Today’s message text from Melvin Gaines:
If you watch television for any length of time, you will see commercials of full-length movies that feature many of the super heroes you grew up with from the world of DC Comics and Marvel Comics. Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, Iron Man, The Wolverine, and coming soon to a theater near you, The Flash, Captain America and The Justice League of America.
There is little wonder as to the huge popularity of these movies, beginning with the appeal of the spectacular special effects that bring the comic book characters to life right before your eyes. In addition to this, all of these movies have similar compelling story lines. The heroes of our childhood on the big screen are now a little edgier and cooler for this generation of viewers, but all of them are on the side of righteousness and good, and they battle the opposing forces of evil.
We use the movies as a way of retreat. They help us to relax and unwind from our day-to-day routine, even with all of skirmishes and explosions that take place. While we can relate to our super heroes battling through madness and mayhem, our personal daily experience is a similar struggle of good versus evil–except we are far from super or even heroic. We are fallible and vulnerable, for we live in the reality of a fallen world surrounded by sin and transgression.
The news and events of each day reinforce that we are in a fallen world. Our own behaviors are challenged with conflicts, distractions and temptations to sin. God’s Word provides ongoing support and guidance to avoid sin, but it is up to each of us to remain consistent in this endeavor with a constant effort to seek Him and His truth.
Psalm 119:9-11 (HCSB)
9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping Your word.
10 I have sought You with all my heart;
don’t let me wander from Your commands.
11 I have treasured Your word in my heart
so that I may not sin against You.
A few years ago I presented a message on the role of your conscience in determining and discerning right from wrong. It was noted that it is not just reliance upon your conscience to make the right decisions but it involves your inclusion of the Holy Spirit within your thought process to provide guidance. Both the Holy Spirit and your conscience will make up what we will call today your moral compass. For the benefit of those of you who are of Generation-Y, a compass is the ancient, old-timers version of today’s GPS system. It provides direction and guidance to successfully travel from one point to another. In this way, your personal moral compass guides you to make the proper response to outside stimuli based upon your morals or value system. A compass of any type is subject to deviation and sometimes need to be corrected for accurate readings; similarly, a person’s moral compass is only as good as his or her value system, which means that the Holy Spirit is not a factor when a person’s decisions reflect poor morals or values. It is safe to conclude that one’s poor decision-making is the result of not relying upon godly wisdom.
Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.
The actual use of the term “moral compass” describes the foundation of one’s values and behaviors from a moral perspective. I will now take poetic license to expand my definition of a moral compass as a person who gives the perception of demonstrating high moral character. This perception, in addition, carries a high degree of influence with others who know the person. For example, you are a “moral compass” amongst your friends if you can influence others, just by your presence, to clean up the other persons’ colorful language. A person known as a “moral compass” can have a positive effect, but he can also drive people in a different direction if the people he interacts with are of their own mind and don’t want to focus on godly things. This should not be strange to a believer, for remember Jesus’ comments when He was in the midst of His earthly ministry:
34 Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to turn
a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
36 and a man’s enemies will be
the members of his household.
It is reasonable to conclude that the gospel message that you convey to others is either going to draw a person near to you, or it will push the other person away from you. It’s the same consistent message, but it depends upon the heart of the respondent as to which direction the person will go.
Have you checked your moral compass lately? Do you have the proper focus in looking to Jesus Christ in everything that you do? When others look at you, do they see you as salt and light in the world, or do you just blend in with everyone else? These are important questions for the believer, and they require honest answers. A believer in Jesus Christ is compelled by the love of Christ and the love of other people to serve Him for His glory. A believer, as a result, should never blend in.
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
In order to glorify God through Jesus Christ, you, as the moral compass of your sphere of influence to others, must continually show yourself as a vision of hope before those who are seeking the truth. The very meaning of hope is to create the expectation that good things can happen in one’s life. According to the Holman Bible Dictionary, hope is a “trustful expectation, particularly with reference to the fulfillment of God’s promises. Hope, is the anticipation of a favorable outcome under God’s guidance–the confidence that what God has done for us in the past guarantees our participation in what God will do in the future.” Hope is a key element in the knowledge and understanding that comes in a love relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and how we are to love others, as well:
1 Corinthians 13:13
Now these three remain:
faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.
In today’s world, those who are sincerely seeking the truth will want answers; therefore, they will seek out the persons who have godly character and who demonstrate the practice of living in truth. While some will reject the truth, believers in Jesus Christ will possess the mind of Jesus Christ and will strive to live according to His will. A true believer will live in accordance to the Great Commission and want to see people saved for Jesus Christ.
For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.
How does a person regarded as a “moral compass” convey this hope to others? There are four points that we will cover today whose first letters will each spell the word “hope.” You will stand out as a moral compass that provides guidance and direction with your daily approach in these areas:
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.
The result of humility is fear of the Lord,
along with wealth, honor, and life.
Humility is the first step that every person must take when they first acknowledge the need for a Savior. It begins there and continues throughout life as a believer as one grows and develops in the wisdom and knowledge of God’s Word. This wisdom and knowledge begins with the appropriate reverence for God in your life–it requires a life of humility.
Psalm 111:10 (NIV)
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.
Humility leads to the next acronym–
You cannot love God and show God’s love to others, without being obedient to His Word.
The evidence of your obedience will be apparent in your daily, consistent approach in how you remain obedient and convicted to God’s Word. It is your daily walk as that moral compass that will show the importance of trusting God and His Word to others. You will show that obedience to God’s Word really matters.
1 Peter 1:20-23
20 He (Jesus Christ) was chosen before the foundation of the world but was revealed at the end of the times for you21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
22 By obedience to the truth, having purified yourselves for sincere love of the brothers, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again—not of perishable seed but of imperishable—through the living and enduring word of God.
Note that this obedience requires faith, which is a necessary component in your relationship with Jesus Christ.
Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.
In order to be humble before the Lord and obedient to His Word, a life devoted to prayer must be in the mix.
Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.
Your prayers are not just personal, but also for those persons that you interact with on a daily basis. Prayer is a mighty force when you petition God to touch the people in your life to make a decision to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. When people know that you are prayerful and are sincerely praying for them, it speaks a powerful message of your love, care and compassion for others.
To be exemplary is to set the best example of living before others. It is when you exhibit a great demeanor, a positive presence, and exceptional behavior as a believer in Jesus Christ where others will be drawn to you. To be exemplary is not about being perfect, or even being the best at everything you do–you still need to show yourself to be a human being that recognizes when mistakes are made and own up to them. In sporting events or competitions, you are to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat. Your exemplary behavior will draw people near to you, and also to Jesus Christ, when you show your love and concern for others. This is the essence of your life as a moral compass standing up for Jesus Christ and standing out while living for Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:12
12 Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do what is evil, they will, by observing your good works, glorify God on the day of visitation.
12 When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am.14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.15 For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you.
16 “I assure you: A slave is not greater than his master, and a messenger is not greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
The “moral compass” has an important role in the body of Christ—both for the individual and for those he or she interacts with. It starts with the reliance of the Holy Spirit in making all decisions, and it continues as you live for Jesus Christ in providing hope to others who need to make a decision for Him. Your mission in the Great Commission is to show others the love of Christ through humility, obedience, prayer and exemplary behavior. It is living in the best way that you can in being salt and light in the world before others, and it begins with your faith, hope and love in Jesus Christ.
Copyright © Melvin Gaines.