Jesus gave 3 reasons for this admonition. (1) It is a mark of maturity. But you must be a child of the Father and the Holy Spirit indwelling you to have the power to live like this. (2) It is Godlike. God shares His good things with those who are against Him. Matthew 5:45 implies that our love creates a climate of blessings that makes it easy to win our enemies and make them our friends.
The word “perfect” in Matthew 5:48 do not imply sinless perfection, for that is impossible in this life.
There should be no stepping out of the light into darkness. As Christians we are to not only avoid the darkness but even the appearance of darkness in our lives. We know God sees everything, every sin we commit whether out in the open or hidden by darkness. “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good,” Proverbs 15:3. When we are out in public others can see how we act and how we speak. Believers know it’s their responsibility to present the Lord Jesus to the lost and they see Him through our lives. How can we be His light to the lost if we are stepping back and forth in and out of darkness?
The second part of Paul’s warning is for us to have no occasion to stumble a fellow brother in Christ. In other words there should be nothing in our walk with Christ that would lead another into sin. Again, we stay away from every appearance of evil (sin). Many Christians today have become lax in their attitudes toward sin. Having a grasp of what the appearance of evil may be, before we step into that dark arena might just keep us from stumbling a brother, not to mention ourselves. Wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, comes with maturity, Christian maturity. Christians who are mature in their walk with the Lord Jesus will do anything to avoid the appearance of evil; no one wants to knowingly lead another astray.
When we look around at the world today we can plainly see evil permeating everything in society. They’ll tell us that bad and evil are now good. Believers must be constantly on guard and thoroughly prepared for what’s coming. This world is turning upside down. We must abstain from joining the crowd. Instead, we must present the Biblical Gospel to the lost (www.NeedGod.com).
Believers have neglected their Bibles long enough. We read and study God’s word and learn His truth and what God considers evil and what He accepts as good. Then we need to take it one step further and apply His commands and principles to our lives.
Put on righteousness, allow no evil into your circle of influence, be the light Christ has ordained you to be. Be wise, be careful, be an example of Christ on earth. Avoid at all cost the appearance of evil. Remember the temptation to embrace evil comes from the lust of the flesh: read James 1:13-15.
IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS (no. 3)
Life has its troubles and tragedies. There are times when it is not easy to be thankful. But 1 Thess. 5:18 commands us, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” We cannot escape the fact that God expects us to be thankful no matter what circumstances may come to our lives. True, these verses are easier read than obeyed.
Last year (2009) during our visit to South Africa, the second day in our hometown of East London, a car came from behind and rode over my right foot. The foot was fractured and I needed an operation to be able to walk again. As I lied on my back next to the parked cars in the parking lot, I wondered what to make of this setback. All our holiday plans were cancelled and I faced weeks of using crutches after the operation and then painful physiotherapy. My dear wife had to do most of the domestic duties and even help me to get around and drive the car. The initial shock diminished and I started to have positive thoughts about God’s presence right there on the road.
The fact is: God never commands what He cannot enable us to do. So if He commands me to be thankful in all things, then He will enable me to obey Him, and I will be a better person because of it. God permitted Job to go through all kinds of trials (Job 1-2), yet in the end the trials were for Job’s good and His glory. Job suffered and wept but his trials led to glory and joy (James 5:10-11). You can be sure that your Father in heaven loves you and He can be trusted. Our first reaction to difficulties, tragedy or some trial is, “Why did this happen?” and our second reaction is probably “Why did this happen to me?” Well, I am walking with the Lord, obeying Him, and serving Him, why should this trial come to me? At this point the devil will come and tempt us to doubt God’s love and care. The temptation is there to even become bitter. Now you must lay hold of the truth that God loves you and cares. Circumstances may seem against you, the devil may accuse you, friends may abandon you, but God loves you just as much as He did when He gave the Lord Jesus to die for you on the cross. Your circumstances have changed and your feelings have changed, but God’s character has not changed.
“In everything give thanks…” We cannot obey that commandment in our own strength; we need the power of the Spirit of God and the encouragement of the Word of God. I looked at the situation with disappointment and wondered what God has planned, but I knew and had peace that His love, care and plan can never fail me. Because we love Him and He loves us, we trust Him and as our hope grows stronger, we are able to praise the Lord and give thanks – in everything.
Sin and disobedience. When king David confessed his sins to God, he said:”Restore to me the joy of my salvation.”(Psalms 51:12). He lost his joy and for more than a year he lived a miserable life of despair and gloom. Read Psalms 32. If you have lost your joy in Christ think clearly and see if there maybe unconfessed sin or a bad attitude in your life.
Nobody who did something for God or rise above their circumstances found that the path was easy and without troubles. We have yet to find a successful person whose life was free from problems and difficulties. As we look at these people we think they had it made and that life was easy for them, but take a closer look and you will discover that the climb was rocky and bumpy. Read the Bible and you will discover this truth.