Powered By Blogger

Wednesday, June 18

PLEASE... Stop Stinkin'!

"And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor." Ephesians 5:2

Are you aware that everything we do or say in life, like rising smoke from a campfire, either goes up before the throne of Almighty God as a sweet smelling fragrance or a putrid stench?  Paul, commending the saints in Philippi for their obedience to the things of God, wrote,
"For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.  Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.  But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God."  (Philippians 4:16-19)
Paul made reference again to a sweet smell when he was encouraging the Ephesians to love others in the same way that Jesus does.  He said, And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor. (Ephesians 5:2)  Can this be said of you?  Does the smoke from your life that continuously rises up before the throne of Almighty God put a smile on His face or does it turn His stomach?  If the latter is the case, I have a message for you straight from God Himself,  "Please... Stop Stinkin'!"
Sadly enough, each of us at some point in our lives has been exposed to someone that, how shall I say this, just outright stunk!  Whether in school, at work or somewhere else, most of us can recall having had suffered the discomforts of being subjected to the likes of the hygienically challenged.  The fact is, if we do not daily apply the necessary time and effort needed to maintaining physical cleanliness in our lives then we will inevitably offend the vast majority of those that we come in contact with, especially those who practice good personal hygiene themselves.  The same can be said of our spiritual lives.  Paul, emphasizing the utter importance of purity in his instruction of  the men of Ephesus on how they should treat their wives said,
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." (Ephesians 5:25-27)
As I read this scripture, I was drawn to the word blemish or blemished especially since it is something that we are not to be if our lives are to give off a sweet smell.  I grabbed my trusty old dictionary and started digging.  As I read through the various descriptions of the word blemished I discovered something rather interesting.  As one of its definitions I found the word soiled.  I then looked up the word soiled and found as one of its definitions the word sully.  Having never heard the word sully used in any conversation that I have ever been a part of, I almost ignored it.  Curious about its meaning, I went ahead and looked it up as well.  I was glad that I did!  I found that the very first definition of sully was, To soil; to dirt; to spot; to tarnish. Sullied yet with sacrilegious smoke.  I was immediately draw to the term sacrilegious smoke especially since it ties so well into the context of our letter.
What is sacrilegious smoke?  Since we all pretty much know what smoke is I once again referred to the pages of my trusty dictionary to see what it had to say about the word sacrilegious.  It simply said, The violation of sacred things.  So then, keeping in context with the first paragraph of our letter it would stand to reason that sacrilegious smoke would in fact be something that smells terribly offensive to God.  Now, if the violation of sacred things (meaning disobedience to God's Word) is displeasing to Him, then what would it take to please God?  That's simple, obedience to His word and His word alone!  If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. (Isaiah 1:19-20)  Throughout all of scripture obedience to God's word has been the key to bringing joy to His heart!
In keeping with the tradition of this study thus far, let's take a look at the word "obedience."  In that same dictionary, "obedience" is defined as "submissive to authority; yielding compliance with commands, orders or injunctions; performing what is required, or abstaining from what is forbidden."  Question: how can we be submissive to authority if we do not invest the necessary time and effort to familiarize ourselves with the will of the One in authority? Paul teaches us,
"Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God." (Colossians 3:22)
How can we truly obey a master that we are not familiar with?  It is simply not possible if we do not have an intimate knowledge of both our Master  and his commands!  The same is true where our relationship with Jesus is concerned!  John teaches us,
"He that says, I know him, and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." (1 John 2:4) 
It is not enough to say we love Jesus.  We must show our love by keeping His commandments.  Jesus said,
"He that hath My commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves Me: and he that loves Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him. (John 14:21)
In order to become pleasing to Him we must first, love Him with our whole heart and secondly, fall passionately in love with His  Word as well as regularly studying the scriptures and putting them in to practice in our everyday life! This must be our way of life! James wrote,
"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholds himself, and goes his way, and straightway forgets what manner of man he was.  But whoso looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." (James 1:22-25)
You see, doers of the word will be pleasing to God because their lives will, by nature, give off smoke that rises up before His throne as a pleasingly sweet smelling fragrance.  On the other hand,  being a hearer of  God's written word alone and not a doer of it will generate from one's life the "sacrilegious smoke" or putrid odor that we mentioned a moment ago.  Paul said, "For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified." (Romans 2:13)   Disobedience to God's word fuels the fire that produces sacrilegious smoke or an offensive odor from our lives.
Now, let's take this a step further up and further in!  What is the word of God?  Whenever I  ask or have asked this question in various group settings, except for the very few who truly understand, the response is always the same.  They raise their Bibles in the air and shout, "THIS is God's Word!"  As true as that is however, it still falls short of God's original purpose for gifting us with the scriptures to begin with.  God's written word was never intended to be an end in and of itself, but a means to an end!  That end being our intimate relationship with Him.  Paul said in his letter to the Romans, So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
Just as Paul told his disciples, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1), we are to follow this same example where the written word or the scriptures are concerned. 
"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." (Joshua 1:8)
In other words, as we are faithful to meditate on the written word of God, the time will eventually come when we will enter the place where we will actually hear the Spoken word or Voice of God.  This is where the fullness of life really begins!  You see, it's really very simple, reading the written word of God prepares us to recognize and hear the voice of God!  This is what Matthew meant when he said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God'." (Matthew 4:4)  The primary reason that much of the Church is in the impotent condition that it finds itself in today is because so few of her members have realized that the written word of God is simply the doorway into our being able to recognize and hear the spoken word, or voice of God Himself.  This enables us to possess the most valuable prize of all, a close and intimate relationship with the true and living God!
Do you see why it is so important that we learn and obey the written word?  Because it lays the groundwork for our being able to hear God when He speaks to us.  It is only by His Spoken word or voice that we can receive His anointing and leading into all good things.  "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Psalms 119:105)  Sure, a life lived solely by the written word of God will by nature be beneficial to anyone who lives by it.  But if we want the abundant life that Jesus came to provide, we must diligently seek Him with our whole heart, listen for and obey His every word!  "The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)  We must know His voice!  Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." (John 10:27-28)  Those who hear and obey the voice of God will always send up a sweet-smelling savor that will bring pleasure to the heart of our wonderful King!
I would like to point out that the power that is contained in God's voice is the most wonder-filled power, period!  So much so that there are no words that can even begin to adequately describe it.  I believe if you were to ask David just how accurate his description of God's voice was in the 29 chapter of Psalms he would probably tell you that he wrote it down in the best way he knew how.  And I'm also pretty sure that he would follow that statement up with, Truthfully, it cannot be done, God's voice cannot be described with words!  Keeping that in mind, read how he tried to described it, The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
"The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; yea, the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon. He makes them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn. The voice of the LORD divides the flames of fire. The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the LORD makes the hinds to calve, and discovers the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory." (Psalms 29:4-9)
Don't forget, it was that same Awesome Voice that has spoken everything that ever was, and will speak everything that ever will be, into existence -- *Stay tuned!*  And you be sweet now, ya hear?!

We invite you to send us an email and let us know if this has blessed you in some way.  And please share it with everyone who could use an encouraging word.

We would like to invite you to check out these additional Scripture-based resources made available by the faithful support team family of Toward the Mark, Inc.:
Keith's "Between The Lines"Podcast on LibSyn;
~ Brenda's TTMSingingSgt on Twitter; and

Follow "KeithShealy & Toward The Mark's WISDOM-packed WEDNESDAYS" Facebook page! And get more Scripture-based truth in the "secrets" that we find, as we keep digging in God's Word and reading "Between The Lines".

No comments :