Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Proclaiming Christ In Every Way

“Some proclaim Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill... What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice.”

~Philippians 1:15, 18 (NRSV)

Even in the Apostle Paul’s imprisonments the gospel was proclaimed to a great extent and the Christian faith grew inexorably. Indeed, as an irony attached to the challenges of adversity Paul was facing he exposed the Praetorian guard to the practicalities of faith, resplendent in his witness as a grace-filled prisoner.

But we learn something of the personal challenges Paul faced in this mini reading above; whilst he acknowledges the work of brothers and sisters in love, his heart and mind also battles with thought for those preaching Christ out of skewed motives—and this by way of no favour to Paul.

Still, he rejoices!

Valuing The Order Of Things

Reading between the lines, Paul is highlighting to the Philippians that the difference between those who proclaim Christ out of love and those who don’t is the way they treat him—their father in the faith. There was surely a lack of respect, but perhaps more; some Judaisers had slipped into the ranks, even joining the church, to proclaim their legalistic Christ.

Despite the doctrinal differences that may have been evident, there was the “envy and rivalry” that Paul mentions to deal with.

We would not go out and preach Christ neglecting the minister we are under. We would do so with deference toward those who have mentoring roles, or authority, over us. This is what is hoped. But, Paul definitely had a thorn in his side, messengers of Satan, who pushed Paul’s chain-bound faith to the brink of persecution, and frequently past it.

The Deeper Motive Of Incorrect Proclamation

If we follow the Judaising motive, and see the presence of false teachers instructing within the early church pretext, we can see the blending-in of legalism into a faith set apart to grace.

In going quietly and subversively against the pulsating grace that Paul’s preaching majored on, the Judaisers were still preaching a familiar message, but one that minimised grace by cheapening it to something easily appeased by human action; only a learned elder might detect that God was being discreetly left out of the picture.

When rules are added to our faith, particularly in the things we read or the preaching we hear, and grace is not punctuated as it should be, we ought to be alert for false teaching. This sort of influence can have a dangerously negative impact on our faith; it minimises the power and grace of God, whilst maximising the value of human effort.


We ought to rejoice, like Paul, whenever Christ is proclaimed. But we ought also to check what the message pivots on: that we are saved by grace alone through faith, or that rules, rituals, or regalia must be added to qualify our faith? The former is proclaiming Christ, correctly, out of love; the latter could be heresy, proclaimed selfishly.

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

The Spiritual Commodity of Abundance

“Know well the condition of your flocks,

and give attention to your herds;

for riches do not last forever,

nor a crown for all generations.”

~Proverbs 27:23-24 (NRSV)

“There is no fixed road to wealth, and goods do not stay with the same master forever.”

~Sima Qian (ca. 145/135 b.c.e. – 86 b.c.e.)

Proof of the only true abundance is this—material abundance is fleeting. It lasts the majority of wealthy families, besides royalty and dynasties, less than 100 years—the equivalent of three generations.

There is a better wealth to be gleaned from life; a wealth of true prosperity. It is the spiritual commodity of abundance.

Knowing What To Receive, What To Chase, And What To Reject

If there is one thing we’re empowered to do it is to attract the right thing and repel the wrong thing.

In present sight, we wish to attract and magnify spiritual riches and repel our reliance on riches of material or worldly value. A truth about the latter is compelling: those who have attracted material wealth may have done so through no fixed wisdom other than hard work and the capitalisation of opportunity. It is equally swept away by misfortune or bad luck, which is only later known for cause and so often cannot be predicted.

If we would chase something we cannot ultimately master, it is a shallow chase. That which guarantees a depth of reward far truer in the eternal sense is a better choice to go after.

The spiritual commodity of abundance is not necessarily the flat-out rejection of material abundance for its own sake, but it is wise enough to understand the things that are fleeting in this life—success, numbers, past performance, material wealth, and even opportunity—and equally wise about the things that never end; those that pile-up to blessing.

The development of our characters, the outlay of time and love in our relationships, and our focus on God; these are the real riches. Upon these are investments that will never wane and will never sour, so long as we tend to them. Upon these are sourced, true peace and contentment—if we would centre our focus on them and not on what is fleeting.

Challenging Ourselves Regarding The Focus Of Our Lives

We will all find prosperity and abundance and things suchlike to be gregariously attractive. We are wired to want success and to avoid failure; one sees us elevated in the company of life, whilst the other ends in our embarrassment and shame.

