Psalm 121:1 “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.” (KJV)
Honor, Encourage, Lead, (and) Protect
Several times in the past few years I have felt like I was running to catch up and not really able to handle everything that was happening. Job changes, health challenges, expectations on my time imposed by outsiders, and countless other inconveniences caused me to consider “throwing in the towel” or at the very least throwing a fit and crying out for help. We have all been in situations that caused us to want to yell, “Help!”
As Christians we should understand that our help comes from the Lord. God is always willing and able to help us in every situation, but He also expects us, as His children, to help others in their times of need. God is omnipotent — all-powerful, and omniscient — all knowing. He could with a word wipe out all our problems and turn every situation around, but He chooses to work through His children in order to accomplish His will. As Christians, we have a responsibility to HELP.
Real help addresses the root of the problem in a way that does not degrade, or demoralize the person in need of assistance. HELP begins with H – Honor. Are we reluctant to accept the help we so desperately need? If we hold back or shy away from help how can we expect those to whom we are trying to minister to be any less reluctant? The root problem in this world is sin. The help we all need is help overcoming sin. Making the right choices at the right time for the right reasons in the right way will eliminate sin. Any real help is honoring to the person being helped. We cannot reach or assist those we do not honor.
Honoring someone in this case is not putting the individual up on some sort of pedestal. It is not praising them falsely or in any way being insincere. I simply mean valuing them as one of God’s most precious creations. God throughout His word teaches us how we can be honoring to Him and to each other as we live to give Him glory. He also outlines how we can assure His aid in our decision making throughout our lives. We must honor God by honoring each other. (Isaiah 58:9-10)
Honoring each other, means that we will not maliciously find fault or fix blame onto others. We will not allow people to oppress the weak, fatherless, or widowed. We will make every effort to use the resources at our disposal to meet the needs of the widowed, the needy, and the fatherless. Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and satisfying the needs of the oppressed illustrates and emphasizes our dependence upon God because in ourselves we cannot meet these needs. Keeping God’s commandments will open the door for His intervention in our lives without diminishing the value of either His grace or His mercy. (Romans 13:7-9)
Respect for our fellowman is demonstrated when we fulfill the law of love. Honoring an individual means that we make an effort to give them what should be theirs. The debt we owe every person is love. Our love for God is acted out in our relationships with mankind. Our obedience to all the laws of God is measured by how we treat our neighbors.
Helping others means that we will go to the same lengths to satisfy any individuals real needs. There is no doubt that we love ourselves. We care for our daily needs. We rarely deny ourselves any convenience, and most of us go to great lengths to satisfy our felt needs (These would be our wants.). God does not show favoritism. Anyone willing to honor Him can have access to Him according to His word, but His word also calls upon us to reach out to others and care for the needs of individuals. (1Samuel 2:30)
According to that verse, God honors those who honor Him and that is not contingent upon our heritage, but is clearly connected to our attitude. God judges us on our faithfulness to Him. When we are faithful to God we will bless others with the honor that is due them. We realize, of course, any time we personally are honored it becomes encouraging to us. Encouragement strengthens us. The next letter in HELP is E – Encourage.
God encourages everyone in need by listening to the cries of the helpless and defending the oppressed. There are times when deliverance can only be secured through a Sovereign move of God, but His help most often comes through human hands –– hands that have been committed to Him. Offering HELP that honors and encourages an individual while we lead them into righteousness depends upon wisdom that comes from God. We must discern His will in each case and do away with injustice. (Psalm 10:17-18)
Mankind creates injustice when we refuse to live according to the will of God. Misinterpretation, misrepresentation, and misapplication are three problems we face when we attempt to comprehend God’s will from any human perspective. Divine inspiration always lines up with the Divine revelation God has provided in His word. Because, we can rest assured His will never contradicts His word, searching the scriptures and understanding the direction of the Holy Spirit will teach us — honor offered appropriately is encouraging, leads us into righteousness and it protects us. We are commanded, according to scripture, to build each other up. (1Thessalonians 5:11-14)
Taking action and doing something to make the world we live in a better place is a vital component of our Christian faith. We, as children of God, have a responsibility to warn, encourage, help, and extend patience toward all. These things flow from the mutual respect we share with our brothers and sisters. Hard work is the measure of what is worthy of respect and regard. Earlier we explored the acronym WORK – Willingly Offer Refreshing Kinship. The kinship or kindness being spoken of here is dedicated to leading people into righteousness. Discipleship is a must. The next letter in HELP is L — Lead. (2Timothy 4:2)
Proclaiming the truth of the Gospel is the responsibility of every believer. Therefore, we can all answer the call to leadership on some level. Look behind you - is any one following you? Then you are a leader. Look around the next time you are speaking - is anyone listening? Then you are a leader.
