And if you salute your brethren only what do you more than the others? Do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5: 47, 48)
We do not obey Gods word in our conduct. If we only salute our friends, well, anybody does that. But if we love our enemies and salute strangers and those who will not salute us, then we are the children of our Father who is in heaven. Someone told me, When that person sees me, she turns her head away. It is a terrible thing. Such characteristics and actions are contrary to the Spirit of Christ. What a dreadful thing! Worshipping the same Father, but keeping hardness in the heart or some hard feeling! We must be very much aware of our imperfections. A true Christian sees his own imperfections first.
A world-famous violinist said, When I make a mistake even by the slightest misplacement of a finger on the strings and it produces a false note, even if my note is a little false, I know it. If I am out of practice for two days, then my family knows it and if I am out of practice for a little while more, the whole world knows it. When the whole world knows about your imperfections and yet you do not know about that, do not call yourself a Christian. It is simply ludicrous! You must know first where you have departed from the Spirit of Christ and that what you are doing is wrong. Your heart must know it first. Otherwise you will lose touch with God.
When there is a situation where others know about the wrong-doing and yet the preachers and leaders do not know about that, it is very serious. As a preacher, I must know my failure or wrong-doing first. I must humble myself first, and then only show the way to others. That is why the Bible does not speak so much of the sins of the people. It speaks of the sins of the kings first, the princes next, or the prophets. Yes, if you have taken care of that, you have taken care of everything. Then revival will spread and increase all around you. This is all that God taught me from my youth: Take care of your heart; do not worry about your public performance. That is immaterial. Take care of your heart first. That is all. I have always been doing that.
Be ye perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. You and I cannot say that we are perfect. There is a measure given thereas your Heavenly Father. So do not compare yourself with somebody else and say, I am fine, I am a good fellow and I am better than a lot of these other fellows, etc. What is the width of the Heavenly Fathers love? That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven, for he maketh the sun to rise on the evil and on the good and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust.
Gujarat is one of the most advanced industrial states of India. If you go to Bombay, you will find that people in Bombay do not like the Gujarathis. There is a lot of envy and business rivalry because the Gujarathis are the top industrialists. This is true of many parts of the world- greed, envy and rivalry come into full play where money is involved. God showered His blessings upon the people of Gujarat, but when He saw their stubborn refusal to acknowledge Him and their hatred towards the church, God gave them a little shaking. He has no pleasure in the death of a sinner. No, not at all. But when God sends His rain upon the just and the unjust, it shows the width of His love. He says, I will give them a chance.
So some of you who appear to prosper, do not imagine that it is a mark of Gods special favour. No, I do not think that prosperity is a mark of Gods great favour. If you bring suffering and overcoming real barriers into a mans life, his character gets purified. There will be a completely different quality in that mans life. I never got anything cheap. God never gives you more money than you can use for building His kingdom. I therefore always say, This is Gods money, let me be very careful in the use of it. So I can walk through a shopping area or through the alluring array in an airport, without desiring to buy anything. I can go to a city famous for its shopping and not even step into a shop. I have an overwhelming responsibility given to me by the Saviour to take care of Eternal souls.
When the big hall at our headquarters was built, we did not have the money for the foundation of even one column. Good! We did not ask for money from anybody. We lifted up our hands to the Heavenly Father and cried to Him for more faith. That is the way I have worked all these years- not with money in my pocket. Otherwise it is no work of God and it does not please God. When we contrive to build Gods kingdom with money and concrete and not with faith, it is impossible to please God.
If you do not acknowledge the Giver, you will be subject to His judgment. God would say, I gave you so much, but you gave nothing back to me; you did not love your neighbour, you did not send out missionaries, you just sat comfortably. God does not make a church a place of comfort. That is the modern concept of the church. But the church of Jesus Christ consists of people who have sacrificed, who have denied themselves, who bear the wounds and scars of persecution and spiritual warfare. Yes, such are the members of the Body of Christ.
Look at all the crosscurrents today- the drive for money and the unspeakable greed which is relentlessly whipping people to an early grave. People are made after degrees. They must have degree upon degree to get anywhere in life, they feel. Young people talk, think and plan money. They say, If I go there, I will get more money. All that utterance does not speak of the Heavenly Father. God simply does not figure in such thoughts or motivations. Somewhere you have got your eyes completely off Jesus. Money-ridden minds will never seek spiritual excellence or a closer walk with God.
On Sunday mornings we try to get back on focus. But the word of God will not stick in your heart when the desire to keep up with the world dominates your thinking. The filth of the television is allowed to flood your personality. Would you ever have the spirit of prayer while you hanker after shows and entertainment? Will the Word of God stick in your heart when you scarcely hunger or thirst for righteousness? Will your Heavenly Father appear attractive? No. The filth of the television and the cinema will allure you. When finally difficulties and problems arise, you focus only on those difficulties and cannot see the All-sufficient Saviour.
I find some people have such minds, that they cannot turn away from their problems. You have to look at your Heavenly Father. He is the Author of your Salvation and He is the Finisher. All of us are racing towards the finish-line. I do not know how we are going to fare at the finish-line. The finish-line is everything in a race. Everybodys eyes are on the finish-line. The entire ranking is by the finish line. What is the finish line? We should not leave this world groaning and moaning. We must leave this world with a roar of Hallelujahs. It would be terrible if we have to leave this earth whimpering like lost kittens. That is not the way to go. Doesnt an author desire to finish His work? Of course, the Lord wants to finish and perfect that which He has begun. I do not know why we digress so much. When I am traveling to a destination, I do not like to stop even for a cup of tea because five minutes will be gone. I must be at the meeting on time. Friends try to stop me and say, We have got this and that ready for you. Very often, I politely refuse and I go straight to the platform.
God gives us direction. If you and I are going to stop here and stop there, gaze here and look there, we will never cross that finish-line in triumph. It is part of our nature to dilly-dally. You have heard of the hare and the tortoise. The hare felt that it was time to take a nap because the tortoise was far behind. But what happened? Who hit the finish-line first? The tortoise. Some of you may appear as the tortoise, you are very disappointed that you are very slow. But it is good to be disappointed with ourselves. I know plenty of that. Yes, I have good reason for that too. When you come to the cross and look at the Lord Jesus and see in Him the perfect image of your Heavenly Father, you will say, Alas, I am not like Him. Oh, may God help us!
- Joshua Daniel