But life is more than success and failure—as it is defined in human terms.

God turns these concepts upside down, by the fact that the Lord’s success is not vaunted by humankind, and divine failure might be reconciled as success in many human terms.

We have the choice. Do we run with the pack, competing and cajoling for a place in this world, even within the Christian ministry setting (where worldly success is often just as rampant), or do we seek God in any event? The former is veiled with disappointment; the latter is poised for a secret form of success—the blessings of the Lord of being hidden with Christ in God.


Abundance is a tricky concept, as the only true abundance is a spiritual commodity. Success is placing our focus on ‘wealth’ within actual grasp, not on those things over the fence. Life is closer than we think.

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Psalm 115 – Devoted To Follow God

“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,

for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness.

Why should the nations say,

‘Where is their God?’”

~Psalm 115:1-2 (NRSV)

Many times believers of God may have been dissuaded from vocalising such belief for fear they might be quietly mocked or laughed at. It’s the temptation of timidity, against the flow of courage that impels us forward in power—to boldly claim our confession with integrity intact, and be prepared to speak of it in all circumstances.

This Psalm, a most important Hallel Psalm, for it was the one Jesus and the disciples sung immediately prior to venturing out to the Mount of Olives (Matthew 26:30), finds its place in the haranguing of a believer in the company of idol worshippers dispelling the power and presence of the living God. It contrasts the Almighty God with useless human-made idols that the mockers, back then, placed their faith in.

It is a Psalm of allegiance: of commitment to praise, and to follow, the Lord.

Idol Worship Then And Today

Deciding to follow God is as much about rejecting idol worship as it is about actually practicing a truth-and-Spirit-based worship.

We are all tempted, and at times deceived, regarding the dilution of our worship; we begin, and continue, to devote ourselves to things other than God. Whether it is music, or television, or sport, or politics, etc, matters little. What matters is our focus is split. Because we are broken human beings we will do it—compounding the case that we need saving.

Verses 3-8 speak about the polar difference in contrasting the worthiness of worshipping God versus idols.

We know, intellectually, with our situational spiritual sight aligned, that there is no real comparison. Yet, the believing world—in this context, everyone bar atheists—who ‘apparently’ don’t have gods (though we know they do)—is so easily deceived; many run with a power that has no power. Even so-called Christians do.

According to the psalmist, and we should agree, those who believe in idols (by following them) are on a sharp spiritual decline.

Believing God By Deciding To Follow

Belief is qualified by the fact of ardently following that which we believe—to give the commitment of action-based allegiance.

The psalmist is heard from verses 9-15 imploring Israel to trust in the Lord. There is the implication of faith; to derive blessing, for idol worship can provide no sustainable blessing in and of itself. The blessing is named in verse 14—“May the Lord give you increase, both you and your children.”

When we believe God by deciding to follow, we will no doubt look for signs of such blessing, knowing—with irony—that faith is what gets us through times that appear more like cursing.

We cannot follow God obediently, through expressions of faith in darkness, without converting our belief into action. And our belief is driven by the fact that the Lord is the Maker of heaven and earth—the Lord, alone, can bless.

Utterances Of Eternal Life

Verses 16-18 complete the Psalm in a consummate sense: as we read we get a glimpse of eternal life because we are praising an eternal God. But the utterances of praise we have for God need to be cast forth in the here-and-now, while we have the chance.

Earth is merely a brief stopover on a pilgrimage toward eternity. And when we don’t praise the Lord it’s as if we are dead already. Our praises, sincerely, are the words and character that carry forth into eternity.


Following God is no easy task. Many distractions and temptations will threaten our devotion. One way we fortify our practical belief is through thoughts, words, and actions that say, “Praise the Lord!”

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

No Eye Has Seen, Nor Ear Heard

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.”

~1 Corinthians 2:9 (NRSV)

Dwight L. Moody once preached a sermon entitled, “Hell,” where he related the illustration of a man many times so close to salvation, yet he died resigned to the fact he was going to hell; that he was beyond saving. Nothing the famous pastor could do would change his mind for accepting Christ. The fear that his peers may have laughed at him for becoming Christian was this man’s perennial stumbling block. He desperately wanted Christ, but the approval of men, more.

Of course, many, many millions have come to saving faith just out of plain spiritual surrender; to give up their right to the old life that gave them a little, in order to risk for a new life that promised much more, even welling to eternal life.

What has frustrated evangelists the world over is, some can never quite see, nor hear, nor conceive what God has prepared for them—the gift of knowledge of the Spirit of God.

