Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
© Focus On Purpose July 2017 - 2018

Walk to

Completion

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is

to change often.”

Winston Churchill

Becoming Complete

Last week we saw that the first occurance of the Hebrew word translated as 'perfect', is used to describe Noah : 'Noah was righteous and perfect in his time.' The second time this Hebrew word is used, it is used as a command for Abraham (then still Abram) to become 'perfect' : “Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, 'I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be perfect.'” (Genesis 17:1) According to the Blue Letter Bible, the Hebrew word for 'walk' is in  hithpael imperative form. The imperative mood tells us that this is a command. The Hithpael form expresses Reflexive action, which is something you do to yourself Reciprocal action, which is something you do with someone else Or just a simple action, as in "to walk" The context reveals which of these to use. In this case, I wonder if all three are not implied in this command to Abram? Abram must walk. As we saw in a previous post, we are either progressing or regressing, but we cannot remain stationary. The 'walk' God speaks of here, is Abraham's life. We can do nothing to stop the movement of time, and our life flows with the passage of time, which is completely out of our control. Everybody has a life- walk, because time walks. The question is not if you are walking, but where and in what direction you are walking. Walking is something you do to yourself. Though we can do nothing to control the passage of time, we can influence the direction of our walk. We are either progressing and becoming more like the person we were created to be, or we are regressing and becoming less like the person we are created to be. The direction of our walk is determined by the moment-by-moment choices we make. Walking with God is something you do with Him. Isaiah tells us, ”Your ears will hear a word behind you, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21)  Is it not significant that you will hear a voice behind you? That can only happen when you walk before Him. Walking before Him is walking in relationship with Him, and not just following Him. You don't need to ponder, “What Would Jesus Do?" When you are in relationship with Him, you just ask Him. According to Brown-Driver-Briggs, the word 'be' in Gen 17:1 is a process word meaning “Come into being, become,” and there is no Hebrew conjunction in this passage, for 'and', as in '...and be perfect." So, is God then saying to Abram, ‘Walk before Me, becoming complete’? Becoming complete or perfect then, is not something additional to your walk with God, it is the outcome of 'walking with Him.' Walking before God, or with God, is what completes us. Last week, I was asked what the word 'be' meant in Matthew 5:48, "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." The answer to that question was quite a revelation. According to the Blue Letter Bible, the Greek tense of the verb 'be' in Matthew 5:48, is future indicative : “The future tense corresponds to the English future, and indicates the contemplated or certain occurrence of an event which has not yet occurred.” (Blue Letter Bible) “The indicative mood is a simple statement of fact. If an action really occurs or has occurred or will occur, it will be rendered in the indicative mood.” (Blue Letter Bible - emphasis added) The New American Standard Bible states this as a command, “Therefore you are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  (Emphasis added)   Yet the original Greek version states it as something that will be. The Greek Interlinear Bible states Matthew 5:48 as : ‘Therefore you shall be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.’ (Emphasis added) The broader context of Matthew 5:48 is the Beatitudes, and this verse follows on from Jesus teaching to live a life that is counter-cultural and counter-intuitive. The teaching reaches a climax in which He states that we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Jesus then goes on to say that if we only love those who love us, and only greet our brothers we are no different from those who do not know God. But, if we love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, we shall be perfect - future indicative, meaning we are on the road, moving in the right direction. If we continue in this direction, we will become complete and mature in our expression of love, just as God Himself is complete and mature in His expression of love. We were created for the purpose of being God's representatives on earth. We are moving into the fullness of that calling when we live lives that run counter-intuitive to the natural inclinations of our flesh, even to loving our enemies, and praying for those who persecute us. And God is not asking that we do something He is not prepared to do Himself. God has demonstrated the full extent of His love as He paid the penalty of our sin; dying for us, while we were still indifferent or even hostile towards Him. Completion is an outcome, not something we can achieve on our own. We are only complete when we become the person we were created to be, a unique representative of God in this world. Integrity is another way of defining this Hebrew word for 'perfect'. The Oxford and Merriam-Webster dictionaries define 'integrity' in two ways. One definition speaks of a person's integrity, and the other speaks of the integrity of 'things', structural, territorial, and data : Speaking of People: “The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles” (Oxford - check actual) Speaking of 'things' : “the quality or state of being complete or undivided” (Merriam-Webster) I would suggest that both definitions, combined, give the best definition of personal integrity : The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, which flows from a heart of complete and undivided outward- focussed love. God tells Abraham that as he walks before Him, he will become complete. In Matthew 5:48 Jesus elaborates on what completion looks like; it is being a representatives of God's love. An outcome is another way of talking about fruit, is it not? We could say that being complete or mature is a fruit of walking in relationship with God, could you not? So when Paul tells to that we are to walk in the Spirit and not according to the flesh, He is basically saying the same thing as God said to Abram, not so?  So then, the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, is nothing other than the characteristics of God's love, of which we are to be representatives in the area in which we live. What difference could we not make in this nation of South Africa, or any other nation where this blog is read, if we stepped into this level of love?   What could God not accomplish if, instead of joining the multitude of cynical, complaining, and critical voices, we lift up our politicians to God in love? What influence could God bring to our nation if we begin to demonstrate love through our daily lives in every interaction with every person? This is our calling! This is our purpose! Heidi Baker states it so simply : "Just love the one in front of you."  Love the one in front of you - whether that be the person on your mind at a specific moment, or one physically in front of you. Let us become characterized by love, just as God is characterized by love. Let us begin to change this nation, one person at a time, as we consistently walk in our calling as representatives of His love. If Noah can seen by God as 'righteous and perfect in His time' - a time in which ‘every intent of the thoughts of men were only evil continally’ (See Gensis 6:5) , how much more can we not be 'righteous and perfect' in our time, especially now, being temples of the Holy Spirit? We carry the Spirit of God Himself, why is this not more evident to the world around us?
As you touch or hover over each picture in the four small squares above, they will be magnified in the main square. This demonstrates what happens in our minds; what we focus on becomes enlarged in our minds, to the exclusion of other things. When we get to see a larger frame, and see how the smaller parts fit together, our understanding often shifts.
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Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
© Focus On Purpose July 2017 - 2018  

