(The Faith Forum Series – Batch 4)
Sadly, for some people who have professed to know Christ, Christianity is about making a profession of Jesus with your lips and thereafter, only to make sure that you do the routine things, like attend services, pray, read the Bible and talk about him from the pulpit or in a Bible Study session or at a Women’s Meeting or at a Sunday School where children are taught what the Bible says but nothing else.
Such people know nothing about:
- TRULY TRYING TO LIVE LIFE DAILY TO PLEASE GOD,
- APPLYING HIS WORD TO EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE faced, like a magnifying glass, so as to derive wisdom as to what you should or should not do,
- Being aware of and SEEING THE VERY REAL SPIRITUAL BATTLE RAGING AROUND YOU, where you are being attacked and ENGAGING IN SPIRITUAL WARFARE with the weapons God has equipped his children to use,
- SEEING LIFE ONLY THROUGH GOD’S LENS and weighing and measuring everything and I mean everything you face, by the scale of God’s Word, clinging to the fact that the Word of God is the ultimate authority in ALL situations in life,
- EXERCISING DISCERNMENT and questioning any and everything that does not line up with the Word and being on the lookout and alert because you know that the devil is going around seeking who he can destroy,
- TRULY TRYING TO EMULATE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST by keenly studying his character and endeavouring, although you are merely human and are therefore flawed and will make mistakes, to be more and more like him, to act like him, to think like him, to value what he values and to discredit what he discredits,
- TRULY LOOKING FOR AND BEING ALERT TO SPONTANEOUS OPPORTUNITIES DAILY (outside of the Church walls) and in any place, at any time, before any person, to reach lost souls with the gospel as God’s humble servant and being open to the Spirit’s call in this endeavour, as was Philip, Peter and Paul,
- VALUING THE THINGS OF GOD AND THE WORK OF GOD TO BE GREATER, MORE SIGNIFICANT AND MORE URGENT, than the things of this world and the work of this world, the former of which, yields eternal returns and considering such WORK FOR GOD TO NOT BE A WASTE OF TIME that should be devoted elsewhere, on secular matters,
- SUFFERING BECAUSE YOU CHOSE TO STAND WITH CHRIST and the truth contained in His Word the Bible, a book that was not given to you just to read about and talk about but to LIVE OUT and PRACTISE, come what may.
Such people live a passive, ‘don’t ruffle any feather’ kind of life and call this Christianity and expect you to do the same. The idea of actually trying to be like Jesus is a foreign concept. For them, Christianity is just talking about him and giving kudos for how he lived, not trying to be the same!
They talk about God and Jesus but don’t ever get past seeing the Godhead as theoretical. They don’t really see God as real and actively working every day to exercise his rightful dominion, authority and control over and in the life of the Christian, for the Christian’s own good, that of others and his own glory. They don’t understand when you tell them, that you are not in control of your life but that Jesus reserves the right to dictate your steps and to tell you yes or to tell you no and that he actually does this from time to time.
Weighing a situation or a so-called ‘opportunity’ in the balance therefore, based on the facts and what God’s Word says, so as to know whether that ‘opportunity’ is really an opportunity or a trap being set by the devil to trip you up and get you to compromise is of no significance to them.
Trusting God to help you, when you feel like you can’t help yourself and honestly don’t know what to do, in a situation where you’re truly stuck is considered to be a waste of time.
Relying on God to give you strength, when due to tumult after tumult, you are weary is considered to be of no essence.
Seeking God before you act and actually expecting him to guide you as to his will for your life and believing that he actually has a will for your life which may not look like the norm or fit into the mold is considered to be madness.
Alas, suffering for the name of Christ is something that is talked about from a platform, about men of old, like Moses, Paul, Job and Joseph but deep down, such people do not expect any Christian, much less someone they consider as having no worth and no significance and to be a complete nobody or close, to be suffering in today’s world for the sake of his or her beliefs in Jesus Christ and because he or she has firmly refused, throughout the years, in the face of extreme pressure, to let go of pursuing after the things of Christ, come what may.
Such realities can be downright depressing, as you try to genuinely live for Christ. For, it is blatant contradiction at best! One thing is being said but something completely different is expected and practised in the day to day life.
Yet, in Luke 9:23, Jesus stated: “…If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
As you look on with eyes of discernment, alert and awake, you realize that many professers of Christianity today are in a state of spiritual slumber. They are blind to what is happening around them because they see everything through natural lens.
You realize that we are in a time when many manifest what I refer to as ‘cavalier christianity’, where anything goes, everybody who says they are Christian are embraced with no separation, no discernment and even where many of their doctrines and practices are fundamentally flawed.
Alas, not many are questioning anymore or weighing everything they come across by the yardstick of God’s Word.
This results in you feeling lonely, athough surrounded by professers of Christianity. You know that there are others like you in the world who in these times are serious and not casual about God’s Word, non-compromising, that love truth, weigh everything by his Word and that are excercising discernment but you realize that they are few.
This can make you feel discouraged because you realize that many professers of Christianity today, have embraced the way of the world are secularly minded are busy building their earthly empires and attending to their earthly affairs. They are not really heavenly minded although they say they are.