The Gift Of Knowledge Of The Spirit Of GOD

What stands between the saved and the unsaved is both so incredibly simple, yet never more impossible to see, hear, or conceive. It is both things, simultaneously.

It is a system of knowledge—the simplest ever—and it is known by the mind but not through the mind; a Spirit takes homely possession within a person upon favourable invitation. The door of the soul is flung open, not left ajar, and in the floods the entirety of the knowledge of the Spirit of God by way of an experience of rebirth—life anew. It is interminably conditional on surrender.

The actual process of transformation may be akin to this:

It might be as if the processing unit within the person has been upgraded; a completely new operating system has been installed; the faulty one removed and made defunct. This new operating system comes with software to actualise a person’s development and to oversee life as a project with renewed purpose, real meaning, the solemnity of direction, and finally the abundance of flourishing hope.

What stems from the gift of knowledge of the Spirit of God, therefore, are more delineated gifts for service within the kingdom of God—to all humankind. These gifts are tantamount to tangible blessing; both for the owner of the gift and the recipients for which those gifts are destined.

The Gift That Stands Some Way Off

Of course, one plain reading of 1 Corinthians 2:9 (which emanates from Isaiah 64:4) reveals a hint of heaven—the actual location—although heaven is implicated in the gift of the knowledge of the Spirit of God, in any event.

We can afford to read this literally, from a heaven context.

What might heaven actually look, sound, and feel like? Well, perhaps these are intentionally beyond us, but therein lay the incomprehensible beauty of anticipating and realising such a Divine appointment.

Heaven: we can imagine, now, what lay ahead of us; this knowledge we have of the Spirit—this gift from plain acceptance—and what that simple decision of surrender has won for us. What anticipation we have until that day, yet even now!

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

The Receptivity of Worship

“... grace is given more richly by God to the soul than any earthly gift. It is given more richly than brooks of water, than the breath of the air, than the brightness of the sun; for spiritual things are far finer and nobler than earthly things.”

~Johannes Tauler (1300-1361)

Humility receives, and does so graciously.

Our highest calling is the worship of the living God—in Spirit and in truth—such that we might not simply give our Lord blessings of praise and thanksgiving, but that we may receive his abundance of grace, to every walk of life that amounts to our being.

Yet, there is much confusion regarding motive for worship; we may desire deeply within us to give back to God, but unless we are prepared to receive, our worship will be pointless. We will have nothing to give if we cannot receive.

Again, the truest sense of humility is unabashed receipt—the calmness to receive our gift, the all-empowering and all-forgiving grace, with no thought to give back without first securing the totality of the grace-gift; letting it enter into our spirituality, transforming us from the inside out.

In The Presence Of GOD

Baying in the Presence, ready, for the Word, the Spirit, the Light, and the replete goodness of the Lord to purge us of all ill-feeling that may be contemptible, is the soulful portion of receipt we may now contemplate.

Being a believer in Jesus Christ requires abiding in certain alienable Spiritual truths that come only with the moment.

God gives grace only for the moment, not that it can be bought like a cheap earthly possession and thereby monopolised. The motive of the religious is therefore defeated. Grace may not be possessed; it can only be received as a gift. And it is the right state-of-heart that procures such a moment.

And this gift we speak of prevails upon and over us to the extent of our baying in that Presence—the achievement of the mindset and heart-space of our unworthiness in the sight of God. We really are very unworthy, you know. When we come to God unworthy, the Lord comes to us, running, passionate to redeem us. That is the practice of the Presence of the Lord.

Wisdom Contained In The Moment

Everything of God, as it attends to us, occurs in the moment, and this is evidenced never more so than by the facts of us getting ahead of ourselves in pride, or getting behind in life by being overly reflective.

The wisdom contained in the moment points us to the importance of receptivity.

Where we come before God, at any conscious moment, with hands held palm up, our minds open, and our hearts free, we will receive grace enough, and such humility will be magnanimously blessed.

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

More Than Conquerors Through Christ

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

~Romans 8:35, 37 (NRSV)

In a supreme victory the victor gains ground forever indisputable. They have rights permanently fixed. There is peace to the defined requirements of their need. And there is also much safety—the full realisation of hope, notwithstanding any imagined or actual threat.

This describes the Kingdom: the kingdom of God.

