Friends, do you believe we are living in a time when obedience to Christ is considered unattractive, unpopular, foolish, and dangerous?
I contend that it is often the blinding behavior of some believers that is more unattractive, foolish, and unwise. It is when they act without remembering that their behavior should first be motivated by the love of Christ and then in response with obedience to Him that things often go awry. It is unfortunate. Fear of the future, worry over this-that-and-the-other-thing, and so on and so on are intent on suffocating the hope and assurance we have in Christ.
Tragically, some believers are more interested in their self-preservation. The safety and well-being of their families and the continuance of a comfortable-don’t-rock-the-boat lifestyle are deemed more valuable than seeing a lost and distrusting world be won for Christ.
Sorry, Friends. I know this blog is dedicated to encouraging Believers in their walk with Jesus Christ. And it is – wholeheartedly!
I believe we need to be encouraged and exhorted to hold fast to Christ – no matter what we fear about the future! We need to stop shouting about our fears and start dropping to our knees in faith and trust!
Less Shouting and More Praying! Who’s with me?
I’m nearly finished with my saint word study. Other than the book of Psalms, Revelation has shared the most with me about what it means to be a saint in Christ. If you’ve been following along, a saint is a Believer and Disciple of Christ. No canonization. No title. No ceremony. No big hoopla. A saint is one who devotes his life to Jesus, loves Him and radiates that love in his day to day life with those in his sphere of influence.
A saint’s life is attached to and enjoined with Christ.
This means that a saint in not attached to this world.
Unfortunately, there are huge, enticing movements that wage battle within the heart, mind and soul for our loyalties and conviction of faith which lead to compromise.
One infiltrating thought that some believers have embraced is that blessing upon blessing follow those who obey God on earth. The prosperity impetus holds that health, well-being, financial blessing and happiness is the will of God. Over time, whether Believers will admit that this deceit has penetrated their hearts and ultimately their decisions or not, the materialism, self-focus, and safety and security talk in the Christian church is prevalent. When we are more concerned about ourselves than we are about others, our attachment to Christ is visibly weak.
Another form of deceit is that as long as believers are ‘working for and living for Christ,’ they deserve His blessings. I can’t tell you how much I observe this behavior in my missionary world. It’s disheartening. No one is deserving of anything if they serve Christ. Our service to Christ is for His honor and glory – not kickbacks.
If some one doesn’t want to ‘stick out’ in the world, believing obedience to Christ is unpopular and foolish, they will look no different than any other unbeliever. Their self deceit is thinking that they look good on the outside. What is the point of following Christ if one doesn’t want to follow?
I could list even more aspects of deceit that believers surrender themselves to, but I’ll end my list with the most debilitating act of deception of all, and that is fear. Fear isolates. Fear paralyzes. Fear steals. Fear attacks. Fear denies. Fear hates.
When a believer allows himself to be attached to fear, then, my friends, his faith walk is hindered and ultimately left to ruin. Instead of standing firm, fearful people do one of two things – shout and demand or run and hide. And when these behaviors are observed by the unbelieving world, our faith shows absolutely no conviction or strength. We have lost credibility.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t have to be materialistic, self-centered, or fearful.
As saints in Christ, we are called and emboldened by the courage and strength of His Name.
He who has an ear, let him hear:
If anyone is to go into captivity,
Into captivity, he will go.
If anyone is killed by the sword,
With the sword, he will be killed.
This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints. New International Version, Revelation 13: 9 – 10
Another saint verse:
This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. New International Version, Revelation 14:12
The patient endurance or perseverance that is required of a saint is to remain and hold fast to one’s faith in Christ. There is steadfastness, constancy, and deliberation to bear bravely and calmly whatever happens in life. A saint will not flee from difficulty. A saint will not cower in fear. A saint will not shout or demand things for themselves at the expense of others.
A saint understands that a spiritual battle is at hand and warriors are needed to stand in Christ’s name and in His honor.
A saint will attach himself to Christ and seek His will in love, in grace, in truth, in mercy, and with conviction and patience. And yes, obedience.
For a saint is not looking to the present, nor is he looking to the past for what he needs in this world. No. A saint’s sights are on the future when Jesus Christ will return and the new heaven and the new earth will be birthed and realized!
Are you a Believer in Christ?
Are you a Saint – attached to Him – come what may?
Do you struggle with materialism, self-centered tendencies or fear?
I’ll be honest. I do, at times.
But, I do not want any of these things to define me or prevent me from living wholeheartedly for Christ – patiently enduring the ways of this world, obeying my God and His commandments, and remaining faithful to Jesus Christ.
I’m not going to shout at others. I won’t demand my way. I won’t live like I deserve only what is good because I am owed….ugh. And I refuse to cower in fear!
No. I want to live like a saint. I want others to see that I love and adore Christ and that His hope and love empower me.
If I don’t make this effort, then what will this world see? Just another compromised Christian.
Friends, the time has come for us to either put up or shut up in our faith walk in Christ. It’s time to take our stand.
Are we saints or not?