We have heard all along the saying “practice makes (man) perfect.” It is very true in anyone’s life. The more a person works in his given work he gains perfection in it. Perfection indicates the value of his work. It indicates his wisdom and other attributes of his work. It primarily denotes he followed rules. Anyone not abiding by the rules of his or her work will devalue the work itself, let alone gaining perfection in it. And we all in general and by common sense know this for a fact, because people earn wages to make a living. Furthermore, we see people being punished for not following the rules not necessarily by the law, but more so by the consequences they procure. By just watching life make its way in this world we understand the intricacies for perfection. Similarly, to fulfill a God-willed life it requires following His principles. See what Paul says: “For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision” (Rom. 2:25).
By God-willed life we understand that one is required to walk by God’s will and/or by His commitments. You see, we can have God’s promises, even the promise of blessings and His will, and yet, when we fail to practice the law of Christ they are without value; He has given them to us, but we are not reaping from them. We reap when we keep the commandments. Many assume that failing to keep a single commandment will have no affect on other areas of their life. But it is further from the truth. Failure to keep a commandment is disobedience. On the other hand, keeping a commandment will avail the Lord’s peace and strength for keeping another and so on, thus, leading to perfection. It is a difficult proposition to live out a God-willed life, and Jesus never said it is going to be easy. He knew the weaknesses of believers and hence, paid the price on the cross for their perfection. When we are with God’s design (His promises and will), we ought not to forget that it was availed to us because of the commandments. He intended for us to live in and with it by keeping the commandments.
Failing in a single commandment is a precursor to fail in others. For example, consider the people that divorce and remarry without fornication as the reason. They create arguments from the Word for their actions. They doubly bend toward establishing their actions are acceptable to the Lord. They turn the truth into a lie. So now, what came out from them are lying, deception, disobedience and arrogance among other things. Their acquired nature according to their thinking will lead them to fail in other commandments of the Lord. Again, it is the same when people do not tithe to the Lord. They procrastinate it, reason with it or fear the expenses at hand and turn away from giving to Him. It is showing lack of courage and lack of trust in the Lord. It most certainly affects other areas of their life, because of the kind of behavior they adopted and will adopt. So, when Paul says to Christians that circumcision is of value if one practices the Law, it means our faith in the Lord and His design for us generates effect only if we keep the law of Christ. And he also said, “make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose” (Phil. 2:2).
Paul essentially says to conduct ourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ. It is firstly to have the same mind like his when living for Christ, i.e. working diligently for faith. Second, to have the same love with which we were loved and the love which we possess for the gospel and the saints. Third, be without dissensions indicating the unity in spirit. Finally, be with the single purpose of carrying out God’s design to each one of us. In doing these, we display a clean fear of God and thereby, be with a resolve to practice the law of Christ. As we practice His law, we get to know the intricacies of an intimate relationship with God. Besides, the increase in our wisdom will be many folds. The more the wisdom the easier it is to practice commandments; understanding makes it easy! Wisdom smoothens the path for us to walk with God. It gives a clear picture of the outcome of walking with Him. It aptly enables us to understand His mind. The apostle John goes on to say the following. “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:10).
The only way to practice righteousness is by beginning to practice the law of Christ. The intricacies of an intimate relationship with God and wisdom empower us to practice it. The practice of righteousness is the greater work of practicing the law of Christ. It is by two factors. The first one being that it includes the full and true understanding of the law of Christ. The second is God’s ways to us. Generally, righteousness is defined as sticking to moral principles. But, from where do those principles come? They come from God’s law and from His ways to us. They teach us the things we must and must not do. God requires we be morally upright for His design to unfold in us. For example, when God told Abraham to leave his people and place to a place He would show, it was His will that became the law. Because Abraham accepted (believed) it, it was credited to him as righteousness. Therefore, He also gave him ways for it. Abraham began to understand the intricacies of an intimate relationship with God and obtained wisdom to please Him. He then received circumcision as a law. Not once did he think of returning to the place he left. He practiced righteousness. When we obey God’s law and accept His specific ways for us, we truly practice righteousness. So, Paul unflinchingly said, “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:9).
As we do righteousness, God shows His faithfulness by unfolding His design in us. For His very intent is to make us perfect for the Judgment Day. He called us into the fellowship of His Son so that He can be faithful to all He designed in our life. So, let us consider three practical ways that His design to us is of value.
- Adopt to continually feed on Christ’s Word. “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh” (John 6:51). It meets God’s call to fellowship with Jesus and equips us to practice righteousness. By the promise in it God unfolds His design in us.
- All our sacrifices must be genuine. “Peter began to say to Him, ‘Behold, we have left everything and followed You” (Mark 10:28). No half measures; nothing with selfish ambition. Then, He most certainly rewards us.
- Always seek what is in God’s mind. “But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s’” (Matt. 16:23).