. The first man did not have to work with sweat to have the flourishing garden with every kind of provision including tree bearing fruits of all kinds and herds of all kinds. At the end of the Bible; God’s New Jerusalem is adorned with precious stones and the roads paved with gold. This is not in Heaven but is to be on Earth for us who have been saved and are worthy of the Lamb’s Blood of sacrifice. Without Jesus’ Sanctified reverence for God; none of these would be possible or promised to us. How much more physical manifestations of God’s symbols of Glory would be around the globe today if and when more of the Body truly are emancipated from this world and emulate a true and Righteous Body of Christ with all reverence towards Jesus’ Father and our God.
Now, I know many are doing as much as they can to become the Temple of God in full reverence but as Paul says, “seeing the man in the mirror; we often forget what we see (or rather the reality of it)” - Jm. 1:23. Yes, the reality and not the Spirit. For we cannot go around professing we are the Temple of God is we are still not fully in reverence to the very same body that we want God to dwell in. I have to remind myself of this especially as the world tries to encroach on my efforts to attain a Temple like my Lord’s; Jesus. To abide in Him, so that the Father can see me as one of His ways to manifest His Glory as stated, “For God looks to find those He can show His Glory” - 2 Chron. 16:9. This is what a Christian’s prime goal ought to be and why Jesus tells us, “To seek the Kingdom and all these things will be added onto you” - Matt. 6:33. We can also say, “To seek God and every want will be given to us”. Now isn’t this what a good Earthly father would say to his child. To not only earn what we want but also become mature and responsible for it keeping such things in their proper perspective? Jesus knew things of this world are temporal and can be lost, destroyed and stolen but the Spirit of God that we receive when we seek it and revere it can never be taken away and is the very thing we need to achieve all our wants by putting God’s agenda first.
The Reverence of God.
Now, some may be upset that Jesus was only a man as ultimately this puts the responsibility of reverencing God on each of us. Jesus is also the Son of God but the Son of God is His title reserved for His Heavenly embodiment and in the capacity as the Son of man; He was establishing the ultimate sacrifice of any man to honor and reverence God and His Throne; repairing the damage by one’s man disobedience; many became sinners and by one’s man obedience; many became the Righteousness of God - Rm. 5:19. Jesus demonstrated this and Paul makes the statement, “you are the Temple of God” - 1 Cor. 3:16. Here lies the entire lynchpin to the reverence of God. Where the dying of oneself; the flesh makes way for the Spirit of God to reside in our body, mind, and spirit. This is the symbiosis that Jesus referred to in abiding in Him. For through Him or rather by adoption and receiving of His spirit in all things we demonstrate the kind of obedience that God seeks to manifest His Glory through; thus enabling us to truly reverence His presence in and through us. Like having an honored guest in our house, we put aside our everyday activities, needs and attend to the guest with grace.
God is not interested in outward sacrifice as He is in inward sacrifice. This is true reverence that puts us at His very desire to use an emptied vessel for His will and not ours. This is why the Old Covenant did not fulfill and was not sufficient nor able to pay for Adam’s treason because Adam not so much Eve refuted the very Spirit of God that was breathed into him and also into Eve. For us, it would be like giving a gift of personal value, like an heirloom to the next generation; who then treats it with disdain and disregard it for something of less value that has no family connection. Adam, who was God’s first vessel as His temple abandoned the reverence that is essential and required for God to manifest through him.
Now, some say God is working through many Christians today. This is true but not at the maximum output as He did with Jesus. God is the ultimate leader and also a coach that has at His disposal several types of players with different natural abilities. God is not interested in the natural abilities so much as He is seeking to mold us into the supernatural abilities that are in us but are dormant because of all forms of unrighteousness and as stated, “The creation waits in eager expectation for the Revelation of the sons of God” - Rm. 8:19. He is making due where each individual sees themselves. This is why as stated by God, “Jesus pleased Him!” God is not making a “nice” statement but as with everything done by Him; it is with full conviction, assurance, and confidence. God is not trivial with His words but because Jesus operated at the highest level as any vessel of God ought to He is able to declare His pleasure. God stands behind all His declarations and has high standards but makes attaining it with a simple childlike Faith and obedience.
