Holy and Acceptable

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

When you set your heart to walk blameless before God and to please him, you will be feared and despised by those who have lost his favor and blessing. Lukewarm or compromised Christians will be absolutely disturbed and repelled by your life.

We see this vividly illustrated in 1 Samuel. “Now Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, but had departed from Saul... And David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the Lord was with him. Therefore, when Saul saw that he behaved very wisely, he was afraid of him” (1 Samuel 18:12-15, NKJV).

David’s blameless behavior struck fear in Saul’s heart. Whenever Saul was around David, he remembered when he had enjoyed the favor of God and the high esteem of men. However, disobedience, envy, pride and self-will had cost Saul every bit of power with God; and it had robbed him of the respect of his people.

Saul had come face to face with a younger and less-experienced man who exuded the power and integrity of holiness. He was pure in heart and full of the Holy Spirit, and Saul was afraid of him.

Keep in mind that this was no idolatrous pagan who was afraid of David. No, Saul was a man who had known the power of the Holy Spirit. He had once been God’s anointed, a mighty man with a powerful destiny. Then David appears on the scene. Here was a young man simply living a clean life, and God was pouring out favor upon him. “All Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them” (1 Samuel 18:16).

This was humiliating for Saul, and he couldn’t stand having David around him. Scripture says, “Therefore Saul removed him from his presence” (1 Samuel 18:13). Sadly, Saul represents the compromised church of today, those Christians who have compromised and lost the anointing of God. He is a type of the believer who was once on fire for God but who has fallen into spiritual ruin through their disobedience, pride and lust.

There is nothing scarier to a compromised Christian than a holy, blameless life. The more your life aligns with the Lord’s will and his holiness, the more repelling you will become to backslidden believers.

Living in the Favor of God

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

God promises his marvelous favor to the blameless believer. “Keep my commands . . . let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man” (Proverbs 3:1-4, NKJV). The Lord is saying if you determine to walk blameless before him you will walk in his favor and be pleasing to him.

That isn’t all! God’s favor also includes power. Paul said, “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance” (1 Thessalonians 1:5). His favor brings the power of the Holy Spirit to all you say and do. Your words won’t fall to the ground because they will have Holy Spirit power.

Paul said those Holy Spirit-empowered words produce great results: “And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 1:6).

Why were Paul’s words so powerful and effective? Because, he says, “[We] became examples to all . . . who believe” (1 Thessalonians 1:7). It was not Paul’s preaching and praying that won people to the Lord; it was his exemplary life. God had found in Paul a clean heart that he could favor with the power of the Holy Spirit.

God’s divine favor also brings high esteem among men. It is written of David: “David behaved more wisely than all the servants of Saul, so that his name became highly esteemed” (1 Samuel 18:30). The man or woman who protects the name of Jesus by living holy before others will be given a good name before them by God himself!

Some Christians say, “I don’t care about my name. It doesn’t matter what people think of me. I just want to be an unknown, a nobody. Let the Lord have all the glory.” That may sound humble but according to scripture, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1). God gives the righteous a good name so they can use it to glorify him in greater measure.

What Is a Blameless Life?

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

According to the apostle Paul, these are the attributes of a blameless believer.

1. They live without deceit. “For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit” (1 Thessalonians 2:3, NKJV). A blameless Christian is one without any deceit in his heart. Paul was saying, “I wasn’t a fraud, preaching one thing to you and yet living another. My behavior was an open book.”

2. They touch nothing unclean. “For our exhortation did not come from . . . uncleanness” (v. 3).

Paul’s emphasis here is on sensuality or lust. He is saying, “Not an unclean word came out of my mouth. My conversation was pure, coming forth from a clean heart.” Paul had his body under control. Fleshly passion did not control him; no spirit of lust possessed his mind. He was a free man.

A believer who tells dirty jokes, makes sexual innuendoes or has roving eyes is someone whose heart has not yet been cleansed. God says, “If you are going to walk blameless before me, you must have clean ears, a clean heart and a clean tongue.”

