This is gonna be a long one, and it’s not politically correct.
The term “Christian” means nothing anymore. Anyone and everyone is a Christian. You know…you’ve met them…
“I’m a Christian because I go to church.”
“I’m a Christian because my mom is a Christian.”
“I’m a Christian because I volunteer at the soup kitchen.”
“I’m a Christian because I’m a good person.”
“I’m a Christian because…..”
Except you’re not. Those things don’t make you a Christian…not even close. Those things mean nothing when you die and come face to face with the Lord. When He looks at you and says, “I knew you not,” you might be a little bewildered…you’ll say, “But..but…but! God! I went to church on Christmas and Easter!” Then God says, “Yeah…so? What about living for me every other day of the year? What about falling on your face and repenting of your sins? What about living your life according to MY will and not YOUR will? What about following the Word I left with you? What about recognizing the ultimate sacrifice I paid…my SON paid to cleanse you of your sins? What about all that?” “I don’t know God…I didn’t know….” “Yeah…you did. You chose you over Me. Now, for all eternity you will burn in the lake of fire…wishing for death, but you will never die.”
It’s a narrow gate and hard path to righteousness…….few will make it.
It’s a wide gate and easy path to destruction……many will take it.
“The one who who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven is the one who does the Lord’s will.” Matthew 7:21
That doesn’t mean my will or your will or their will…no…God’s will, and His alone!
This past week has been one of sorrow and sickness. My body just wouldn’t do that which I needed to do, and in true Lori fashion I began to get discouraged. BUT…God wasn’t about to let the time I spent recovering go to waste…nope. Instead the Holy Spirit began to work in my heart. Complacency was my game, but it was time for something new.
Thanks to modern technology I have had the privilege of listening to sermons on-line. So I have spent any spare time, and last week I had an abundance of it, listening to Vodie Baucham, John Piper, and Francis Chan. The one thing these men all have in common…they LOVE Jesus. Not a little bit…not sorta…but they are seriously sold-out for Christ. God used them to open my eyes to my complacency with mediocrity. I mean…I’m here in Africa thinking…I’m sold-out for Jesus…look what “I” did! “I” moved all the way to Africa to teach these kids…I’m doing my part. I’m an awesome Christian.
Crap. Complete crap.
I did it with a begrudging attitude. All I’ve done since being here, and really leading up to here, was moan and complain about how I had to lay down my dreams and desires to serve the Lord. How I have to leave my family behind. How I probably will never get married. How I’ll never sing classical music. How I’ll never get to go to graduate school. How I”ll never…I’ll never….blah…blah…blah….
Who cares about any of that when there are people all over the world who are dead in their sin and are going to go to hell! WHO CARES?!? Who cares what clothes I wear. Who cares what car I drive. Who cares who my boyfriend is. Who cares how my hair looks. Who cares if I’m considered beautiful according to the world’s RIDICULOUS standards. WHO CARES!?
I…get this…I am responsible for telling anyone and everyone about the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ. If I don’t…their blood is on my hands. I have to do anything and everything to assure that I put the responsibility back on them to make the choice. Now…this isn’t about absolving myself of responsibility…no…it’s about recognizing that I have a responsibility! We all do…those who can honestly say they are Christ Followers…yeah…we have a responsibility. Lots of responsibility. It’s time we started to recognize the seriousness of what it means to follow Christ.
It’s not something you do when you feel like it. It’s not something you do when it’s convenient…the gate is narrow and the path is HARD!!!! Few WILL make it! Not all…not most…FEW!!! There aren’t lots of paths to righteousness…ONLY ONE!!! And it’s HARD!
No more bubble gum Christianity. No. Christianity doesn’t make you feel good. It doesn’t make your life easier. It doesn’t help you get that job you covet or the car you covet or the girl you are lusting for…nope. God isn’t your good luck charm, and He certainly could care less for what your fleshly fickle heart wants. Nope. God has an agenda. His agenda. Not our agenda.
If the whole world got together and declared in a unified voice, “GOD! We think that your ten commandments are just too hard to follow…we think you should get rid of one!” Is He gonna? IS HE? No! Why? Because He doesn’t care about what we WANT…He cares about where our soul will spend eternity! He does care about us…and our lives on Earth. He does care about our hurts and sorrows…but do you honestly think God grieves for us when we grieve the breakup of a bad relationship with someone who doesn’t know Him? No. I don’t think so…instead He grieves for our hearts that we ran from Him and spent time away from Him while in this bad relationship. That’s what He grieves. He grieves the time we wasted when we could have been following HIM! That’s what He grieves.
So many people today say, “oh God spoke to me today.” Really? How? “You know…He talked to me when I was watching that movie, or He talked to me today when I was talking to Pastor SoandSo.”
Uhhh..you mean God gave you some kind of revelation other than the bible? Cause the last time I checked the only words God speaks to us come from His written Word. God may use others to give us encouragement or confirmation for something we have already spoken to Him about in the Word…but He doesn’t “talk” directly to people in a fuzzy feeling sorta way…no…that’s just gas. I promise.
The Holy Spirit is what is in us. It convicts us. It moves us to seek something more, but God talks to us through His written Word. Period. Done. Nothing more…nothing less. So when you hear Joel Osteen say that God spoke directly to him as he was sitting on his front porch looking out over the setting sun….unless Joel had his B-I-B-L-E in his hand I call BS! By the way…since we’re on the subject of Joel Osteen….
