Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Philippians 1:10b …and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
I have had the incredible privilege of watching seven grandsons grow up through their first 4 years of life. I am so excited that it’s not done because there’s one more in that process right now. I also have watched three granddaughters go through the same process of growth, but there’s a reason why I am focused on the boys today, and especially on those early years.
You see, boys are different than girls. Oh my, how politically incorrect that is, but it is the truth no matter what culture says. And God created male and female from the moment of conception, and he gave each of them a set of guidelines that would enhance their ability to fulfill their God-given roles.
Every one of my grandsons did something more consistently and enthusiastically than any of the girls. We would build towers with blocks, and then they would knock them over. Each boy would ask me to help him, so I would try my best to demonstrate how to build a good tower. The blocks we used were all different sizes, and of course I knew enough to put the big ones on the bottom. If I didn’t grab those big blocks right away, they would end up in his hands as he attempted to place them on top of the smaller blocks. Sometimes the tower fell over before he had a chance to knock it down. But if not, he would not only knock it down, but knock it across the room. For me, the skill of building exceeded the thrill of falling, but not to him. He didn’t care about the order of the blocks or the design of the tower, he just wanted the excitement of watching it all fall down.
Many Christians live life the same way: they don’t seem to be concerned about the spiritual design of their lives. In fact, they may even get a thrill from watching life fall apart and the attention it brings to them as they ask for help to rebuild it. But life was not supposed to be lived in a constant state of rebuilding after crashes. It was meant to be lived according to the design of the Architect. God has designed a wonderful plan for the building of our lives so that we can withstand any storm and any attack of an enemy who seeks to knock down our tower. We are responsible to build well.
We are currently studying the building blocks of a joyful life as described to us in Paul’s opening prayer for the people in the church at Philippi. The first block we put in place was God’s grace. This is important because it becomes a foundation that cannot be destroyed no matter what happens to the building on top of it. We may have built poorly, but the foundation of grace will never fall.
1 Corinthians 3:10 – 15 (NIV) 10By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
The second block that must be in place for a strong tower to endure is love, and it is to be abundant love. We spoke of that last Friday.
On top of love we place the block of moral and ethical excellence so that our lives can be lived inside out. That was yesterday.
Today Paul adds the next block to the strong tower of joyful living. It is the pure and blameless lifestyle of a morally excellent person.
When grace and love have taken hold of our lives, we become whole, and have no fear of transparency because the excellence of Christ penetrates to the very core of our being. Every decision we make is based on the love of God and the excellence He brings to our minds. Every word we speak models the love of God because it comes from a heart of love that seeks excellence in others. Every lifestyle choice we make honors God because He has taken up permanent residence in our lives and we cannot dishonor His temple with something less than excellence. We build our strong towers with visible integrity. People can see our faith by our works, and our works are pure and blameless.
When the building block of a pure and blameless lifestyle is added to the blocks of grace, love, and transparency, the tower of a joyful life is almost complete. But we must not quickly pass over this block of visible holiness. Take some time this day to make sure this building block of joy is firmly seated in the tower of your life.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Phil. 4:8-9)
1 Thessalonians 3:12 – 13 12May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 – 24 21Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22Avoid every kind of evil. 23May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.