3. They are without error. “Our exhortation did not come from deceit” (v. 3).

The Christian without error or guile is not trying to be clever, crafty or manipulative. He has no hidden agenda and is completely open and honest. Paul said, “I did not manipulate you into the kingdom of God, nor did I use clever words or try to play on your feelings. I gave the gospel to you straight.”

Paul never played word games or used psychology to get people to like him. Paul said, “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children” (1 Thessalonians 2:7). But when sin came in, he rebuked it with thunder out of heaven. He loved people with all his heart, yet he didn’t want or need anyone’s approval. “For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others” (1 Thessalonians 2:5-6).

Paul was always mindful that God was watching him and checking his motives. He abstained from “every form of evil” (see 1 Thessalonians 5:22) and lived as if Jesus were coming within the hour!

The Power of a Blameless Life

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

“You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:10, NKJV).

This is a powerful statement to make. Call on God as a witness to your holiness! Yet, without flinching, Paul boasted to the believers in Thessalonica, “My co-workers and I lived blamelessly before you and before God. Our conduct was righteous and pure. God is witness to our holy behavior and you also are witnesses. You saw that we walked holy and blameless before God and men.”

Paul was an effective preacher, and he knew the secret to moving people toward God. He could stand boldly before every living soul and testify, “I live daily under the gaze of a holy God. I walk always as if his holy eyes are upon me, and you all are witnesses to my blameless life!”

The apostle had a passionate desire for every believer to have this same power. He prayed night and day that all of God’s children would live their lives holy and unblemished before God. “So that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:13).

The rich young ruler who came to Jesus had been good from his youth, and that goodness won him the love and respect of Jesus (see Matthew 19:16-20). However, something was lacking, and that one thing makes all the difference. Friend, if you do not have this same purpose fueling everything you say and do, you can never be blameless before God and man, “That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you” (2 Thessalonians 1:12). Goodness alone won’t give us eternal life or draw others to Christ. We must have the Holy Spirit working in us and through us, directing all the glory to God!

This is what motivated Paul to live a blameless life: He was jealous for the glory and name of Jesus! He knew everything had to be built on that foundation because all human goodness is as filthy rags. What distinguishes the blameless walk is a consuming desire to honor the name of Jesus before all people.

Sowing the Seeds of Hope

Gary Wilkerson

The United Nations conducts frequent studies on addiction throughout the world. The number is always around 270 million drug abusers globally, but the real number is likely twice that. Many countries don’t report the truth because of cultural shame and political ramifications.

Research by Teen Challenge, the nonprofit my father founded for at-risk youth, reveals that in Pakistan, one in every four men uses heroin, and most of them are addicted. In China, you can buy heroin for the price of a boiled egg. India, it is believed, is home to approximately 20 percent of all drug addicts on earth. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 46 million people in America are classified as having substance abuse disorders.

These figures are enough to deflate the faith of the hardiest of Christians. Are we even making a dent in the world with the gospel?

For perspective, let’s look at the world after Jesus’ ascension. The odds were overwhelmingly against successful establishment of the church. The Roman empire was a shopping center of pagan idolatry and cults that had migrated from Egypt and Syria. Jesus’s followers were harassed and beaten by the Sanhedrin, and they were jailed, tortured and murdered by the Romans. New believers in the church were unruly, while Jews and Gentiles bickered endlessly over doctrine. The apostles plowed new ground every day, unsure of where the next boulder would be.

Yet they forged ahead with one goal: Sow the seed. Paul was determined only to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to his world and to let God do the supernatural work. ”Neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything,” he said, “but only God who gives the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:7, ESV).

In the sixties, Teen Challenge grew through this same adherence to the message. Drugs, the assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Vietnam War had upended the national psyche, causing widespread despair among youth. When God called my father to do his part in his city, he rolled up his sleeves. Generations of families now walk in the light of redemption because one man obeyed.

Proverbs tells us to keep these words front and center: “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you” (Proverbs 4:25). This is our mandate! Be fearless, stay on message and do not waver! Our generation is counting on us.