This is the reality we have long yearned for, to feel truly at peace, and beyond any other claim on our souls. When we’ve been bought and won by our Lord—the Saviour of humankind—we have realised our full share in the Kingdom of Grace where victory has been established in the eternal realm.

There is now no reasonable fear. There is now no separation from God because of the love of Christ sealed in one act.

Christ’s Love Defeats All Fear

If we will allow, the Spirit of God accessed by faith in Jesus will disarm our non-clinical fear. This will occur as surely as the Holy Spirit ministers to us in our reading of the Word—particularly passages like Romans chapter 8—and in our prayer time.

We can know with all surety that what has been done on the cross, and through the Father’s vindication of Jesus in proving him as God through resurrection, has been done completely and for all eternity. It, as a result, is incontestable. Not only were the claims for evil stopped, their power has been nullified to an unprecedented extent.

The spirit of evil in Satan is a veneer power—it is a mirage—and it only, truly, has power when we attach to it, power; though this power has incredible cunning. Its standard modus operandi is deceit manifest in myriad form of fear; such that will convict us for evil, principally not instituting faith.

This veneer power is crushed, however, at the presentation of truth.

Any time we institute knowledge of our salvation, glorying in the established fact of Spiritual victory, humbly obeying the Lord any way we can, and this way by thought for truth, we trample this evil power in the all-conquering power of God.

More Than Conquerors

In this way we are more than conquerors; if hardships won’t tear us away from the bosom of love, and indeed they push us even closer—and the same occurs for distresses, persecutions, famine, nakedness, peril, and sword—then we not only have nothing to fear, we have every reason to hope.

The more that is against us, the more that is actually for us. That is the gospel truth.

That is why the Gospel power is beyond evil’s reconciliation—the more that is against us, the more God works for us, through our faith, and the more the love of Christ can be experienced and known.

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Encountering God

“From one ancestor God made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us.”

~Acts 17:26-27 (NRSV)

As a sequel to The Nearness of God, where verse 27 above is poignant, we need to seek the Lord and find him, continually.

We find the context, of course, with the Apostle Paul making his speech at the Areopagus in Athens, regarding the altar with the inscription, “To an unknown god.” His intention is to boil all their myriad deity down to one God—the Creator; of all things.

Isn’t it revealing to compare that day with ours—with the prevalence of horoscope, New-Age faiths, tarot, Feng shui, etc. Our society, as far as religion is concerned, is really no different to Athens or any other learned society. The more self-sufficient we get, the harder it is to ‘attain’ God.

God will not be found anywhere other than by faith that’s truth-based. The only ‘god’ worth seeking and finding is one steadfast in love and abounding in grace; the God of truth and all wisdom.

What It Takes To Seek And Find GOD

The Greek equivalent to the word “grope,” which Paul uses, has a philosophical association—“to reach out for God”—that goes back to Plato; it has the sense of vague guesses at the truth. We might liken this to how we viewed God before our first encounter and, indeed, to the many experiences where God feels absent. Our groping feels in the dark, but we must continue to grope.

For most people to encounter God there is the need to grope in order to find; though, as Paul mentions, the Lord is never far from each of us.

The Lord is close and closer than we can imagine, but central to revelation is in understanding our Place. Where we struggle with Place we struggle with finding God.

Understanding Place

In inside-out form (in discussing verse 26 after verse 27) it is, perhaps, necessary to understand and accept that proof of one Creator—as was Paul’s mission to convince his contemporary hearers—centres on the fact that we have been placed in our lives, geographically and to familial ends, and there are boundaries.

That there is a system in place to check, and control, our way in this world, and that no one is beyond such a system, reveals a divine order sacrosanct to life itself. We are here, at this time, in this place, by no accident.

Understanding and accepting our Place—by steering clear of envious comparisons, discontented complaint, and resisting moral compromise, whilst reconciling our states of discord—is truly a nucleic condition for encountering God.

The Lord of All Glory cannot be known to anyone unrepentant of heart—truthful to the core of their being.


Pivotal to encounters with God is the humble acceptance, however painful it may be, of our Place in life right in the instant. When we are on such terms for truth, the Lord comes close, providing strength and grace and light for hope.

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

General Reference: David J. Williams, Acts – New International Biblical Commentary (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers/Paternoster Press, 1985, 1990), p. 307.

The Nearness of God

“God is always ready, but we are very unready. God is near us, but we are far from Him. God is within, and we are without. God is friendly; we are estranged.”