When you speak truth as supported by God’s Word or make a decision that is against your own comfort, that means that you might suffer ridicule, embarassment, insults and demotion in the esteem of man but which, nevertheless is founded upon biblical principles, they frown at you, thinking that something is wrong with you and that you are being too fussy or too insistent on holding on to God’s truth. When you expose the devil’s lies they say you are knit-picking and just being difficult. You just need to go with the flow and stop being so fussy. You should not try to even maintain the same level of faith and boldness as the men and women of old that are recorded in the scriptures had, as in their view, this is an impossible feat, so it makes no sense to even try. If you try, some of these professers of Christianity cast scorn on you and regard you as if you are crazy.
Indeed, it breaks our hearts and makes us sad when we see fundamental flaws and gaps between what people ‘claim’ they believe in and how they live their lives, what they practice, the mentalities and mindsets to which they faithfully and firmly subscribe and where they expect you, to tow that same line.
Yet, true Christianity is not about routine! True Christianity is about ruffling feathers! True Christianity is about standing with Christ even if your friends and those close to you turn against you!
True Christianity does not just acknowledge that Jesus is real and talk about his Lordship. Talk is cheap. True Christianity lives life with the Lordship of Jesus Christ in mind, each and every single day and invites him to be Lord over our words, thoughts, actions and decisions.
True Christianity realizes that Jesus reserves the right as Lord, to give us instructions to go wherever he sees fit or to do whatever he sees fit. When this does not fit into the mold of people’s expectations or the norm or what they want for us or how they feel we should live our lives and what we should or should not do and how we should pass our sojourning here and even when they are upset with us because we do not do as they say and live our lives according to their script, we still MUST obey God.
True Christianity expects and braces for suffering, even today because Jesus told us that we would have tribulation.
Never let the spirit of religion, religiosity and routine, deter or discourage you from serving the Lord, seeking his will and genuinely wanting to obey Him, even when it means that you find yourself in a pickle or the situation you face is not comfortable and people frown at you.
We are here to please God, not man. He is the one that created us, redeemed us and gave us purpose, not man. People have a tendency, even when they mean well, to want to dictate to you what you should do with your life and how you should live it and how you should spend each day but all that is of no essence if you are hearing God tell you to do otherwise. OBEY his voice and disregard all else. Walk in the path that HE wants you to take, not that man thinks you should.
It is to HIS voice that you must listen, even if it means that you must face ostracism, ridicule, criticism and condemnation in the eyes of man.
You may not have it all worked out and your future may be unknown but if you are truly seeking to do God’s will, over your will and that of the people around you, then you are on the right track. Your future is in the hands of the true and living God and he does NOT disappoint.
Apply the Word to every situation and don’t just give in to everything that looks like an opportunity for monetary reasons, man’s applause, peace on man’s terms, recognition, high esteem and your self-comfort. Trust God to get you to where HE has purposed for you to be.
Take up your cross daily and follow Jesus. This is the command. The road that he leads may be painful sometimes and even confusing in the moment but it is the right road, simply because He is leading.
Keep your eyes on the Lord and set your face as a flint. Never let anyone (and I mean anyone), deter or discourage you from truly trying to live out the Christian life in the way that pleases God and according to his truth as contained in the scriptures.
Make no apologies, stand firm in your faith and by the grace of almighty God, PRESS ON!
(Written on 12th March, 2021, added to thereafter)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be informative, edifying, beneficial or interesting, you may also be interested in reading the following:
- Note 11 – ‘Who Are Your Enemies?’
- Note 17 – ‘In Relationship With God Or Just Religious?’
- Note 22 – ‘Are You Spiritually Sober Or Intoxicated?’
- Note 25 – ‘Arm Yourself – Suffering Is Part Of The Christian’s Story’
- Note 29 – ‘Will You Walk Closely With God?’
- Note 30 – ‘The Price Tag Of Success’
- Note 32 – ‘Look At What ‘I’ Have Done!’
- Note 34 – ‘They’re Ashamed Of Me’
- Note 36 – ‘Faith In God vs Faith In Circumstances, People’s Opinions And Our Own Feelings’
- Note 37 ‘ ‘When God Calls Us To Separate Ourselves’
- Note 38 – ‘Blessings When We Refuse To Let Go’
- Note 46 – ‘Abraham’s Sacrifice’
- Note 70 – ‘The Pain I Felt In My Series Of Pit Experiences’
- Note 86 – ‘They Say I Can’t But By God’s Grace I Will’
- Note 90 – ‘Who I Am…In Jesus Christ’
- Note 99 – ‘Are You Serving The Real Jesus?’
- Note 100 – ‘Do You Have Imitation Faith Or Enduring Faith?’
- Note 114 – ‘Sitting Still’
- Note 130 – ‘The Paradoxical Principles To Successful Living – God’s Manual’
- Note 136 – ‘Money Is Not The Driving Force In My Life’
- Note 142 – ‘Are You Chasing After Success?’
- Note 161 – ‘Overcoming Oppression – Spiritual Warfare’
- Note 169 – ‘The Christian’s Mandate: Go’
- Note 170 – ‘We Are Soldiers’
- Note 277 – ‘A Dose Of Reality – Vance Havner Quotes’