Lesson 32 - People Testing

Lesson 32 - People Testing

Lesson for August 5, 2012

Christian Integrity

People Testing

Every believer will suffer injustice at the hands of others.  Since most people, including Christians, are operating with Human Viewpoint Thinking, it is inevitable that you will encounter testing as a result of others’ bad decisions and behavior.  This category of suffering is undeserved and must be handled by the integrity you have resident in your soul as an advancing believer.

Learning to rely on Bible doctrine to act and not to react when people testing comes your way is imperative.  People testing can come from strangers, friends, loved ones, coworkers or even spouses.  Satan’s cosmic system is full of unbelievers and believers who operate outside of God’s divine power system and they will test your virtue and integrity to the maximum.  You must be prepared for the inevitable by saturating your soul with accurate Bible doctrine.

The doctrinal rationale that you choose will sustain you during this category of suffering.  Impersonal love is the problem solving device that you will most need when people testing comes your way.  For testing from those whom you love, you will have to be able to switch in a moment’s notice from personal love to impersonal love in order to pass the test.  Reaction should not be an option for the mature believer. 

You may expect people whom you don’t love to let you down or attack you, but you probably won’t expect it from those whom you love.  No one is perfect and we all make mistakes in our relationships with others.  Sometimes we need others to tolerate us when we get off track and we should be able to do the same for them.  Exhibiting impersonal love by allowing others to make mistakes is a sure sign of spiritual maturity.  This does not mean that we condone bad behavior; we simply apply impersonal love and hope the person gets back on track quickly.  We must allow others the freedom to make mistakes and still love them as Christ loves them.

We must learn to have a relaxed mental attitude, to “live and let live” and stop judging others and allow others the “right to be wrong.”  We cannot control the behavior of others, but we can control our own.  Since we are responsible only for our behavior, we have no pressure to try to change or control anyone.  A relaxed mental attitude towards others contributes to both our health and our happiness.  We can possess this relaxed mental attitude only as we grow spiritually. (I Thessalonians 4:9-12; I Peter 3:8-16; James 2:1-9)

No one can execute the Christian Way of Life without love.  This includes love for God, love for yourself and love for others.  This is the correct order in which we are to love - God first, ourselves second and others third.  The Bible says that if we are unable to love our fellowman we cannot love God.  Therefore the opposite is true; only by loving God can you have impersonal love for others.  The Bible also says that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, which means that love for self, precedes love for others.  As a matter of fact, love of self teaches us how to love others. (John 15:10; I Corinthians 13:1-3; I John 3:16-24; [Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31 – The Golden Rule])

“Self-love is not selfish when the love that we lavish upon ourselves is also lavished upon others.  Selfish love is the love that is exhausted upon ourselves, until there is none for others.”  (Renaissance New Testament, vol.7, page 389)

Practical Applications of Unconditional (Impersonal) Love

The world system implies that “love” means that we enjoy someone, admire them, that they make us happy, that they treat us nicely, etc.  It is easy to love someone like this. 

The challenging kind of love is unconditional love.  Unconditional love is loving someone that we don’t enjoy, that we don’t admire, that does not make us happy, that does not treat us nicely, etc.  Developing and learning to utilize unconditional love as a “tool” in our daily experience is of utmost importance for a victorious Christian life.  This requires setting aside our emotions and instead thinking and applying Biblical principles in order to produce right attitudes. 

Right attitudes will produce right behavior.  Loving others unconditionally often requires adjusting and adapting to others instead of expecting others to adjust and adapt to us.  Once again, this does not mean that we condone bad behavior, rather it means that we “love” others in spite of their bad behavior.  After all, we don’t know what a person has gone through or is going through that is affecting their behavior (walk a mile in my shoes).  Unconditional love is selfless love - loving without asking “what’s in it for me.” 

Impersonal love is not what we normally think of as “love.”  It is the virtue in your soul that causes you to have a relaxed mental attitude toward others and to treat them with kindness, compassion, patience and forgiveness.  In other words, impersonal love is how we regard and treat others.  Therefore, impersonal love must be based on the virtue of the subject, the one doing the loving (“the treating”). Impersonal love is a function of the Royal Ambassadorship of the believer.  It is our love for God that motivates us to exhibit impersonal love toward all.  Impersonal love operates from the integrity and virtue that we have developed from learning and applying Bible doctrine.