Now, to be clear God is not a liar! By Faith and with wisdom, knowledge, and understanding we accept this, learn it and are unburden by it. So why is it many Christian’s pray for their needs and not their wants? Does not the Word clearly states, “God meets all our needs” - Phil. 4:19; and “If we delight in Him; He is Faithful to give us our desires (wants)” - Ps. 37:4. How can God contradict His person, Word, and will; and still be Righteous and perfect. Does not the Heaven’s reveal this Glory and perfection with the planets, stars, and galaxies? When we think small, we receive small.
When our daughter was two; we made an unpopular decision that would affect her enjoyment. We discontinued her watching cartoons and secular kid television shows. Through her teen years when her peers experienced issues; she stood as a beacon of hope, comfort, and wisdom as she does now as an adult. As a saved person you can get a tattoo, eyebrow ring and men can wear earrings because of Grace but He who judges the heart will have the final Word if these things prevented another from being open to Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The outward show leads to pride while the inward, to humility and grace; and as stated, "humble yourself under God's hand and He will honor you at the right time" - 1 Pet. 5:6. Why dare providence for fleshly satisfaction and as stated, “go after the Spirit and not the flesh” - Gal. 5:16. We became free from the world’s bondage so that we could become by choice the slave of Christ.
Now, to be clear having secular tattoos before receiving Christ does not affect your Salvation nor do tattoos of religious icons after accepting Christ. The key is maturity in Christ. As a younger Christian I wore jewelry but as my spirit matured I lost interest or the desire for such things to the point even my wedding band is absent to the disappointment of my wife. Thank God; she is walking after the Spirit also. Having tattoos can be a common ground to reach so-called outcasts like bikers but the Truth is that we have limited the Holy Spirit’s work by not exercising our Faith as stated, “ask (in Faith) the Father will send laborers into the fields (for a harvest)” - Lk. 10:2. Jesus did not use any vice to attract people to Salvation but with trust had Faith that the Holy Spirit would convict the sinner to receive Him as Lord and Savior and as stated, “Faith comes by hearing” - Rm. 10:17. This is the same Spirit that convinced the Roman Centurion to seek Jesus out and to believe only by His Words; his servant would be healed - Matt. 8:5. Jesus only recognized one thing about this Centurion and it was not his rank, authority or his unrighteous home but his Faith! No matter what we think is our right by Grace to have tattoos or other controversial adornments or things; as Christians we are to be ready to share the gospel in and out of season not by works or temporal facades but by deep, convicted Faith; for the former becomes limited and as easy it may be relatable to some; it also becomes offensive to others in its outward show but just like the Holy Spirit we are to present God to all men with litte or no distraction so only He receives the Glory.
The reverence of God grows with maturity with the Word but especially in the Spirit. And as we focus on things that do not rot or rust, they will fall away for then we begin to treasure not only the gift of Salvation but more so the heart of God and only want Him to be pleased in everything we do because we reverence Him. Just like the garden was inwardly Sanctified and God’s presence was in it, being the Genesis to convert the outer world and Jesus became the first man to truly convert His surroundings so should we be with the Glory of God emanating through our body, mind and spirit demonstrating the reverence of God in both the inward and outward man in respect for God’s image with Sacredness, Holiness and Sanctification. It might be interesting to know that once we have been changed, all remnants of the world will no longer exist in our bodies, minds, and spirits including tattoos. We know this because when Jesus was resurrected His body was renewed except for the holes in His hands and feet even though He was marred beyond recognition - Is. 52:14. It will be our works in love for God that will be under scrutiny by the one whose standards is the true reverence of God and will be used to evaluate ours. For Jesus is the perfect example of the reverence of God.
Flush it Out! - Do we want temporal or need eternal things?
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