~Meister Eckhart

The easiest thing in the world, we make the hardest. The closest thing to each of us, personally, might as well be eons away. There is a polar dissimilarity between the nearness of God and the distance we have with ourselves. Something so abundantly close evades our attention because we either look too deeply, too scientifically, or we don’t look at all.

Yet, even believing ones can, and often do, miss the point of God: the nearness of God.

Trusting What We Already Know

Somehow, deep within our spirits, nestles the secret fact of God, one we’ve been searching for.

Perhaps the questions of life have plagued us to such an extent, we’re riddled with doubt or frustration with God or fatigue has beset us—it seems too hard, too meaningless, or too tritely bemusing, to continue this search.

God seems never more distant. The more we look, the less we find.

Despite what we might think, these feelings have a viral commonness about them; many people, indeed most, have significant periods where God failed to show up. We are not alone. Our Lord

Could it be we’re making the search more onerous than it needs to be?

Our Lord hides in such a way so as to be found by those who earnestly seek him; he remains hidden to all others.

Trusting what we already know is nothing about the knowledge of God we’ve learned from books or sermons or speeches or the devotional life. As we read Meister Eckhart’s quote again we know God already; the Deep Mystery belongs within us. All the uncertainty, vacancy, hurts for betrayal, jealousies, and confusion (and suchlike) reveal our need of God, and the Lord is there to assuage all these things and more; to help us redeem our moments—those moments only the Creator can give.

All the things that are wrong about us, and life, lead us to God; simply the fact that we are frustrated by what is wrong is the intention of Divine allure. We’re being led by these difficulties toward the solution—a solution none without God can find.

‘Proving GOD’ Is Ridiculous

Anyone setting out on a journey to prove or disprove God is found in themselves a person running away from their very self. They are like a dog deluded by the threat or the game involved in chasing its tail.

We can suppose some will make a sport of proving God—some maliciously, like the atheist on mission, and some benevolently, in evangelistic pursuit of souls for God.

But the ordinary person has no role, unless they would waste their lives, chasing after proof, for or against. They would be better served getting to know their inner selves—for, in that, a most fruitful spiritual search, they will find God. The Lord will prove Divine existence.

No One Makes Life Easier Than GOD

When we ponder the vastness of life outcomes, those deliciously fine to those horrendously broken, and the infinite nuances between—within the mix spoken of above—we find God makes life easier for each one who believes.

There is nothing else known or unknown in this world that does this, and does it, with truthful veracity, with our best interests at heart. Whatever our circumstance, the Lord can make it easier, better, more meaningful and fulfilling.


God is near, always. Ready to help, to love, to forgive, to ease our burdens, making sense of life: these are found in a God ever so near as to be within us.

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Psalm 101 – The Prayer of Recommitment

“I will sing of loyalty and of justice;

to you, O Lord, I will sing.”

~Psalm 101:1 (NRSV)

Perhaps a dozen or more times I have recommitted my faith before God; once so seriously it literally upended my life—from nearly 13 years of trying hard to live faithfully (and failing dismally in that) overnight I discovered grace. The difference between before and after was like chalk and cheese. Yet, there have been other times when the process of recommitment was just as significant, albeit less sweeping change took place; they were nudges along my journey.

Reading Psalm 101, which is a Royal psalm, we get the distinct impression that David has had enough of his own double standards—repulsed as he is, it seems, by his sin—and takes the direct and desperate step to start afresh with God in this prayer.

The Nature Of David’s Problems

It is necessary before we plunge into discussion regarding prayers of recommitment that we learn a little of the King’s distressing context.

David, with little doubt, was beset by a political world frequently beyond him—having court and duty with many he found he couldn’t trust, as well as dealing with other monarchs and political leaders that didn’t share David’s faith and allegiance to the Lord. It might have been like a recovering alcoholic having to enter a bar every day in order to do their work. It is difficult to lead a pious life in a secular world.

We can therefore sense this was probably not the first recommitment David made and it wouldn’t have been his last.

David’s Recommitments And Ours

We might reasonably ask, what is the substance of recommitment?

David commences no less than eight lines of the psalm with the promise, “I will.” Nothing is more of a recommitment than such a plain pledge. There are also three other direct vows (verses 3b, 7-8), bringing the total of renewed caveats to eleven.

We might get the impression, though, that such an exhaustive list of pledges reveals many things from the depth of David’s self-enquiry, to the extent of his repugnance for his sin, to the sheer weightiness of such a list of promises—if we made eleven such promises we might be daunted by our ability to carry through and deliver on each promise.

