Ever feel like you’re being pulled and tugged in all kinds of opposing directions? Ever feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of your life and find it hard to know what to say ‘no’ to? Is direction something that troubles you? The apostle James writes that a man who is full of doubt is like one tossed back and forth by the wind and the waves, and that such a person should expect very little in life. But is expelling doubt from your life (a) possible and (b) the only way to be stable, steadfast and immovable as a person of faith?
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord… (James 1:5-7)
The two key ingredients James mentions are wisdom and faith, they work hand in hand and compliment each other always. But wisdom is not just knowing right from wrong or thinking profound thoughts, no, wisdom is all about what you do. As you scroll through the Proverbs you come across statement after statement that describes the activities of a person who has wisdom, even God himself acts out of wisdom;
The Lord by wisdom founded the earth (Pr 3:19)
What kind of wisdom makes one immovable?
Psalm 15, only 5 verses, is highly instructive and full of promise to those who embrace it’s wisdom, the final statement of promise delivers a great truth you can build you life with;
O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue
and does no evil to his neighbor,
nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
but who honors those who fear the Lord;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
who does not put out his money at interest
and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.
The awesome thing is that to walk blamelessly is to be in Christ – it’s not to perform perfectly but to embrace the grace of God which has imparted perfection to you already!
Let me say it like this, for any who are in Christ we are already holy in the sight of God, I don’t have to achieve the status of being ‘blameless’, that status is already mine in Christ.
That’s not to say I don’t make mistakes or am no longer able to sin, but the record of sin has been paid for and now I only have the righteousness of Christ on my performance record! That’s the Gospel! That’s the Good News!
Just read Colossians 1:21-23
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Or Ephesians 1:3-4
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
So who is blameless?
Anyone who is in Christ! The rest of the Psalm begins to describe how a blameless person lives, how a blameless person will behave and how a blameless person will worship God through a life of wisdom; speaking the truth in his heart, not slandering anyone, not doing harm to his neighbour but instead he or she acts and speaks honourably as one acting and speaking before God himself (see the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, so when you live in a constant awareness of His presence his Spirit is able to lead you in right thinking and right living).
The one thing: Embrace your blamelessness
It’s a big word, but lets embrace it. You are blameless before God and for that reason you can not be moved, however, you can choose to deny your blamelessness and therefore attempt to stand in your own strength and by your own merit before God.
What happens when you don’t embrace the one thing
Such a person either ends up proud of their effort, becoming boastful, mean spirited and arrogant (like a Pharisee) or alternatively they become crushed by the weight of their failure, assuming the position of false humility, beating themselves up, living with a low EQ and being overcome with fear and doubt.
Embracing your blamelessness is by far the best option; embrace the grace of God and your blamelessness that comes through Christ. He did it all so you can’t be proud or arrogant. Your not blameless because you achieved it, quite the contrary! You’re blameless because Jesus removed the blame from your life and put it on himself when he went to the cross. Blamelessness for you and me came at the highest price!
Yet at the same time, he did it so you can stand before God, so there’s no room for false humility and servility either, Jesus didn’t save you to beat you up and have you grovel your whole life.
If he wanted subjects he would of made us his subjects, instead he calls us his children having adopted us through the born again experience, he ransomed, adopted and saved you and me so that we might stand strong and stand firm in his presence as his sons and daughters, unshakable and immovable.
But there’s something even BETTER going on here
Go back to verse one, just scroll up, I’ll wait… This Psalm is actually not just a promise of how to live an immovable life, it’s actually an answer to a very profound question. The fact that you won’t be moved is great, but moved from where?
Where exactly won’t you be moved from?
“O Lord”, the Psalmist asks, “who shall sojourn in your tent and who shall dwell on your holy hill?” Who is a good question, Where is a much more fascinating answer though!
Who is a good question, Where is a much more fascinating answer though!
There are two really exciting things happening in this question; (1) who can sojourn, and (2) who can dwell… and what’s really cool is that while both these are different (going and staying) they are really about the same thing.
The sojourner, the tent, the dweller and the house
To sojourn is to travel, to move, to journey, to ascend and go along with… the Psalmist is asking ‘who can possibly go along with God’, who can move with Him and travel life with Him, who can take rest in your presence along the way.
The tent was a temporary home to be packed and moved and set up and repacked. Israel dwelled in tents in the wilderness. It was how they lived in between Egypt (where they had left) and Canaan (where they were headed). A temporary home.
This life is temporary, Paul talks of our bodies as a tent (2 Cor 5), a temporary dwelling that we wear while our spirit yearns to be clothed with it’s permanent heavenly home, a mansion by comparison!
The Psalmist is tapping into the bigger reality of life, that as we travel and journey through our human life, we’re all looking for a place to camp, a place to rest, somewhere temporary to find shelter; a refuge. What better place than the tent of the Lord!?
Jesus himself is the one in whom we take refuge and it’s in him that we find rest and peace for our weary souls (Matt 11:28);
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. – Jesus
We put on Christ when we put off our former selves and so we are now in Him. In this life on earth, our temporary ‘tent’ of Lord in which we take refuge in is Christ. Some alarms are going off for some people who are concerned about my use of the word temporary in conjunction with us being in Christ. Calm down… I got this.
It’s our life as we know it on earth that is temporary, therefore our dwelling in Christ in our current state is also temporary. Jesus is eternal and in him we are awaiting our future hope, the resurrection. The Holy hill the Psalmist speaks of is Heaven. The tent is temporary but the mountain of the Lord is eternal. The tent is the ‘here and now’. The Holy Hill is our eternal home where we will dwell forever, not in a temporary tent but in a house, a permanent place of residence.
The Psalmist answers ALL our fears in 5 simple verses
What’s the point here? Great question. The Psalmist answers all our fears in 5 simple verses.
Who is worthy and acceptable to live and journey through life with God here and now in this earthly, temporary ‘tent’ of a life? Those who are blameless.
And who, upon death, will be worthy and acceptable enough to ascend the holy hill to dwell with God for eternity in heaven? Those who are blameless.
The link: How the tent & hill relate to our quest for wisdom and direction in life.
James said don’t doubt or you will be tossed around – like someone who is unanchored and easily moved. But if fear and doubt can be removed from your life because both your present and your future is anchored securely in Christ, then when it comes to trusting and seeking God for wisdom and direction in life, what possible, rational reason could we ever have to assume that our Father in heaven, who has promised us an immovable life, would not answer our request for wisdom?
If you ask for wisdom you will have it.
And if doubt tries to creep in, remind that pesky voice of fear and doubt that you are immovable both now and forever and no wind or wave is going to knock you over. You’re not being moved. You’re in Christ.
He who promised is faithful. If you ask for wisdom… You will have it! Don’t be moved!
Those who are in Christ are blameless and if they continue in him will have a secure, unshakable and immovable confidence that as long as they are alive they can and will take refuge in and with Christ.
Then, on the day of judgment they will continue, as they ascend that Holy Hill and enter Heavens gates, to be immovable.
To those in Christ this life is secure. Eternity is secure.
And the way we speak, show honour, resist evil and live honestly will testify to the confidence we have and the fruit of lips and our lives will be evidence to all.
Embrace your blamelessness. Live secure. Live immovable. In Jesus Name.
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