Three Phrases of Guidance
Foundational Directive Truths for 2023
For the child of God who wants to continue to grow with Jesus Christ, who lives in a reverent fear of God, being enabled and empowered by the Holy Spirit of Christ, there is a truth, a promise to lay hold of. The exhortation from the New Testament is “…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12)
Other Scriptural truths for the New Year are Hebrews 13:5b – 6 says, “‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. So, we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Proverbs 3:1-6 says, “My son, do not forget My teachings, but keep my commands in your heart; for they will prolong your life years and bring you prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
Morris Procter, conducts Bible software camps for Logos. He is a Born-again Bible Theologian. He pointed out to us when God gives directive phrases, they are brief, to the point and must be given heed too, if a Christian wants to rest in the favor of God. Directive phrases you are familiar with are: “God is love, love one another, do not fear, and pray continually.
Three foundational directives which will enable you to rest in God’s favor are:
- Study to show thyself approved.
- Must be found faithful.
- Everything done in an orderly fashion.
“Study to show thyself approved,” is the King James version for 2 Timothy 2:15 – a charge to those who are called to teach God’s Word. “Study” (σπουδάζω spoudázō) means to make every evert to do ones best, to be eager. (Zodhiates, S. (2000). In The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). AMG Publishers.) We are to give diligence to present ourselves for study so as to show ourselves as wanting to be approved. (Spence-Jones, H. D. M., ed. (1909). 2 Timothy (p. 21). Funk & Wagnalls Company.) Preacher/teachers must be a workman who is not ashamed of their work and take pains in accomplishing it. This includes studying/preparation and in application of preaching and teaching the Word of God. (Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 2362). Hendrickson.)
This directive is a universal truth which has a positive effect on everything we apply our lives to in this earth. Whatever we feel our heart’s desire would have us do this year must be approached as it belongs to the Lord, who is Sovereign over everything. We are only stewards over it and there will be a day of accountability at the Judgement Seat of Christ and the White Throne Judgement of God.
God, who is in full control has laid this application on everything in life. Thank God there are people who grasp this truth. For example: Everyone expects their doctors to not only study but be physicians who are approved by those who know the field of medicine. Everyone wants the pilot of the plane they are on to not only study – but be approved to be an air-line pilot.
People who excel in whatever is on fire in their hearts to do, apply the hard work of study, then present their efforts to the proper authority as one wanting to be approved. People who excel want their work examined, then approved and endorsed by people who have been successful in that field. People who apply the Biblical principle of husbandry, animal/farming end up breeding quality animals and/or produce seed which produces the highest quality of crops.
The best doctors and surgeons do the hard of study and do the proper amount of clinicals so they can be dependable in the operating room or as they see their patients in their office. The safest pilots are those who study, apply their skills every way possible, facing every circumstance which may come their way, so they can fly the planes entrusted to them. This application of study is applicable for everything in life.
My son’s father-in-law understands this universal truth. He is a certified electrician, he not only studied, but he was also examined for that field he makes his living in. He also applies this truth to cooking, building a fence for the back yard, he even studied and became certified to build swimming pools, so he could build his own swimming pool. He took the course, was examined – then certified – thus, they have a very nice pool mostly built by him. He is great at everything he put his hands too. All because he applies the hard work of study and being approved. It is a directive truth enjoyed by those who have learned the value of studying and approval.
A second directive truth for 2023 is “Must be faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2) The Bible says, “Now, it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” This also is a universal truth which not only has Biblical application, but practical application in our lives. The foundation for this truth is everything Christians have been appointed to oversee, they are stewards, God owns it all, again there will be a day of accounting.
Fidelity is the essential requirement in all such human relationships, in other words, plain honesty in handling money like bank-clerks or in other positions of trust like public office. (Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (1 Co 4:2). Broadman Press.) Just as a man of God must prove faithful in preaching and teaching the Word of God – Christians must be faithful in everything the Lord has placed them stewards over.