The latter issue is the key; ardent recommitments, when prayed ultra seriously, carry the burden for change. We would only despise ourselves if we failed to keep the strength of the recommitment. One recommitment is enough for anyone. Yet, with God, anything is possible (Luke 1:37).

The burden of recommitment is supported only by practical changes in our modus operandi. We can only presume that David implemented sweeping change, at a Kingdom level, having stated so fervently his recommitments.

Understanding The Role Of Grace Within Recommitment

Whilst burden is our portion of the work within recommitment, our Lord runs forward of us by his portion of grace.

Sanctification is the process we speak of here; the gradual refining of our characters in order that we might meet the will of God within the lives God has placed us in. Not all the real work is borne by us; grace is the ever-powerful component sponsoring the ardency of our efforts.

The Lord, here, looks to the sincerity underpinning our recommitment and adds grace in proportion. God is not hard to please here—there will most certainly be an abundance of power that will go with us into this next part of the journey to the extent of our earnestness.


Recommitting to God empowers faith by our sincerity combined with God’s grace. The power within grace will not delay—and it is great, that power! New life flourishes amid recommitment.

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Shelter of the LORD

“Seek the Lord, all you humble ones of the earth

who are determined to do as he decides;

seek righteousness,

seek humility.

Perhaps you may be covered in the day of the Lord’s anger.”

~Zephaniah 2:3 (Moyter)

We tend to gloss over such Scripture as Zephaniah, where the descriptions of the Day of the Lord conspire against happy-clappy praise and veiled thanksgiving.

Sometimes we are seduced by a feel-good Christianity that serves no purpose at all in lauding God to the ends of face-down devotion. The church, it seems, has many apostates proffering the message of cheap grace—a one-sided, glorious salvation with little emphasis on Judgment. It is easy to understand; it’s an unpopular message.

This is why the Minor Prophets have a key, ongoing role in correcting our rose-coloured theology.

As a collective, they highlight an irrevocable truth—we fall short of God and must, thereby, repent. Where we forget such a truth, we are unprepared for the Day of the Lord.

There are three invocations in preparing for such a calamitous reality:

Seek The Lord

The target of this prophecy is, no doubt, the people of God—but they are called, particularly, to the adornment of their souls in both true lowliness and consummate determination: in certitude for the impending Day of the Wrath.

Determination of obedience—the aberrantly patient seeking of God’s face—is to be priority-one, motivated by honest reflection: barring reconnection in Jesus, we are a long way from the holiness of the Lord. We are to be ardent in our faith.

Desiring God is realised in seeking righteousness and humility.

Seek Righteousness

What is a seriously misunderstood concept will lead inevitably to the most adroit humility expected of the saints of God.

Having sought the Lord with a devotion unparalleled to prior personal experience—implicit perhaps for fear of the Day—and taking no chances regarding allegiance—God’s Spirit implicates and convicts the heart. True righteousness before God, nothing like self-righteousness, is the terrible though liberating realisation of the personal human condition. The sinner needs saving and they know it.

Seeking righteousness is walking out on apostasy—it takes all of our lukewarm ambivalence toward God and replaces it with the sharpness of true understanding; then enters humility.

Seek Humility

Fundamental truths need to be magnified; the Lord will not destroy the broken and contrite (Psalm 51:16-17). On the Day of the Lord the humble will be saved; not those who proudly parade their humility, but the lowly ones who know their place.

Humility is not thinking of ourselves less, per se, but agreeing to see ourselves truly in the light of God. It is not thinking of others more, but seeing all of life as much as it truly is.

When we see life in the light of God, and as much as we can in the way it truly is, again we are compelled to see our sinfulness, God’s perfection, and the enormity of Divine grace. We have been saved!


Combining these three imperatives—to seek God, his righteousness, and true humility—provides a wonderful backdrop to the protection afforded the genuine follower of the Lord.

With eyes only for their God, and truth as a Spiritual witness, they are led into the humility that draws God’s blessing. Together these three speak of drawing ever near in Shelter.


When we humble ourselves before God, seeking truth and humility, we procure Divine Shelter of the Lord. Let us ensure we are alert; the time is at hand when we will need it.

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

General Reference: J. Alec Moyter, “Zephaniah” in The Minor Prophets: An Exegetical & Expository Commentary – Vol. 3 (Ed. Thomas Edward McComiskey) (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House Company, 1998), pp. 913, 925-28.