Fundamentals Of Meditation (Part 3. What Is Honesty?)
Although this is part of a series, it is a complete study on its own. (Part 3 of 9 in series)
* all [bracketed] words in Scripture verses are mine *
Beginning with the article called Fundamentals of Meditation (Part 1. Christian Meditation vs. New Age Meditation. we began to look at meditation and the Scriptural method advocated by the apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Philippi. In that article, we explored the difference between what is commonly thought of as meditation and the Scriptural method of meditating on God's word. They are two very different concepts. In that article also was a quote from Philippians, where the apostle Paul says:
"Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation [gentleness] be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace which passeth all understanding, shall keep [guard] your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true , whatsoever things are honest , whatsoever things are just , whatsoever things are pure , whatsoever things are lovely , whatsoever things are of good report , if there be any virtue , and if there be any praise , think [meditate] on these things." (Philippians 4:4-8)
Paul said to meditate on things which are honest. In the apostle's mind there were things and individuals one could consider honest, and we as Christians should contemplate such things when we meditate.
But right away we who live in this society have a problem. Who knows a truly honest person? or what are things that could be considered truly honest? People are so good at lying and dealing with falsehood that most people could dissect any subject or person and name some aspect that is dishonest about them.
I would venture that most people can't list more than one (maybe two) person(s) or things that they would think of as being mostly honest or containing some part of honesty in their life, and many can't think of anyone or anything that they can honestly point to and declare there is no falsehood or deception.
People are not used to thinking in these terms, those of quality and honesty. "An honest day's work" is a lost concept. This is by design. Satan knows that honesty used to be referred to as "the best policy" and it used to be said that "a man's word is his bond." These are principles whose concepts are linked to God. If honesty was really thought of as the best policy, then toward godliness would be the way society moved. Instead, the push for the world is for everything to be blurred and remain in what seems to be a "gray area" when it comes to qualities such as honesty, truthfulness, forthrightness, kindness, and the like. Pilate asked Jesus, "What is truth?" This world would ask, " What is honest?" In a court of law, who is honest? Isn't it said that the honest one is the one with the best argument? Doesn't that reflect how the whole world sees it?
"And that's the honest truth..." Does anyone believe that there is an honest truth anymore? Don't people say such things as: "That person was speaking honestly from his perspective?" Even "wise" Obi Wan Kenobi told Luke Skywalker that Darth Vader killed his father. When Luke questioned the phantom, he explained that his father was overcome by the dark side and thus was not the man he was. The argument was that Luke's father "died" that day. Obi Wan maintained that he was honest "from a certain perspective." Didn't all in the viewing audience say, "oh yeah, I see that!?" The Apostle Paul would have said, "That's not honest!" Luke's father was not dead and to say so was a misleading half-truth (which is a lie).
"...whatever things are honest..." The word honest is the greek word semnos (sem-nos') which means "grave or serious." It is from the root word sebomai (seb'-om-ahee) which means "to revere, to adore, to worship, to be religiously devout." The idea is that honest means "that which has consequence, is grave or serious, not superficial but truthfully real." Add to that the element of the word that includes reverence and you have to say those things "on which God looks on and approves and values, things done from a heart inclined to adoring devotion to God."
So now what does an honest day's work consist of? It would be one that is done for the glory of the Lord. It would done seriously, truthfully real. No cutting corners, no rounding edges but what is necessary to get the job done right and efficiently, knowing that it matters in God's eyes and in your employer's eyes. It would show one takes seriously his testimony. The world's answer: To be superficial, to look busy but not be, to "work smarter not harder" which usually translates to some corner being cut, some piece of quality being omitted.
Have you ever noticed that when you were a kid, things seemed to have more substance?Everyone has memories of things or experiences have been lost over the years. Each succeeding generation seems to cheapen the one before it. For example when one went to a movie or an amusement park the experience was deeper in past years. As a boy I remember life as having more honest quality. A small example of the cheapening of something is what happened to Cracker Jacks. I remember when Cracker Jacks contained a prize that was a toy that one could play with for weeks or longer. What fun! Now the experience is less honest. Instead of a prize you get a temporary tattoo that may or may stick on or a slip of paper printed with some image or picture that no one can recognize. Now no one cares about the experience that buying this product produces, because everything is about the fast fix, an instant gratification. The honest experience is gone, replaced by something cheap, dishonest. Every time something like this happens, where life is cheapened, we lose something of ourselves that God intended us to have.The honesty of family, friendship, marriage, ethics, values, patriotism are being cheapened and replaced with things less honest, of less substance or no value at all.
So how does one think on things that are honest if the world contains hardly anything of that caliber?
What we must do is to think on The Real Foundation of things that are honest and then begin to think on things that have been built on that foundation. That foundation is Jesus Christ. We know that Jesus died for our sins and was buried and rose again the third day, that's the gospel. Nothing has cheapened that, despite desperate efforts of evil to do that very thing. Nothing has cheapened salvation, which is by grace, a gift of God, not of works lest anyone would boast about how he gained heaven. Salvation is honest. Nothing has cheapened the honesty of the Scripture. It was breathed of God and contains the honest words of life. The concept of calling on the Lord, to cry out to Him to forgive us and save us can not be cheapened by anyone's effort. The reality of the need of souls to cry out for salvation cannot be cheapened or made less important. The reality of God's love is honest. The quality of love, so descriptive of Him that His word says "God is love" is honest and cannot be cheapened or made less relevant. The reality of that love is reflected in us, in a mother's love, a father's love, love of country and of our fellow man, is honest. The love that brethren have for one another- the Bible says that the world will know us by the love we show. Nothing can cheapen that.
The "poured out " believer that meditates will be able to receive from the Lord more things to think on which are honest. Honest things will bring perspective to us. We are so conditioned to be busy, so busy in fact, that we have very little time to think on anything that is of consequence. We are told to slow down a little, to take time to think on things that the Lord has preserved that are honest, to ponder those things that are timeless and which He has put in your life. It will renew a will to strive for excellence. It will renew a sense of belonging to something bigger than we. It will help to restore our humility.
But honesty is not the style of sinners, covering up and hiding is. Uncovered, honest thoughts are simply not natural to the natural man. So where does one start to think on things honest. A seeker of honesty starts by a simple prayer to the God who is light and love. Pray this:
Dear Jesus, I know that I am sinner. I know that I need a Savior. I see how my sin has cheapened my life. I see how I need you to forgive my sin and save me. I want an honest relationship with You. I want to see honest evidence of You walking with me and holding me up when the world would seek to hurt me. Thank You for dying for me, for being buried and rising the third day for me. I turn from my sin and turn to you as the only way of salvation.Thank you for giving me my salvation as I cry out to you now to forgive me and save me. I love you my Lord and my God. Amen .
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