just hours after hearing a beautiful message of holiness, on Pentecost Sunday?
Initially, I tried to ignore the soft, yet undeniable promptings of the Holy Spirit. “Be truthful. Don’t lie! Be an example to your family.”
A little more bait dangled before me. “It’s not that big a deal. After all, you are hard-pressed to make this work out.”
Six hours later, my mind flashed back to the day before. I spent a leisurely afternoon walking around a community festival with my husband. Returning to our car, I observed a young couple walking on the sidewalk, along with their two small children. Within minutes, the little boy veered off the sidewalk and began to take a short-cut through a clearly marked “No Trespassing” grassy area. Immediately, the mother gently redirected her son’s steps back onto the sidewalk. Their conversation went something like this.
“Johnny, didn’t you see the No Trespassing sign?” He shrugged his shoulders and answered, “Yes, mom, but no one was looking.” Without skipping a beat, the mom then said, “So, this makes it okay to do something we know to be wrong, just because we don’t think we will be caught?” Her son quickly replied, “No, mom, we shouldn’t.”
The Holy Spirit had been preparing me for a simple test of heart purity through this timely faith talk between a mother and son. God is faithful and will always provide a way out when we are tempted to sin. (1 Corinthians 10:13) The choice is ours (mine).
The following quote from Dr. Woodie J. Stevens (Global Director for Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries International, Church of the Nazarene), also crept into my mind.
“Don’t lie. Don’t steal. Don’t murder. Be true to your mate. It’s the only way to a civilized society.”*
This Thursday, I will begin leading a women’s neighborhood Bible study, titled Becoming a Woman of Excellence. Yes, God has been preparing my heart.
In preparation for our Bible study, I came across some of the following thoughts from an additional resource.
The pursuit of excellence is the matter of the heart, of the inner person. By itself, the heart is not a safe haven. It needs guarding or protection from invasion by the world system around us and from the sinful nature that dwells within us.
The biblical view of the pursuit of excellence refers to pursuing and doing the best we can with the gifts and abilities God gives, giving our best to the glory of God.
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had,so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:5-6).
“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorifyGod on the day he visits us” (1 Peter 2:12).
Praise be to God, for the infilling and renewing power of His Holy Spirit, who cleanses us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
I thank God for His grace, which truly leads to confession of sin, and repentance.
Faith at Home Lessons:
The young mother clearly demonstrated the importance of living out Deuteronomy 6 – to teach her children God’s truth while walking along the roadside of life.
The Holy Spirit helps us recognize our own weaknesses, which can lead to sin.
Christ, through His power, will help us resist the desires of the flesh; and He instructs us to flee from the Evil One.
Guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus is a daily commitment.
I believe that being transparent with our children/grandchildren as they begin to formulate their own spiritual beliefs will help our kids develop a viable realistic faith. Let them know that you struggle with temptations from time to time, and on occasion, sin. Yes, it’s okay to use the word sin! (It seems to me that some church leaders have gotten away from using the word sin, and have replaced it with words like mistake, error in judgment, or wrong choice.)
Teach children the biblical truths about: sin and the sinful nature, repentance that leads to forgiveness, and teach our children who the Holy Spirit is and the work He does in a believer’s yielded heart (the sanctifying and cleansing power of the Holy Spirit).
I am thankful for the Church of the Nazarene, for upholding the doctrine of entire sanctification (heart holiness, Christian love, or whatever you choose to call living a life that pleases God).
Over the past several years, I've blogged about my greatest passion--intentionally passing my faith in Christ to the next generation, beginning with my family.
I've been married to Jeff forever! We love spending time with our three children, six grandchildren, two son-in-laws, and our dog, Pepper.
Jeff and I gratefully serve as Pastor and wife at St. Paul's Church of the Nazarene, Kansas City, MO; where people love God and each other.
Holding His Hand, my newest blog (2016) is dedicated to my mom, Audrey Lewis, who learned to trust in Jesus during her battle with cancer.