Spiritual Stature
Lesson 89

Heaven measures people not by their bank accounts, their personal popularity ratings, or their university degrees. Moral stature alone counts.

After Paul received a vision of Jesus Christ that completely changed his life, he said, “For me to live is Christ.” Philippians 1:21. Christianity, for him, consisted not in rituals, forms and ceremonies, projects, plans, and programs but in “Christ.” Paul, though small in stature, cast a long shadow across the centuries. He “determined not to know any thing … save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” and to preach Him “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” (1 Corinthians 2:2,4.)

Paul’s goal should be ours. Christ likeness should be our aim in life, Paul said, “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13,14.

As Christians we have, trials and temptations, difficulties and hardships, interspersed with heart satisfactions and holy joys. However, all along, those who have the Spirit of God will have the inner assurance that they are sons and daughters of God. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are sons of God.” Romans 8:14.

The Spirit of God will never led us into situations that will overwhelm us. The prophet Isaiah declared, “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” Isaiah 59:19. Today the tidal wave of sin has risen to flood stage, ready to engulf the world, but this text says that at such a time the Spirit of the Lord will raise a standard in opposition. Not by compromising with sin nor by lowering the standards of the church to accommodate man in his fallen state, but by exalting the standard of the Spirit will Satan be defeated.

The world presents standards utterly unacceptable to the Christian. Some people seem to think that if they were clever, they do not need to be righteous. Their philosophy is, If you are smart enough to get away with it, anything is alright.

Others feel that they cannot go wrong if they go along with the crowd. They pass off their inconsistencies with a glib “Everybody’s doing it.” They defend their racy language, smutty stories, personality clashes, scanty attire, immodest behavior, and bold intemperance with an appeal to “It’s the fashion” or “I don’t want to be an oddball.” These fear what others may think about them more than what God thinks about them. However, God expressly commands, “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.” Exodus 23:2. Suppose everybody in the world voted to keep Wednesday as the Sabbath. Would that change God? Can God be outvoted? Let the Bible answer: “What if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect” God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar.” Romans 3:3,4.

What man thinks does not count anyway, for God measures His people. He is measuring us now. Are we ready to face the verdict of the judgment? The word has gone forth, “Rise, measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.” Revelation 11:1.

When the children of Israel became “chummy” with the heathen peoples around them, they began to clamor for a king “that we … may be like all the nations.” (1 Samuel 8:20.) Why were they so infatuated with the governments about them? It is a sociological law that people tend to be like whose company they enjoy.

When reprimanding King Jehoshaphat, the Old Testament prophet Jehu said, “shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord?” 2 Chronicles 19:2.

No one will ever be taller than his ideals as expressed in his friendships. God wants us to make Jesus Christ our Friend and Pattern. When the Spirit of God lifts a standard against the enemy, He points us to Jesus, for it is the Spirit’s special work to “glorify” our Lord. (John 16:14.) “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), we will become more and more like Him. The Spirit helps us develop an image likeness of our Lord. “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18.


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