“[…] God is not ashamed of them, to be called on as their God […].”
This verse leads me to wonder if I sometimes conduct myself in a way that would embarrass God because I carry his name.
Psalm 15 lists some qualities expected of friends of God: showing integrity, being honest, honoring those who deserve it, rejecting gossip, keeping our word, kindly sharing material things, and rejecting corruption.
God’s Word tells us the importance of believing in him to the point that we do not doubt his individual love for us. (Heb. 11:6)
Other qualities include being willing to make an honest living, and to not entertain ourselves with violence or other activities he hates. (Is. 33:15,16)
And while we may feel unworthy of being called God’s friend, we need humility to keep trying to meet his standards. (Ps. 16:7)
“Whoever is joined to the Lord is one with him in spirit.”
~1 Corinthians 6:17
Bible prophecy says it would be harder to cultivate self control during the time of the end. (2 Tim. 3:1,3)
If even the Apostle Paul felt he was at war with himself, how can I keep my body morally pure? (Rom. 7:19,22-24)
God’s Word warns me not to trust my own heart. (Jer. 17:9)
Instead, I can pray to Jehovah to create in me a new heart- one that is consistently loyal to him. (Ps. 51:10)
I can also pray for holy spirit to have the strength to resist temptation. (Rom. 8:26; Phil. 4:6,7)
I need to remember that my actions affect others, many of whom could be discouraged if I carry on a fleshly course. (2 Cor. 6:3,4)
Jesus said one should not even entertain the idea of infidelity. (Luke 16:10; Rom. 13:14)
It is comforting to know that despite my shortcomings, God is willing to patiently help me be a better person. (Ps. 130:3; 1 Cor.6:19,20)
“You have lied, not to men, but to God. […] Why did you two agree to make a test of the spirit of Jehovah?”
Ananias and his wife Sapphira were members of the Christian congregation in Jerusalem.
They tried to deceive their brothers and sisters by claiming they had contributed more than they had really given. (Acts 5:1,2)
Some people lie to preserve their reputation or advance their interests.
While some can deceive their friends and family, it is impossible to deceive God. (He. 4:13)
The Apostle Peter acted as God’s representative when he questioned Ananias and his wife about their deception.
He was moved to do so by God’s holy spirit.
In that sense, the couple was trying to lie to God.
As imperfect humans, from time to time we may be tempted to try to get away with improper behavior even while we serve Jehovah.
We must remember that Jehovah hates deception to the point of equating it with violence. (Ps. 5:6; Prov. 6:16,17)
If we learn to be honest with ourselves and with those around us, we can maintain a good standing before God. (Zech. 8:16,17; Luke 6:45)
“I must go on today, tomorrow, and the following day, because it cannot be that a prophet should be put to death outside of Jerusalem.”
Jesus says this while traveling east from Perea back towards Jerusalem, where he knows he will be killed.
Despite Herod’s threats, he still has work to be done. He knows he has nothing to fear while he carries out his commission to the end.(Luke 13:31,32)
Today, we never know what we will encounter when we go out into the community to fulfill our ministry.
Regardless of what obstacles we face, we know God is on our side and we do not let man intimidate us into inactivity. (Prov. 29:25)
To that effect, it helps to meditate on people such as the prophet Elijah and the apostle Peter, who learned to be brave in their ministry. (1 Ki. 19:2-18; Mark 14:66-71; Gal. 2:11,12; 2 Pet. 3:14,15)
“Why are you so afraid? Do you not yet have any faith?”
Jesus did not expect his disciples to shut down a storm at sea on command, the way he had.
But he did expect them to remain calm.
Some problems life throws at us can make us feel powerless and we can become so anxious that we become ungrounded from our faith and spiritual routine.
We should have faith that Jehovah and Jesus look out for us regardless of what happens.
When we pray, God gives us the power and soundness of mind to face our obstacles. (2 Co. 4:7)
And we trust that nothing can permanently harm those who are in God’s love. (Ro. 8:38,39)
“[…] Out of the heart come wicked reasonings […].”
Do I ever try to justify unethical behavior to myself when tempted to do something wrong?
It is human nature to have a sinful inclination, but if I am not careful, I could end up a slave to my own whims, and also end up hurting those who matter most, including God. (Jer. 17:9)
Instead of entertaining sinful notions, it is wiser to not let them nest in my heart to begin with. (Prov. 4:23)
“Their dealings do not permit them to return to their God […].
The pride of Israel has testified against him […].”
It would be a misstep to think we can temporarily stray from God to practice sin and then just repent and return to him whenever we feel like it.
The Bible account teaches us that a person may become so proud, he or she never repents.
That way of thinking is a dangerous course to embark on and not worth the risk of losing God’s grace.
”Like a silver glazing over a piece of earthenware are affectionate words from an evil heart.”
Christians should be wary of people who try to hit on them with bad intentions.
In a world of moral decadence in which most single adults try to have as many sexual experiences as possible, a kind, friendly Christian’s virginity or integrity may be seen as an attractive barrier that can be challenged and overcome (Gal. 5:16,17,19-21).
Like in first-century Christian times, the practices of the world are not the practices of God’s people (1 John 2:15-17).
Christians should therefore check their associations periodically to make sure they are not lending themselves to be used by an immoral person’s fleshly desires (1 Cor. 10:12; 15:33).
When that person’s true intentions are manifest, a true Christian will have to face the consequences of having deserted his or her faith (Rom. 14:12; Gal. 6:7-9).
“The breath of a man is the lamp of Jehovah, Searching through his innermost being.”
God has given us life, free will and the opportunity to prove what kind of persons we are (De. 30:19).
Like the loving father that He is, he assumes the best in us and sees our potential (1 Chron. 28:9; 1 Ki. 14:13).
There is nothing we can hide from him, and he can dissect even our subconscious thoughts and motivations (Heb. 4:13).
When we pray about the decisions we take and consider his guiding principles found in the Scriptures, we invite him into our life.
Then we can fully reflect the light he is trying to shine through us (2 Cor. 3:18).
“May you hear the sighing of the prisoner. Use your great power to preserve those sentenced to death,”
In a sense, we are all sentenced to death, due to the consequences of sin (Rom. 5:12).
And while there are people literally imprisoned because of their faith, we may feel trapped in our own life because of burdensome problems.
How wonderful it is to know that our loving Father hears our sighing and is ready to grant us the necessary strength to endure our trials (2 Cor. 4:7).
If we resolve to walk in integrity, come what may, we will be protected behind Jehovah’s spiritual shield.
That will in turn strengthen our confidence, which will allow us to experience the happiness belonging to those who patiently wait on Jehovah (Ps. 84:11,12).