God intends to give us joy. He does not look to delay His help to us. Even in testing times He is not avert to helping us; rather, He is eager to help us. One of the things we should consider doing to receive His help is distance ourselves from the things He hates. Doing works alone does not suffice. We miss His help when we are still associated with sinful things; works also become bland. Satan has the knack of making us believe that doing works for God substitutes our alliance with the things He hates. Falling to his cleverness is disobeying God and committing unrighteousness. Hence, we see many church-goers become unlike Christ. They resort to believe that doing various works for God nullifies their association with the things He hates. Unrighteousness and holiness cannot exist together. The Word of God clearly explains the things God dislikes; it is very direct. We, who seek His help, ought to embrace it. “But do not resort to Bethel and do not come to Gilgal, Nor cross over to Beersheba; For Gilgal will certainly go into captivity And Bethel will come to trouble” (Amos 5:5).
We cannot distance ourselves from sinful things unless they are unfolded to us. God’s Word reveals them. When we resort to His guidance, we build up the desire to be intimate with Him to quickly receive His help. God gave the Law to Israel so that they always have His presence. But, they chose to turn away from it. Still, He warned them by repeating to them the things He hates. Had they heeded His warning, they would be saved. As human beings we are all prone to do the things He dislikes. So, He has given His law to warn us of them. It is he who grasps His warnings that obtains help from Him quickly. He warns us, because He loved us. He knows what lies ahead if we resort to sinful things or places. There is loss and destruction in them and He does not want them in our life. Turning to them not only brings harm to our health and mental stability, but also concocts us to directly object His morality. Many a Christian having not shown interest in His law has savored and continues to savor alliance with sinful things.
It is only at the time we show keenness toward God’s law that we benefit. Our inner man adapts to His morality. It for this reason also we must practice delving in the Word. Then, with the help of God’s Spirit we recall His law to distance ourselves from sinful things. This should become customary to us and it will, if we continue in our desire for God’s goodness. And at all times we have His help. We find that at every instance He is helping us. The apostle Paul had it. “But the centurion, wanting to bring Paul safely through, kept them from their intention, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land” (Acts 27:43). Actually, Paul must be put to death that very day. For in the case of the ship running aground it was necessary for the centurion and the guards to kill all prisoners. They did rather kill them than face death for letting them escape. Yet, the centurion acted contrarily. God turned his heart to suit His purpose in Paul. And prior to this incident Paul had already revealed something spectacular. It was the promise of God’s help to him and all those sailing with him through His angel.
When God has a purpose in your life, know that He assuredly helps you. His help is distant from you only when you resort to the things He hates. Paul was very conscious of how he served God. His main aim was to live for God from a pure heart. He pursued the correcting of his conscience by the sanctification that is of the Spirit so much so he claimed to have lived his life with a perfectly good conscience before God. This might seem a very demanding proposition. But, life becomes even more difficult when resorted to sinful things. For in them there is the certainty of loss and pain. On the other hand, if you make living for God from a pure heart your only aim, everything else will be taken care of; God takes care of all things pertaining to your life, I mean all things. Plus, there would be perfection to them. This is the undertone of His help.
It is important we understand that there will surely be consequences of turning to the things God hates. But first, what could be the fruit of turning to sinful things? We begin to speak and do things that malign God. In other words, our words and actions reflect blaspheming the ways and intentions of God. And we shatter our faith, which is able to intimately connect us with Him. This is the direct result of objecting His morality. Then, there will be consequences. God will discipline us, though He will not eternally punish us. An example of it is the following. “Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme” (1 Tim. 1:20).
On the contrary, if we are delving in the Word, observing His warnings with a view to serve Him from a pure heart, we attain the desire to distance ourselves from sinful things. Then the saying we are chosen “According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure” (1 Pet. 1:2) excitingly applies to us. God avails help to us in the fullest measure. The notion of “fullest measure” is quite remarkable. It means His help will be beyond our comprehension and expectation. Our joy and satisfaction will be much more than words can explain.
Once we exercise our desire to distance ourselves from the things God hates, it must not be lost. And the Spirit in Paul gives a simple measure for it. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Col. 3:15). We can let His peace rule in us by two ways. Firstly, it is by retaining in us the factors that filled us with His peace; secondly, we must pursue the things that avail it. In doing so, our hearts are continually set on the things God likes. Part of the work involved in retaining peace is being thankful to God for all the help, joy, grace and peace He gave us. It allows Christ’s peace to rule our hearts, as sinful things will not have the opportunity to disturb us. Then, two things become possible.
1. We become aware of our proximity to God. And it is said, “BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY” (Acts 2:27). It acts as a great source of confidence for God’s help.
2. We can envision what it is like to be disturbed by sinful things. “And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him” (Luke 15:16). Having visualized the consequences of turning to the things God hates, the intent of God toward us becomes all the more vivid.