A Call to Action
Each time I try to write this message, it never seems to come out right. Maybe it's because I know it's something a lot of people won't want to hear. Maybe it's because I know some will have their canned responses at the ready, refusing to take even a moment to consider the message. Or maybe it's because I know some will find it to be too offensive and will turn away without thought. Regardless of the reason, sometimes there is no better way to say it other than to just say it.
It's nothing new or unusual, but Christians today are under attack. The enemy is at our front door seeking to destroy us and we can all see it happening. Actually, the enemy isn't only at our front door, they're at our back door, our side door, our garage door, that little door by the breakfast nook, attempting to pry open windows, and probably even trying to slide down the chimney like Santa Claus.
As I said, this is nothing new; the Church has been under assault since the time of Christ. Fortunately, we can be assured that the plans of the enemy will never prevail against God's plans -- hallelujah! Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that we will never go through any rough times. And regrettably, it doesn't mean that we as a Church are always doing the right things.
In fact, I dare say, there are some very glaring issues that the Church needs to deal with before we learn a very hard lesson. And in my opinion, this is probably the most notable of these which need to be addressed.
Church, we have to stop fighting amongst ourselves. We have to stop fighting tooth and nail over doctrinal and denominational differences. We have to stop believing that God is against those who disagree with us, and that He waits in the wings to exact revenge on our opposition. We have to stop being so rigid, so dogmatic, and so rule oriented that even the Lord Himself would have a hard time being accepted into our circles. And we have to stop making enemies of not only non-christians, but of our own brothers and sisters simply because they believe a little differently than we do. The enemy seeks to destroy us, and we are beating them to it by destroying ourselves from the inside out.
It's sad to say, but some of us have so thoroughly missed the mark. The Bible was never intended to be the instrument of shame, condemnation, and coercion some have made it. It wasn't written to give us license to lord over others no matter what scripture we use to justify our actions. And it wasn't written to be a weapon to jab at the unsaved, or to wound our brothers and sisters, and do so all in the name of righteousness. What kind of righteousness is that?
The Bible was written, first and foremost, for each one of us as individuals, that we might turn it inward, learning the lessons it teaches and applying them to our life to the best of our ability. The Bible was written to bring people out of shame and condemnation, not to give them more of it. And the Bible was intended to give people freedom, liberty, and grace. (Luke 4:18-21) No, not grace run amuck as some seem to interpret grace, but grace that covers our failings and allows us passage into righteousness. (John 8:34)
Nevertheless, there are those among us who bask in God's grace, unaware of their faults, their failings, and the dark things that dwell in their heart -- all of which the Lord has so generously and graciously overlooked. Then they slam the door shut behind them by plying others with all kinds of conditions they must meet in order to be acceptable to God. Is this even close to what Jesus did?
The Lord, who is our example, loved each and every one of us before we even knew of Him. So much so, He couldn't possibly love us any more, even after receiving Him as our Lord and Savior. So if the Lord can extend grace and love even to the unsaved and the unlovable, then what is our excuse for not extending it to our own brothers and sisters in Christ?
As it says in the word... "If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing." (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV) And so it is with us. We may have all the right answers, but if we don't have God's love in us, our efforts, however well-meaning they may be, are useless. We need to learn how to do the former while not leaving the latter undone.
I can't imagine there is even a single one among us who truly enjoys living under such heavy burdens, but it will continue until we as individuals decide to change it. No, not by witch hunts and policing each other all the more, but by allowing God be God in our lives.
The fact is, many of us have gotten off track, and we have done so even in doing our best to be pleasing to the Lord. Nevertheless, many of us don't see it. It is an unfortunate truth that we as fallible human beings are blinded to the depths and the greatness of God and His word. Regardless of how much we may see, there is always more to behold. It is this blindness that hinders us and keeps us from seeing the whole of God's word as well as balancing it in the proper way and in its proper context. It is also this blindness that keeps us from recognizing many of our own faults and failings. However, God sees. He knows each one of us inside and out, and He desires for each of us to be the epitome of Christ on earth.
This is why I am issuing a challenge to each and every Christian within the sound of my voice; a challenge to anyone who believes themselves to be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a child of the Most High God. I challenge each of us to earnestly, and without reservation, ask the Lord to search your heart and show you whether or not your actions are in keeping with His. Ask Him if there is anything you are not seeing, anything you are not understanding, and anything you should change. Not asking only once or twice, but pursuing God, asking again and again until you receive an answer.
As I said, many of us have gotten off track, and the only real way to get back on track is true and honest pursuit of God, His truth, and His ways. We need this. The enemy is at our door seeking to destroy us, and we are unprepared. Each and every one of us have prayed many times over, "Father, make my life better," but it's time for us to pray "Father, make me better," and then let God be God in our life -- a very simple task for children of the Most High God.
If you liked this message, then I'd like to ask you to please consider contributing to the work God has called me to do by giving a financial gift. Your support is vital in helping the message of "Freedom in Christ" go forth, bringing liberty to all. (Galatians 5:1
) The Lord has made us to lean upon one another, and in doing so, together we are strengthened. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
) So take all that I have freely offered, but then, consider giving back, as this is what the Lord would have us do. Click the "Gifts
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May God bless you richly!