Jesus taught on stewardship – Our Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed, and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Jesus in this teaching presents powerful warnings and instructions to those who are called to give His servants their proper food daily (the Word of God). Our Lord illustrates to us the point of preparedness in this three-pronged parable. The servant in this truth is depicted as an overseer – Christians are to be about their work honoring Jesus by making sure everything is as it should be – again knowing their reward is based off faithfulness to their calling – knowing to be found unfaithful leads to eternal damnation. The exhortation is not only for the clergy, civil rulers, the rich but to all mankind of whom God has given oversight of things and life ordinances which belong to God. The urgency in this parable indicates there will be no warning about Jesus’ return, thus be about our work daily, giving Him our best. Our faithfulness is the corner foundation determining the blessings or chastisements of God. There is a time which comes when their will be no opportunity to undo what unfaithfulness has produced. The three main points of the parable thus follow: “(1) God rewards and punishes people at the final judgment on the basis of their stewardship of the tasks assigned to them. (2) Faithful stewardship requires perseverance and consistency, for the end could come at any time. (3) Those who postpone their responsibilities and do evil in the meantime may sadly discover that it is too late for them to make amends for their errors.” (Blomberg, C. (1992). Matthew (Vol. 22, pp. 367–369). Broadman & Holman Publishers.; Spence-Jones, H. D. M., ed. (1909). St. Matthew (Vol. 2, pp. 443–444). Funk & Wagnalls Company)
This teaching of the Lord is the practical outcome of all that has been declared to be done before and to what is all being declared today to be done and to what is yet to be proclaimed as needing to be done. Unfaithfulness invites unproductiveness, faithfulness birth’s fourth guaranteed guidance and enablement from the Lord. The Lord’s rejection and hand against us is based on failure in duty and rewards is based on fidelity to all He has appointed us to do.
A poem written by a black man held in slavery wrote: “There is a king and a captain on high, and He’s coming by and by. And He will find me hoeing cotton when He comes. You can hear his angles coming charging in the regions of the sky. And He will find me hoeing cotton when He comes. There is a man they thrusted aside, who was tortured till He died. And He will find me hoeing cotton when he comes. He was hated and rejected, He was scorned and crucified. And He will find me hoeing cotton when He comes. When He comes! When He comes! He will be crowned by saints and angles when He comes. They will be shouting out Hosanna! To the man that mankind denied, and I will kneel among the cotton when he comes.” (Barclay, W., ed. (1976). The Gospel of Matthew (Vol. 2, pp. 317–318). The Westminster John Knox Press.)
The child of God who is found faithful on duty, however simple that duty may be, there will be joyfulness in whatever the calling may be, because He knows the Lord Jesus Christ is faithful to the faithful. Because “Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all His possessions.”
The third directive truth from God’s word for 2023 is also a universal truth: Everything is to be done in an orderly fashion: The Apostle Paul wrote for us, “But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” (1 Corinthians 14:40)
Just as there is an order for the church, this universal truth is a clear directive to enjoying everything God gives us to oversee for Him. Just as time, proportion, and regulations, are necessary in worship to the Lord, these are necessary for our everyday lives. (Spence-Jones, H. D. M., ed. (1909). 1 Corinthians (p. 461). Funk & Wagnalls Company.)
What would the workplace be like if it did not have the governance of time. How dangerous would the highways be without the laws to keep things in good order. What happens when there is to many chiefs and not enough Indians. What would large concert halls sound like if there was no order on how to read and play music? What happens when the cart is before the horse.
Pennie and I have two young German Shepherd pups, we are making time and we have expenses getting them in good order. When I walk our dogs, I suffer the consequence of pet owners out order. There has been a huge amount of vehicle accidents because the directive laws were ignored and out of order. We suffer the negative effects of technology, because those trying to work with it do not make the time to learn the proper order.
In the workplace, me and my co-worker have little mechanic skills – it is getting easier for us and those around us, because we are taking the time to learn the proper order of operating a tire machine. Whatever, you feel God has laid upon your life to oversee with Him. Are you making the time to learn the proper order and working as fitting to the task God has laid before you?
Feed lots receive in 1,000’s of cattle per week. If the trucks just pulled up to the parking lot and unloaded cattle at free will, that would be a feed lot greatly out of order. There is a lot to know about a feed lot, so we may enjoy awesome beef to eat. Keeping in great order, things run much more smoothly. Just as feed lot managers must learn operation order, everyone must take the time to learn the best order of the things they feel God would have them do.
A doctor must have the medical test first – so he can make a proper diagnosis. A fire truck must have the water hoses hooked up in proper order or there is little or no volume to get the water to place where the fireman can fight the blaze.
All of life is a blessing, when things are done in the proper, fitting order. Life gets chaotic as soon as things begin to get out of order.
There are many things laid on your plate this 2023, are you studying to gain all the knowledge you need to achieve the goals you have before you? Are you faithful to obtain all you need and applying what you are taught so the objective is brought to a healthy completion?
Inclosing: People are wanting to know if the Word of God is practical – These three foundational directive truths lived out can guide us away from the chaotic way of living, so many of us get led into. There are people who live blinded by a world view have come to understand the directive truths we have talked about today. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, and many other fields of occupations guide their businesses, companies and carriers by these truths. These truths are a guarantee for the child of God wanting to serve the Lord, His people and for all of mankind. Let these foundational directive truths be the foundation you start on for the rest of this year.