Living Hope Community Church

Loving God by Loving Others

Tag: holiness

All Hidden will be Seen

Published / by Ken Cluck / 1 Comment on All Hidden will be Seen

This morning, while reading in Luke 12, I came across Jesus words in verses 2 and 3:

“Nothing is covered up which will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops” (ESV).

Of course, the context is his warning to avoid the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. He often accuses them of doing one thing in public but doing another in private. Jesus does not want this to be us.

One way this is taken is to live our lives in constant awareness that what we do in secret is seen by God and will be revealed. But is this what he is calling us to do? Is this how he is calling us to live? Is this the secret to holiness? I would argue that it is not—at least not without some deeper understanding. Years ago, a young man asked me the difference between a child and an adult. My answer to his was simple, “A child does what is right to avoid being punished (if a child thinks he or she can get away with it, they have no reason to restrain themselves). But an adult does what is right for no other reason than that it is the right thing to do. This is character.

It has often been said that character is who you are when no one else is watching. If you are holy there is no need to fear being caught because the holy person lives holy; because the holy person is holy. We see a similar version of this when Paul speaks in Romans 2 about those who are a law unto themselves. The law says “Do not murder.” But if I love my neighbor, I need no law telling me not to murder him. The law says “Do not commit adultery.” But if I love my neighbor, I would never touch his wife. If I love my wife, then I will not touch another woman. My character, if holy, should be such that I do not need a law to tell me what to do. Paul describes the law as a guardian to keep us in check until Christ came. He goes on to say that “now that faith has come we are no longer under a guardian” (Gal 3:24-25 ESV). Don’t get me wrong. This is not antinomianism. This is transformation. The spirit of the law is still kept—I do not kill, steal, cheat, etc. because I am no longer a person who would do such things. Through the Holy Spirit’s presence, I have become a different person. While I am not there perfectly, I am getting there. This is where the law comes in. If I am a new believer who has not learned quite how God would have me live, I can look into the law and see the things which God forbade. I am no longer under law, for it was only a shadow of the real things that were to come (Heb 10:1). Yet, I must now live in the reality that casts the shadow—the truly holy life. So, please do not take this as a license to unholy living. This is actually a key to truly free-living—free from the bondage to our lost and spiritually dead selves.

What about this command of Jesus to understand that all hidden things will be displayed. Do we live holy lives because we know we will someday be caught? Not if we are holy. Jesus is here making a statement of fact. He says nothing is hidden from God and nothing will escape the light of his truth. This is not a reason to live holy (I live this way so God does not catch me living that way). It is an encouragement to holiness (I live this way because God, who loves me, sees me and I seek to please him). There are those times when we are tempted. One major problem in the church is porn addiction among the people and leaders. This is one of those problems that is fed by darkness and hiding. Addictions are another. When we sneak around to do things we lead ourselves into a bad place. Before long the hidden and dark take over our lives. Jesus is reminding us that nothing is hidden, so live the life of an open book. Understand these things. Live this life, not because you will get caught, but because you want to live the life of light and truth. This is an effective inspiration to avoid hypocrisy.

Excuses, excuses!

Published / by cluckk / Leave a Comment

A central focus of my life and ministry has, for some time, been prayer. I strive to spend regular times in prayer. Part of this includes a daily prayer time, a weekly period of a couple hours where I get away to pray and let God speak through authors and Scripture, as well as making a habit of lifting before the Lord anyone who comes to mind through the day.

Before you look at this and gush that Pastor Ken is so holy, understand that this is what I strive for. I fail at it often. For the last few weeks, my daily prayer time in the mornings has been sadly, and sinfully, lacking. I, like anyone else, can let other concerns get in the way. This morning, I started thinking about the things which keep us from going before God in prayer. I considered four causes (they are not in order):

First, we get busy. “Sorry Lord, but you know how busy I am this morning.” This has happened to me with my educational efforts. I have a great deal of homework, and only a limited amount of time to do it. It is easy to get tempted to lay aside the prayer time to concentrate on other work. Pastors are notorious for this, because the work we most often do is in service to the Lord. But this is the problem. It assumed we can serve the Lord without going before him on our faces, seeking his presence and his power in our lives. In effect, we say, “I’ve got this God. You sit this one out.” We don’t have it. We need God’s active presence in everything we do. This is true for me, as a pastor. It is true for you in whatever vocation or trade God has placed you in.

Second, has to do with getting busy. In the first, we get so busy doing good that we try to do it without God. The second is different, but subtle. We have a limited time of day to do everything. If I don’t finish this assignment or project it effects my grade, gets me in trouble with my boss, cuts into my profit margin, etc. However, if I don’t spend time with God, he will forgive me. This is true. But this consideration shows something about our heart condition. Can you think of any greater reason to spend time with God than his mercy and love? He forgives me because he loves me, and it is in his nature to do so. Now, I respond by taking advantage of that love. Rather than cherishing the relationship, I take it for granted. This is just not right. God, the loving and merciful, deserves far more attention than the squeaky wheels in our lives.

Third and fourth have to do with maturity and relationship. The third reason I considered for not praying is that we find it boring. Many do find it boring to pray. I used to be one of them. For me this is confounded by the fact that my mind was always running after things I needed to do. However, this is the problem. Consider your relationships. I was once a young man—a long, long time ago. My wife and I were once dating—my kids can’t even imagine such a thing. When we were dating, she was fascinating. I loved to just sit and look at her, consider her face, hear her voice and just spend time together. We didn’t even need to talk. Just being in her presence made my head spin. Now, after thirty years of marriage, we it’s harder—much harder. It takes restraint sometimes when we sit down to eat to not pull out the phone and check email, etc. Is it possible that you are bored when you pray, because you are living on an old relationship? Everything new grows cold. Fan into flames your love for Christ. Build desire, like you once did in the relationship. How? That will depend on yourself. Find your passion in Christ. What about him still brings you excitement? What gives you a desire to learn, to listen, to implore?

Fourth, is related to the third. Some of us don’t put off prayer because of boredom, or being busy, but because we just don’t know what to say. This is the easiest fixed, but also one of the most commonly cited causes. Imagine someone who longs to have a deep relationship with you, but you avoid them just because you don’t know what to say. If they want such a relationship, perhaps they will do the talking. There’s an option! If you don’t know what to say, open your Bible and ask him to speak to you. Then, sit silently for a while. From time to time, read and pray the words before you on the page.

Prayer is the work of a disciple. It is the one thing we can do which requires no special gift—we all receive that gift when the Holy Spirit comes upon us in salvation. Prayer is also the most powerful thing God has given us. Imagine, the God who spoke the universe into existence, wants to hear how your day is going. Imagine, he loves you enough to take not only an interest, but also an active role in your day.

Lay aside the excuses. Go to God; spend time with him.