Walk to

Completion

“To improve is to change; to be

perfect is to change often.”

Winston

Churchill

Becoming Complete

Last week we saw that the first occurance of the Hebrew word translated as 'perfect', is used to describe Noah : 'Noah was righteous and perfect in his time.' The second time this Hebrew word is used, it is used as a command for Abraham (then still Abram) to become 'perfect' : “Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, 'I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be perfect.'” (Genesis 17:1) According to the Blue Letter Bible, the Hebrew word for 'walk' is in  hithpael imperative form. The imperative mood tells us that this is a command. The Hithpael form expresses Reflexive action, which is something you do to yourself Reciprocal action, which is something you do with someone else Or just a simple action, as in "to walk" The context reveals which of these to use. In this case, I wonder if all three are not implied in this command to Abram? Abram must walk. As we saw in a previous post, we are either progressing or regressing, but we cannot remain stationary. The 'walk' God speaks of here, is Abraham's life. We can do nothing to stop the movement of time, and our life flows with the passage of time, which is completely out of our control. Everybody has a life-walk, because time walks. The question is not if  you are walking, but where and in what direction you are walking. Walking is something you do to yourself. Though we can do nothing to control the passage of time, we can influence the direction of our walk. We are either progressing and becoming more like the person we were created to be, or we are regressing and becoming less like the person we are created to be. The direction of our walk is determined by the moment-by- moment choices we make. Walking with God is something you do with Him. Isaiah tells us, ”Your ears will hear a word behind you, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21)  Is it not significant that you will hear a voice behind you? That can only happen when you walk before Him. Walking before Him is walking in relationship with Him, and not just following Him. You don't need to ponder, “What Would Jesus Do?" When you are in relationship with Him, you just ask Him. According to Brown-Driver-Briggs, the word 'be' in Gen 17:1 is a process word meaning “Come into being, become,” and there is no Hebrew conjunction in this passage, for 'and', as in '...and be perfect." So, is God then saying to Abram, ‘Walk before Me, becoming complete’? Becoming complete or perfect then, is not something additional to your walk with God, it is the outcome of 'walking with Him.' Walking before God, or with God, is what completes us. Last week, I was asked what the word 'be' meant in Matthew 5:48, "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." The answer to that question was quite a revelation. According to the Blue Letter Bible, the Greek tense of the verb 'be' in Matthew 5:48, is future indicative : “The future tense corresponds to the English future, and indicates the contemplated or certain occurrence of an event which has not yet occurred.” (Blue Letter Bible) “The indicative mood is a simple statement of fact. If an action really occurs or has occurred or will occur, it will be rendered in the indicative mood.” (Blue Letter Bible - emphasis added) The New American Standard Bible states this as a command, “Therefore you are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  (Emphasis added)  Yet the original Greek version states it as something that will be. The Greek Interlinear Bible states Matthew 5:48 as : ‘Therefore you shall be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.’ (Emphasis added) The broader context of Matthew 5:48 is the Beatitudes, and this verse follows on from Jesus teaching to live a life that is counter-cultural and counter-intuitive. The teaching reaches a climax in which He states that we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Jesus then goes on to say that if we only love those who love us, and only greet our brothers we are no different from those who do not know God. But, if we love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, we shall be perfect - future indicative, meaning we are on the road, moving in the right direction. If we continue in this direction, we will become complete and mature in our expression of love, just as God Himself is complete and mature in His expression of love. We were created for the purpose of being God's representatives on earth. We are moving into the fullness of that calling when we live lives that run counter-intuitive to the natural inclinations of our flesh, even to loving our enemies, and praying for those who persecute us. And God is not asking that we do something He is not prepared to do Himself. God has demonstrated the full extent of His love as He paid the penalty of our sin; dying for us, while we were still indifferent or even hostile towards Him. Completion is an outcome, not something we can achieve on our own. We are only complete when we become the person we were created to be, a unique representative of God in this world. Integrity is another way of defining this Hebrew word for 'perfect'. The Oxford and Merriam- Webster dictionaries define 'integrity' in two ways. One definition speaks of a person's integrity, and the other speaks of the integrity of 'things', structural, territorial, and data : Speaking of People: “The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles” (Oxford - check actual) Speaking of 'things' : “the quality or state of being complete or undivided” (Merriam-Webster) I would suggest that both definitions, combined, give the best definition of personal integrity : The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, which flows from a heart of complete and undivided outward-focussed love. God tells Abraham that as he walks before Him, he will become complete. In Matthew 5:48 Jesus elaborates on what completion looks like; it is being a representatives of God's love. An outcome is another way of talking about fruit, is it not? We could say that being complete or mature is a fruit of walking in relationship with God, could you not? So when Paul tells to that we are to walk in the Spirit and not according to the flesh, He is basically saying the same thing as God said to Abram, not so?  So then, the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22- 23, is nothing other than the characteristics of God's love, of which we are to be representatives in the area in which we live. What difference could we not make in this nation of South Africa, or any other nation where this blog is read, if we stepped into this level of love?   What could God not accomplish if, instead of joining the multitude of cynical, complaining, and critical voices, we lift up our politicians to God in love? What influence could God bring to our nation if we begin to demonstrate love through our daily lives in every interaction with every person? This is our calling! This is our purpose! Heidi Baker states it so simply : "Just love the one in front of you."  Love the one in front of you - whether that be the person on your mind at a specific moment, or one physically in front of you. Let us become characterized by love, just as God is characterized by love. Let us begin to change this nation, one person at a time, as we consistently walk in our calling as representatives of His love. If Noah can seen by God as 'righteous and perfect in His time' - a time in which ‘every intent of the thoughts of men were only evil continally’ (See Gensis 6:5) , how much more can we not be 'righteous and perfect' in our time, especially now, being temples of the Holy Spirit? We carry the Spirit of God Himself, why is this not more evident to the world around us?
As you touch or hover over each picture in the four small squares above, they will be magnified in the main square. This demonstrates what happens in our minds; what we focus on becomes enlarged in our minds, to the exclusion of other things. When we get to see a larger frame, and see how the smaller parts fit together, our understanding often shifts.
Prev Next