As a Royal Ambassador, you represent God before the world.  Therefore, as royalty, you are to conduct your life accordingly.  This calls for high standards of excellence in every area of your life.  It calls for honor in your dealings with your fellow-believers and with unbelievers alike.  With Jesus Christ as our example, we are to exhibit the same kind of love that He exhibited.  This kind of love can be accomplished only by a believer with Bible doctrine in the soul, who is being controlled by the Holy Spirit.

As Royal Ambassadors we are to love the entire human race. This is possible only with virtue and integrity in our souls.  Impersonal love is a relaxed mental attitude that exhibits the character of Christ towards everyone.  It is unconditional love because it does not depend on the object of your love - it depends on the integrity in your soul.  When we have developed impersonal love, we treat others with kindness, patience, forgiveness and respect.  We will also set aside our “pet prejudices” regarding race, social status, ability, appearance or what a person can or cannot do for us.  Impersonal love for all mankind solves the problem of your relationship with and attitude toward people (people testing). (James 2:8) We will refrain from gossip, maligning, judging, character assassination, etc. In other words, we will “live and let live.”  The principle of treating everyone with respect also means that we will be tolerant, be thoughtful and be kind toward others.  We will hold no grudges or resentment against anyone. (I John 4:17-18)

God’s love is always based on His integrity.  All of God’s attributes work together as one cohesive system designed to empower the believer in the execution of His plan, purpose and will.  Therefore, divine love cannot operate independently of His integrity.  Many believers today have “created” God in their personal image.  They often ascribe to God their own superficial, emotional love and call it “the love of God.”  God is not sentimental about us.  He does not love us because we are “lovable.”  God loves the believer because he possesses the righteousness of God. 

Only inside of God’s power system can the believer exhibit impersonal love for others.  Our strength to love another person comes from the integrity we develop from the study and application of God’s Word.  This is how human integrity is able to fulfill divine integrity.

God is the source of love and we take our precedence for loving others from Jesus Christ.  Only Christians can exhibit God’s love.  And only by knowing the doctrine of impersonal love can the believer apply the doctrine.  Impersonal love is how we regard others and often involves being tolerant of others despite their behavior, their personality or their beliefs, with our attitude being the same that Christ exhibited toward others.  The ultimate demonstration of impersonal love was Christ’s attitude on the Cross when He said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:24)

Understanding who God is and relying on His perfect character in both adversity and prosperity builds a foundation of confidence and inner peace.  The results are wise decisions and actions in every circumstance of life. This helps believers pass people testing.

The Attributes of God

  1. Sovereignty - God is the Supreme Being and the Supreme Ruler of the Universe.  He has absolute authority over all creation.
  2. Righteousness – God is perfect in His character and His person. He is perfect goodness.  His attributes and actions always conform to His perfect nature.
  3. Justice – God is always fair.  It is impossible for God to be unfair to any member of the human race.
  4. Love – God is constant and everlasting love. His love is far superior to human love and does not depend on emotion for its expression.  His love is unchanging, it never lessens nor does it vary in quality.  God’s love cannot be improved….it is perfect.
  5. Eternal Life – God has always existed.  There never was a time when God did not exist.  He has neither beginning nor end.
  6. Omniscience - God is all-knowing.  He knows all the knowable, both actual and possible.  His knowledge of events before they happen, however, does not mean that He interferes with human volition.  We are always free to choose for or against God and His grace. God is perfect wisdom.  From eternity past God knew every facet of our individual lives; our problems, our experiences, our relationships, our failures and our successes.
  7. Omnipotence - God is all-powerful.  His power is infinite and He is able to do all things consistent with His character.  He cannot violate His own nature.  God can do all He wills to do, but He may not will to do all that He can.
  8. Omnipresence - God is everywhere present.  He is not limited by time or space.  His entire essence is always present throughout the universe. 
  9. Immutability - God never changes.  God is consistent with His essence at all times.  He is absolute stability, therefore, His Word and His works cannot be altered.
  10. Veracity - God is absolute truth.  He is always true to His character.  He is the source of truth.  Therefore, His mandates, His words, His promises and His ways are true.