Living to please God, influence men – Part 1
Deploying your intelligence, maneuvering craftily and manipulating other people, may give you a head up over them, but it falls far below God’s accepted standard for a life that pleases Him. He looks out for right conduct, exemplary character and unblemished reports from other people, from those who profess faith in Him. He would not compromise this holy standard. He called Abram, for instance, to a perfect walk before Him. The divine directive was: “…walk before me, and be thou perfect.”
Twenty-four years earlier, Abram responded to God’s call and obtained an experience described in the New Testament as conversion. Since that initial experience, some noticeable moral deficiencies in his life necessitated the present call to a higher life of sincerity and transparency before the Lord. This call to Abram at 99 years of age from ‘the Almighty God’ is also to all believers and implies that we should always set the Lord before us in everything we think, plan, say or do. We should be conscious of His omnipresence in our motive, manner and conduct. God demands perfection and holiness, not only in the Old Testament, but also in the New Covenant: that we should serve ‘in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life.’
With the provision of full redemption through Christ, New Testament believers should not seek to live like Old Testament saints. For instance, we cannot be as deceptive as David during temptations and trials, confusion and crossroads, while claiming to maintain fellowship with God. The Scripture’s description of David, as a man after God’s heart, did not mean He approved his misdeeds; but only gave a general overview of his entire life of tenderness to promptly repent and seek forgiveness, whenever he derailed. The account of Bible saints that balanced their strength with their flaws, prove the veracity of Scripture as the word of God.
However, their moral failures were not written to encourage us to condone or live in sin or to make sin less grievous, but “to the intent we should NOT lust after evil things, as they also lusted” (1 Corinthians 10:6). Living righteously in private and public is what God wants. For the glory, honour and praise of Christ and for the sake of our souls and eternal destiny, we must live transparent, righteous and God-honouring lives. Sanctimonious living in the sight of men without freedom from secret sin makes a person a hypocrite, who will share the same fate and destiny with sinners and Satan in hell.
David spent 16 months in exile with Achish, King of the Philistines. Achish’s quest for cheap labour without proper scrutiny made him enlist David with his men in his army. Oblivious of David’s true character, Achish described him as ‘upright,’ ‘good’ and ‘as an angel of God.’ He did not know that this pretending angel had recently gone on an unprovoked invasion of a part of his territory, ‘smote the land, and left neither man nor woman alive, and took away the sheep, and the oxen, and the asses, and the camels, and the apparel…’ 1 Samuel 27:9. David, referred to as an angel of God thrice in the Old Testament, knew he was atrocious and wicked, but pretended to be righteous.
God’s evaluation of our lives should be our concern and not the favourable comments of people, who do not truly know us. Hypocrisy, such as David displayed here, was the bane of the Pharisees, who were inwardly corrupt for refusing to obtain redemption from Christ, but appeared outwardly sanctimonious. God cannot be deceived by the disposition, modesty and skill of people, who appear to be the most honest, righteous and holy in town or church, but lacked genuine conversion. As omniscient, ‘God knoweth [all] hearts’ and all secret motives; as omnipresent, He listens to every conversation and watches all actions in secret and in public. All secrets are open before God, Who alone is the final Judge.
He has revealed the flaws, faults and sins Bible saints kept secret to show that nothing can remain hidden forever. The atrocities David hid from Achish have been published by God to millions of Bible readers, revealing that it is futile to spend time, energy and resources covering up secret sinful words, plans, actions and places because they are recorded in the conscience and in God’s Book of records. More frightening is the truth that death can suddenly transport the secret sinner to eternity to face God’s wrath.