PERFECT: H8003, shâlêm, shaw-lame'
From H7999; complete (literally or figuratively); especially friendly. (shalem used by mistake for a name.): - full, just, made ready, peaceable, perfect (-ed), quiet, Shalem [by mistake for a name], whole.
Our heart needs to be PERFECT towards God. In other words, we must be inclined to listen to God and to put Him first in our lives. God makes a strange request before He uses Gideon to deliver Israel.
Jdg 6:25 And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it:
Although I am sure that Gideon loved his father, God made Gideon step out in faith and take a stand against the idolatry of his father and the idolatry of the people in his home town. When we serve Jesus Christ, often times we must boldly contend with the people that we love the most. However, when we put Jesus first, He can even make our enemies to be at peace with us.
Pro 16:7 When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
It is absolutely essential that we make Jesus Christ the center of our life. However, when we do make Jesus Christ the center of our life, it usually has immediate and unwanted consequences.
Mat 10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
Mat 10:36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
Mat 10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Mat 10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
Although making Jesus the center of our life will usually have what appears to be negative consequences, if we keep our focus on Jesus, He is more than capable of changing our lives for the better, but He is also able to change the lives of those closest to us for the better. In the story of Gideon, he also makes a strange request of God.
Jdg 6:36 And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said,
Jdg 6:37 Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.
Jdg 6:38 And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water.
Jdg 6:39 And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew.
Jdg 6:40 And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.
Just because an angel appears to you, it does not necessarily mean that it is an angel of the Lord. Gideon wanted to be double sure that it was actually God who was talking to him, or else he would be leading the armies of Israel to certain destruction and death. However, once Gideon was positive that he had received a Word from the Lord, He did not turn back. Many Christians today fail to listen to the Apostle John’s warning and learn from Gideon’s example.
1Jn 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but TRY the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
1Jn 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
1Jn 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
TRY, G1381, dokimazō, dok-im-ad'-zo
From G1384; to test (literally or figuratively); by implication to approve: - allow, discern, examine, X like, (ap-) prove, try.
There have been many false prophets throughout the Bible and throughout history, who were obviously false, if people would have simply tested them with the WORD of God. Anyone who denies that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, or who denies the fundamental teachings of the God’s Word, is a false prophet even if they can perform miracles.
Rev 13:13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
Rev 13:14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
This leads me to a defining characteristic of God’s CHOSEN. God’s elect are not easily led astray because they study and KNOW the Word of God and they depart from iniquity.
2Ti 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
The defining characteristic of a false teacher is heresy against the plain truth of God’s WORD with continual increasing UNGODLINESS.
2Ti 2:14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2Ti 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
2Ti 2:17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
2Ti 2:18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
Just because someone reads and studies the Bible does not necessarily mean that they should be a teacher. A righteous and holy life is a marker of everybody who is walking in the spirit and a true follower of Jesus Christ. Anybody who is constantly causing division among the brethren is definitely not being led by the Spirit of God.
UNGODLINESS: G763, asebeia, as-eb'-i-ah
From G765; impiety, that is, (by implication) wickedness: - ungodly (-liness).
The Book of Jude expressly warns that in the last days false teachers will abound, who will attempt to lead believers into sin and apostasy.
Jud 1:17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Jud 1:18 How that they told you there should be MOCKERS (false teachers) in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.
Jud 1:19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
MOCKERS: G1703, empaiktēs, emp-aheek-tace'
From G1702; a derider, that is, (by implication) a false teacher: - mocker, scoffer.
The unmistakable sign of God’s chosen is love for God’s Word and love for the brethren.
Php 2:5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
Php 2:6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
Php 2:7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. English Standard Version.
Apart from God’s Word, it is simply impossible for a person to mature spiritually. Both the Old and New Testament testify that it is the Word of God that transforms us and equips us to serve God and His Church.
Psa 119:103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psa 119:104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
Psa 119:105 NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Knowing the Word of God is very important but equally important is UNITY of the brethren. If we are being led by the spirit, we should all be working towards the same goal. If there is a division among the saints then there is obviously some “Christians” who are not walking in the spirit and who are not listening to God.
This world is a minefield and if we are not listening to God there is a good chance that we will get ourselves and other people hurt. It is more important to simply wait and to hear from God than to take action without hearing from God first. God did not reprimand Gideon for asking for a sign before taking action, but God did reprimand King Saul for taking action without following for His direction.
1Sa 15:20 And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
1Sa 15:21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal.
1Sa 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, TO OBEY IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
1Sa 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
Samuel told King Saul that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. Look around yourself today, the world is in complete rebellion against God. Everyone does what is right in their own eyes and ignores the warnings in the Bible. Of course if a person does not listen to God, it is impossible for them to obey God. This brings me to another interesting detail in the story of Gideon.
Jdg 7:4 And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.
Jdg 7:5 So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.
Jdg 7:6 And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.
I have read several commentaries about why God chose those who lapped water with their tongue over those who bowed down upon their knees to drink, but I believe the difference is simply this: The men who lapped water with their tongue were LISTENING TO GOD! The defining characteristic of someone who is walking in the spirit is “unpredictability”. People cannot predict where the “spiritual man” is going to go, or what they are going to do next. Therefore, they stand out from the crowd.
Joh 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Joh 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
Joh 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
The defining characteristic of someone who is not listening to God is “conformity”. They usually go along to get along. Before they make a decision, they put their finger up in the air and find out which way the wind is blowing. They do not want to appear “stupid” or “strange” to the people who are around them. They do not want to rock the boat or cause waves. They want to be exactly like everybody else, and they do not care whether going along with the crowd displeases God or not.
Jesus made is very clear that going along with the crowd, and being liked by everybody around us, is a sure recipe for disaster.
Luk 6:26 How horrible it will be for you when everyone says nice things about you. That's the way their ancestors treated the false prophets. God’s Word.
If we are actually listening to God and obeying His voice, it is more than likely that we will end up being an outcast and a pariah to everybody around us. If we want to be one of God’s CHOSEN, isolation and criticism is often the price we must pay.
2Ti 4:16 At my first hearing no one stood up in my defense. Everyone abandoned me. I pray that it won't be held against them.
2Ti 4:17 However, the Lord stood by me and gave me strength so that I could finish spreading the Good News for all the nations to hear. I was snatched out of a lion's mouth.
However, the good news is that God will never abandon us, and in these last days we will surely experience things that few people have ever been privileged to witness.
Joh 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
It is the Christmas season and we should be casting our hearts and minds back to the story of a young girl who was about to give birth to the Son of God.
Luk 1:31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
Luk 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
Luk 1:33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Luk 1:34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
Luk 1:34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
Luk 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
The Church has also been promised that in the last days, she will also travail and give birth to the Son of God.
Rev 12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
Rev 12:2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
The Church, like Mary, must simply believe God’s Word, and then claim it for herself.
Luk 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
Luk 1:38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
Like Mary, we must all meditate on God’s Word and claim it for ourselves: “BE IT UNTO ME ACCORDING TO THY WORD.” Then the Son of God will be revealed in us!
Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
Rev 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.