Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Steadfast Love, Poverty, & Dishonesty


What is desired in a man
is steadfast love,

and a poor man
is better than a liar

- Proverbs 19:22

Part 1:

Faithful and committed affection is both:
A) desired by mankind (man is the recipient)
B) desired from mankind (God is the recipient)

A) Desired by mankind

Steadfast love, which could also be described as faithful and committed affection, is a rare and treasured commodity among mankind. The greatest and purest source of this steadfast love is the love of God which was demonstrated most clearly in the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. He put His magnificent love on display by going through extraordinary means in order to make a way for us to know Him and enjoy Him forever.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
– Rom. 5:8

Mankind hungers for the magnificent love of God, though admittedly he may not know it. He does however endeavor to satisfy this hunger by a persistent pursuit of happiness – whether he seeks this happiness in God or elsewhere because of his ignorance of the ultimate source of true happiness.

B) Desired from mankind

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
– Mat. 22:37

This is what the Lord desires, requires, and commands. Yet He does not leave us only to attempt obedience on our own, He enables that which He commands. As Augustine has said, “Command what you wish, but grant what you command.”

“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
- Jer. 31:33

The Lord desires, requires, and commands this because of two reasons:
1) It honors Him
2) It is best for us – because He is best for us

Part 2:

Poverty is more valuable than dishonesty.

A great many have fallen into much trouble by concluding the very opposite of what this proverb says: that dishonesty is more valuable than poverty. Multitudes have demonstrated that they would rather lie than lose their material wealth, reputations, or positions. After all who would want to lose everything when he could simply be dishonest and avoid the hassle?

This evidences the fallen condition of creation in which the Kingdom principles are turned topsy-turvy and upside-down into the principles of this fallen world. The fallen world almost always reflects the opposite image of the Kingdom of God. In contrast, those who follow Him walk in His ways and thereby reflect rightly His glory and the glory of His Kingdom. In the midst of this topsy-turvy world, living as a citizen of His Kingdom looks quite foreign and often times even ridiculous. Does it not seem quite foolish (by the world’s standards) to be honest when it might cost you everything you own?

One famous example from recent history is President Clinton’s unforgettable lie in regards to the White House intern, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Apparently Clinton did not value honesty above his reputation or his position. Considering the moral decay which evidenced itself in this situation it is not surprising that dishonesty and perjury would be added to adultery – for when a wicked deed comes into the light it often brings its friends.

No comments: