24 June 2018
NOTE: This is a written version of the message I delivered on June 24, 2018, to Trail Life USA Troop 22
Dignity - What is it? According to dictionary.com, it is "nobility or elevation of character; worthiness." In Trail Life, the motto is "Walk worthy." This comes from the Bible in Colossians 1:10 (NIV):
so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
It says "bearing fruit." This is the Fruit of the Spirit. One can only can walk in true dignity by the Holy Spirit, which produces the Fruit of the Spirit in the believer's life. And what is the Fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV) says the following:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Colossians 1:10 not only mentions bearing such Fruit, but it mentions "growing in the knowledge of God." What helps us grow in the knowledge of God? Faith, reading the Bible, time at church, fellowship, serving and prayer are ways to grow in knowledge of God. And this helps one to walk worthy and treat others with true dignity from a pure motive.
Why walk worthy and treat others with dignity? The world will say we are to treat others with dignity. So what motive does the world have to treat others with dignity? And what is our motive? This brings up the contrast between Christian's motive and the world's motive. The Christian's motive is that we are indeed created in the image of God and are to live according to His will and inerrant, authoritative Word as a good witness. While some in the world may say we are created in God's image, they discount creation as described in the Bible and the motive is revealed as a self-serving, feel good motive.
Genesis 1:27 (NIV) states the following:
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
All people are created in His image. We are not highly evolved animals or accidents and there is no motive for true dignity in that outside of the rewards of men and self-seeking "feeling good." And if there is no faith in Christ, moral motives breakdown as none are good apart from Him. We are no good. Jesus offers His goodness in exchange for our sinfulness at the cross. And Jesus supported creation. We are created in God's image, a motive for treating others with dignity. In Matthew 19:4 (NIV), Jesus said the following:
'Haven't you read,' he replied, 'that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female'
Jesus used the fact of creation to make a point. This supports that we are not highly evolved animals. We are created as He said. We are created in His image as the Scripture says. And even the unborn should be treated with dignity. Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV) says,
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
What does it look like to walk in dignity and treat others with dignity? This is summarized well by 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV):
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
This isn't what the world calls "love." True love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. The world says to "love" whatever you want however you want to the point of perversion. However, true love has boundaries (I will say, "No" to my child if he is doing something self-destructive because I love him). True love is not lust or something based in feelings that come and go. True love is based in truth, God being the source of truth and the Bible His Word.
So, what about you? Who are you rubbing shoulders with? Are you spurring one another on to walk worthy and treat others with dignity? Proverbs 27:17 says the following:
As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another.
We need our fellow believers to walk with us as we come along side of them. We cannot walk worthy and purely treat others with true dignity apart from Christ. Otherwise, it is a feel-good, self-serving filthy rag that looks for pats on the back from men rather than rewards in Heaven. The bottom line, as it always is, is that we all need Christ.
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