Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Proverbs 20:7

7 ¶ The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.

In this Proverb, like all the others originally written to the Hebrews in the Kingdom of Israel under the Law which governed not only their spiritual life but their civil, we have a promise. What does it mean to walk in your integrity?

Integrity is related to innocency in not having any intention to do wrong (Genesis 20:5,6), it is uprightness in doing what God commands and expects (1 Kings 9:4; Job 2:3,9; Psalm 25:21)), it is related to righteousness (Psalm 7:8), and it is trusting in the Lord (Psalm 26:1). This is the nature of the just man or woman. He walks consistently in these attitudes and behaviors.

The promise here to the Hebrews would be that as a consequence of this just man walking in this way, that his children would be blessed, generations after him would be blessed. How does this work for the Christian in this age, you might say, since I have pointed out previously how so many children of famous and not so famous preachers had lives that were nothing short of train wrecks.

Until Christ returns to rule, the hope and expectation of every Christian who faithfully awaits His return to take the kingdoms of the world as His own, we live in a world of men that is hostile to what we believe and what Christ expects of us. How can our children be blessed by our walking in integrity when they are independent moral agents who make their own decisions and are driven by their own lusts and wants and are responsible, ultimately, for their own walk with Christ if they even receive Him as their Saviour?

What is it about a just Christian that would be a blessing to His children? Well, we’ve seen by history that it isn’t that he faithfully and sacrificially preached God’s words. Billy Sunday’s children proved that isn’t what’s going to be a blessing to the just Christian’s children after him. We all know someone who grew up never missing a day of church who, as soon as they were old enough to run off, went the way of the world, so that isn’t the key to the children being blessed after the just Christian. What could it be, in this age, where we don’t live in a theocracy run by the Bible’s admonitions and if we did there would be so many conflicting voices and messages about what it means and what we must do in response to it that we would have spiritual chaos and political tyranny?

Not having been a just man, not having walked for years in the integrity of my heart, not having been a faithful Christian, and constantly struggling with sin and disappointment in myself and in my failures I can’t tell you from experience. I can only tell you what the Bible tells me, what the Holy Spirit teaches me, and what I believe that God has laid on my heart to dispense to others. If what I am about to say is wrong then I ask your forgiveness. Perhaps you can take the time to argue with me point by point and tell me that my way is wicked and you have a better plan.

We do not have a religion of works. Works, other than that of John 6:28,29, won’t get you saved or keep you saved. Faith itself is a gift of God and not something we generated within ourselves (Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 10:17; Romans 12:3; 1 Corinthians 12:8,9). All of your running about and pulling your hair out for God is not necessarily going to be a blessing to your children. The question is what must a Christian do to leave a legacy for the generations to come that will be a blessing for them and will result in their being blessed?

A just Christian will cultivate and pray for the Fruit of the Spirit of God to be manifested in their lives; not anger and rage at the gubmint, da boss, or how his or her family just doesn’t appreciate his or her efforts.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Now you might think you’re a tenth century BC Hebrew living in God’s kingdom and bless God you walk upright and just, bless God you’re a faithful Christian. And you’ve got fruit, cause you can name off the dozens of people that have said 1-2-3 repeat after me because of you. But, you don’t show the fruit of the Spirit of God in your life. You’re angry, paranoid, and even carry thoughts of violence and bigotry around in your head. So, seeing as we know that evil doesn’t have to be cultivated to grow wild like weeds but when good is sown it must be watered and nurtured, do you think that you are leaving your children and grandchildren a better legacy by daily expressing your righteous indignation at a world that has been “mad as a hatter” since Adam’s day or by the fruit of the Spirit of God mentioned above shining through your every word and deed?

What does God call a Christian parent to be and to do? I have often thought that the only good parenting you can actually be sure of is that looking at your baby you decide what kind of person you would like that child to be and then YOU be that person.

Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Nurture and admonition? Daily prayer, Bible reading, and devotions when they are young enough that they hunger to do anything with Mommy and Daddy.

Colossians 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

You provoke a child to wrath and anger mostly by being inconsistent, by being a hypocrite in front of them DOING things you think you must do for Christ which someone has told you, playing your part in your area of the Christian culture in which you live, but having NOTHING inside but anger and paranoia and fear.

Okay, so you say, well I didn’t do it that way and my kids turned out alright. Yes, and I saw someone fall off a windmill tower once and not break a bone but I wouldn’t suggest tempting God as something to promote to other people.

Your children are independent moral agents but you have to live God’s way in front of their eyes. Any parent knows you don’t have to teach a child to do wrong. It’s doing right they must learn. What about your speech?

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Your temper?

Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

The way you treat your spouse?

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

Your boss?

Ephesians 6:6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

Colossians 3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:

Your government?

Romans 13:1 ¶ Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

Your attitude and teaching toward and about money, entertainment, dress, and other things?

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

There are many other things found within the pages of God’s Book that you will find if you read it; things like charity toward other Christians and people in general, but I have focused on attitude, internal things that, if evidenced in you and in your life and attitude, will leave a legacy for your children’s children. The question I hope you’ll ask yourself as you go about your day is do you walk in the integrity of your heart? Have your children seen the Fruit of the Spirit in your life? What will you leave them?

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