On this eighth day of Awe, I continue to honor and participate in a time of self-assessment and repentance. One of my biggest spiritual and personal challenges remains relationships. My relationship with the Almighty can certainly use some upgrading and augmentation and I am working hard to make that happen. But the greatest work for me remains fostering Godly relationships with all those who fall within my sphere of influence.
Returning to Mr. Berg’s excellent article (reference: hhttp://godlawislove.org/index.html), these days of Awe cry out for the True Believer of Messiah to seek a closer relationship with Yahovah while fostering Godly relationships with those who fall within our sphere of influence. Mr. Berg suggests the following ways to do this:
A. Trust the Creator more than ever. This certainly falls within the category of faith–but faith displayed via actions and behavior.
It’s a safe bet to state that every confessing believer of Jesus Christ does in fact “believe” in God. (19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (Jam 2:19 KJV)
However, the chosen disciples of Yahshua are those who “BELIEVE” in Yahovah. In other words, Faith that is backed up by actions and personal behavior (20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (Jam 2:20-26 KJV))
I hearken back to the first century saints whose faith was indeed evident in their very lives, even unto their martyrdom in most cases. I want to become that level of believer and I suspect that most you who are listening to this episode feel the same way as I do. Unfortunately, it is not easy to get there. As I take advantage of these Days of Awe and reflect where I am in my walk with the Master, it is apparent that I am not there yet by any stretch of the imagination. But I will certainly get there as I trust you will as well.
B. Love My Neighbor as I Love Myself. 16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. (Mat 19:16-22 KJV)
I’m reminded of an old 1970’s Christian folksong that stated: “We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord…and they’ll know we are christians by our love.” Bottom line: we are required by Torah and by the commandment of the Master to love our neighbor. I can certainly improve in this area.
C. Fervent and Consistent Bible Study. This goes without saying: Berean style Bible study and meditation is vital to the True Believer’s life. 10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Act 17:10-11 KJV) 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2Ti 2:15 KJV)
What I’ve learned is that effective study is not simply reading passages of the Bible and applying them to whatever situation we find ourselves addressing. It requires contextual exegesis; the use of extra-biblical helps to provide additional contextual and background data; access to a spirit-filled knowledgeable Messianic believer and teacher of Yahshua when necessary; the Holy Spirit to provide revelation and understanding; and occasional prayer and fasting. Interestingly, there is a caveat to all of this. If we are not at a proper place in our walk with the Master, the Father may not reveal the new Truths to us at the time we are searching. Secondly, if we have been entrusted with prior knowledge of revealed truths but we neglect or refuse to accept those truths, again, the Father may not reveal any newer truths.
C. Seek to Develop and Maintain Godly Relationships. It is imperative that the True Believer of Yahovah conduct his or her life in such a way that he or she seeks to bring harmony, peace, love, transparency, and trust with all which he or she interacts with on any given day. Additionally, we must avoid disputes when at all possible, but instead seek wisdom from the Father to assist us in resolving any unavoidable disputes. Lastly, correct an erring brother or sister with all humility while divesting ourselves of ego, pulling back and allowing the Father to direct our path.
18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. (Rom 12:18 KJV)11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren…(Jam 4:11 KJV) 12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? (Jam 4:12 KJV) 9 Grudge not one against another, (Jam 5:9 KJV) 16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (Jam 5:16 KJV) 22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: (1Pe 1:22 KJV) 8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: 9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. 10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. (1Pe 3:8-11 KJV)10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (1Pe 4:10 KJV) 23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. (Mat 5:23-24 KJV)
As we wind down the final couple days of Awe after personal introspection and sincere reflection on my current relationships, both with the Father and those who would be considered my neighbor, I am cognizant of the work ahead of me. I trust that these series of podcasts–dedicated to these Days of Awe–will be of help to you as we approach the Great Day of Atonement.