If you’re looking for something to make you feel good about living in your sin…or your looking for something to make you feel good in general…then you’re not looking for Jesus. Joel Osteen doesn’t preach Jesus…Joel Osteen preaches fuzzy feelings. Why do I bring this up? Because it’s time we start speaking truth, and time we stop allowing the world to tell us that the Bible is outdated.
“12Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. 13I am the Alpha and the Omga, the first and the last, the beginning and then end. 14Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. 15Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”
The world tells us over and over that the words that God spoke in regards to how we are to live our life are “outdated” and “ridiculous”. Just the other day I read an article talking about how the number of HIV cases, globally, has reduced. I don’t really believe it, but the article talks about how the use of condoms among homosexual men are the reason why the number of HIV cases among homosexual men have decreased. I made the mistake, at least I thought it was a mistake at the time, of commenting that if we, society, would just refrain from sexual activity until marriage that sexually transmitted diseases would not be a problem.
Ahhh…then came the replies to my comment. Things like: “That’s stupid..I mean…what if you wait until marriage but then you find out that your wife is bad in bed!” or “That’s so ridiculous…only a bible thumper would believe such an outdated thing!”
Let’s reference the above passage from Revelation…God says that Jesus will return, and He will set the record straight. When, not if, when He returns all will know the power of Jesus. All will know the errors of their ways. All will know….and in some ways…Christians who stood for what was right…Christians who were persecuted for standing for Christ will be vindicated. We will. Our suffering is for naught. Our persecution is for naught.
We don’t stand for Christ for future vindication, which is gonna be awesome, no…we stand for Christ because to stand for anything else would be a total waste of my time. “Total waste of my life!” to quote a former boss.
Judgment day WILL come. Christ WILL return. We WILL stand before God, and can you confidently say that HE will say, “Welcome, good and faithful servant.” Don’t you want to hear those words?!?! I do!!!
There’s only one way for you to hear those words, and it has NOTHING to do with how “good of a person” you are or how often you went to church. Nope. Those things are the way of the wide road.
You want to hear those words you have to travel the narrow road through the narrow gate.
How do you get on this road or path? You follow Christ. How do you follow Christ? Ahh…for that we look to Luke 9:23-27
23And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”
“for whoever is ashamed of me and my WORDS, of him the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory…” Get that…whoever is ashamed of God and what God says…any part of it…God will be ashamed of him. So, if your reading your bible and you hit a passage that perhaps doesn’t sit well with you…you can’t just toss it! You can’t just claim that it’s outdated now because “times of changed”. You can’t ignore what it says! For if you do you are ashamed of your God, and I would be so bold as to say if you are ashamed of your God then you don’t know God. Not really. For if you knew God you would know of His abundant goodness…and you would not dare to be ashamed of Him because the world tells you it’s not popular to believe in EVERY SINGLE WORD written.
So what’s the cost? Let’s keep reading in Luke 9:57-62
“57As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
What does that mean?
- The Son of Man had no home…so for me, I will not have a home.
- The dead bury the dead…so for me, I cannot dwell on the past.
- No one who looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God…so for me, I cannot look at what I’ve left behind; those I’ve left behind.
So…what does this all mean!?
It means, for me, I will be living my life for Jesus. Every moment of every day. I have lived enough of it complacently going through the motions. Even when I made the decision to come to Africa…I was just going through the motions. Holding onto everything I could because I was afraid to let it all go for Him.
But, what is more important? A relationship with someone, or a relationship with Jesus? A comfortable life with a beautiful home, or sweating it out in a hut while telling others of His goodness so they might know of His mercies as well? A fancy car, or eternal salvation?
Here’s where you might say, “but Lori…why shouldn’t I have a nice shiny car?” My answer would be, “Did Jesus have need of a shiny car?” “But Lori…I travel a lot for my job, so I need a fancy car.” “Jesus traveled a lot for His job too…no fancy car.” “But Lori….”…dude…I could go on!
We live in a society that spews this garbage at us constantly telling us we need more of this and nicer of this…but really….do we? DO WE?
You will never have enough until you find your satisfaction in Jesus.
We don’t invite Jesus into our lives…Jesus invites us into His life. We don’t invite Jesus into our homes…Jesus invites us into His home. We don’t invite Jesus into our church service or our bible study or our music rehearsal…no….Jesus invites us to come to church to come to bible study to come to rehearsals. He’s already there…it’s His party. Not ours. (Thanks Francis Chan)
I write all this because the Holy Spirit has been convicting me in a HUGE way as of late. I’m here in Africa. I’m serving Him, sorta, but I’m still at home. I’m still stuck in Houston. I can’t. I can’t be there anymore. I love my family and my friends…but I can’t look back. I have to let it all go, and I have to fix my eyes on Him and what He desires me to be doing: loving the people here.
The future? I don’t know. I’m investigating mission organizations.
I’m ready. This is my life. Serving Him. I know the cost. I know the path is hard. I know the gate is narrow….but I’m ready. I want to hear God say, “Well done.” I so desperately want to hear Him say those words to me. That’s what we should all want, no?
My life is not my own. I’m out of the equation now…it’s all God. That’s it.