I hesitate to tell this story but in a sense it illustrates the point I am making, so, I will ask your indulgence for just a moment. My mother still occasionally gets a chuckle from this story; so I hope you will see the humor in it as well. When I was very young somewhere between the ages of three and five, my family was taking a trip and as children so often do, I was attempting to get my parents attention to address whatever a person of that age might think was of critical importance, and as parents so often do I was being ignored or placated. All of a sudden, I got everyone’s attention when I said, “Oh, hell, nobody listens to me anyway.” After the initial shock passed and my parents figured out just where they thought I might have learned that word, they taught me two lessons.
First, someone is always listening and second children should not use some words! That truth was inevitable re-enforced by a word of correction. Regardless of whom we are at various times we are leading because someone is always paying attention to what we do or say. And, no matter whom we are at some point we will be rebuked (Count on it). If you think rebuke is too harsh a description perhaps you prefer to be more politically correct and use challenged. Weather we are challenged or rebuked, training in righteousness is our aim. If the HELP we both offer and receive does not challenge us to a higher standard it is not leading us into the righteousness God intends. Leading others into holiness, and righteousness, before the Lord, calls upon us to live as an example in public as well as in private. The eyes of the Lord are not the only eyes that see us. We do not know when the trumpet of the Lord shall sound to call us into His rest, but we do know that while we are here the way we live matters. The goal is growing in godliness and true holiness. The next letter in HELP is P — Protect.
Helping others see the benefits of righteousness is impossible without both love and justice. Avoiding the deeds of faithless people and keeping vile things from before our eyes is proving to be a full time job in today’s world, but emphasizes the importance and necessity that Christians protect each other.
This world, void of Christian influence, or protection becomes a very dark place indeed. It is no accident that Justice (the statue) holds a scale. Seeking justice and balancing it with love brings us to mercy. Grace and mercy flow from the heart of God, but make no mistake: He is just in all He does. Because we accept and believe these things, we protect our witness as well as those we care about. We protect them from the influence of the world. Resting in the knowledge and assurance that really the Holy Spirit has the responsibility to lead, guide and protect us as we depend upon and serve the Lord. (Psalm 101:1-3)
This scripture reminds us that as we step out in faith to Honor, Encourage, Lead, (and) Protect — HELP all who are in need, we cannot neglect our own spiritual condition. The spotlight of the Holy Spirit out of necessity searches our hearts anytime He is invited and our obedience will bring our ways into alignment with God’s. We can successfully travel the road toward righteousness following His leading. His correction and direction keep our feet from slipping off the narrow path. The essential element is our invitation allowing God to search our hearts. He will never violate our freewill. The psalmist gives us the pattern for the invitation to be known by God in Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (KJV)
Once we live employing His plan, we shine like the brightness of heaven in this dark world. Eternity allows those who lead many to righteousness to continue shining. (Daniel 12:3)
There is a record of our actions. God is keeping track. Living the full Gospel message is more than being part of a social club. It calls us to Christian action. If we allow injustice, if we refuse to protect those who cannot protect themselves, if we do not maintain reverence toward the Lord; there will be a price to pay. Leading people into righteousness insists that we walk humbly before God, and defend the standard that God has established in His word.
The law of God cannot be ignored without consequences. Every member of society regardless of station, position, or wealth has worth in the Kingdom of God. We cannot afford to think too highly of the material possessions or status we gain in this life. What we do with the truth God reveals becomes the hallmark of our religion. God is coming to judge our lives by His standard. (Malachi 3:5)
Superman, it seems, had two-thirds of an outstanding motto. Do you remember what it was? (Truth, Justice, and The American Way) As Christians our motto should be, “Truth, Justice and God’s way!” The book of James teaches us that our religion can be pure and faultless with effort. Keeping our lives from the polluted elements of this world allows us to leap into the correct response and be willing to protect those in need of protection. (James 1:27)
God has promised to act on behalf of the needy. He does protect and provide for us according to His plan. As His children we should follow His example. It is time that we fulfill our responsibility and become the reflection of our Father in Heaven. (Psalm 12:5)