Today, as a part of this Body of Christ, I must stand and shout from the rooftop. I am a sinner, saved only by the grace of God, and God knows I have a long way to go! But I cannot be like the world and be like Jesus. It’s impossible. So, I am choosing to be like Jesus. Jesus walked where the Spirit led and spoke what the Father said. God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. So, here is what God says, not from me or through me, but through His Word.
“Thus saith the Lord ; Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the Lord’s house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: if so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent Me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings. And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord ; If ye will not hearken to Me, to walk in My law, which I have set before you, to hearken to the words of My servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened; then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.” Jeremiah 26:2-6
As believers, we are to be united in Truth. United, we are as a mighty city. Yet, parts of this city are on fire. As we see persecution worldwide, one can only ask, when will real persecution come home to us in the States? We have seen legislation turned upside down and against us, but just how hard might it become? God knows.
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” Matthew 5:11-14
One must come to the simple conclusion as the laws of this land are changing and every Christian – every last one – struggles with something and most are losing their battles with their struggles secretly, that the change in the land is because we have done little to nothing. So, what is it we are supposed to do about it? Could it possibly be we should change our living and let God lead for once? What do I mean? Well…
Are we living for Christ or are we living for ourselves? Are we humble, self sacrificing, yet bold, soldiers for Jesus or are we proudly like the world and self serving, Christians by name only? Perhaps each of us needs to look at our prayer life. How often do we pray? Do we only do so in the direst of situations or do we pray constantly about everything? Are we giving our lives to God to handle or are we telling God, “I’ve got this?”
Ladies and gentlemen, it boils down to this: are we following God’s commands?
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40
That’s as simple as it gets for us. Love God; love on others. But we must also follow Jesus, just as He commanded.
“Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19
Of course, He spoke that to Peter, John, Andrew, and James. But following Jesus still holds to us, as we’ll see. But how do we love others by following Christ? How did Christ ultimately love others?
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
And so He did. He gave up His life for us on the Cross of Calvary. That sacrificial Love reaches the ends of eternity. It encompasses all. It defeats our old man. It throws down the chains of our addictions. It cleanses us from our sins, past present, and future. It gives life everlasting, different and greater than any we could find in this world. We should be living that eternal life right now.
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
Christ gives us that abundance, and a blessed assurance, through what He did on the Cross. By living perfectly, dying on the Cross, and being resurrected from the dead, Jesus unlocked our spiritual life, freeing us. We should, therefore, serve Him. We should give up our worldly pursuits and chase after our Lord, church, not what we want for ourselves, but what God wants for us.
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:20
How do we do that? By defying the odds and denying the desires of our old man.
“If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it.” Luke 9:23-24
Taking up our cross is to lift up Jesus, and the Cross He bore. There is no other that compares. Our problems, our issues, our hurts, habits, and hangups are nothing in comparison. All of our “things” can be laid down at the foot of His Cross.
So, church, can we do that? Can we deny this world, worldly desires and living, sinful choices, and lift up Jesus in our lives? Can we be separate from those around us and live godly lives? Can our conversations acknowledge the Creator, Sustainer, and Savior of all things? I think we can. I believe it is possible. And not only that, I believe God wants us to stop playing church and actually be the church.
Persecution is coming. I don’t know what it will look like, I just know we can hold it off. We can push back against the darkness that approaches. We need to give up our worldliness and be righteous and holy, for God is righteous and holy. We need to live as the example and pray for others, loving all who we encounter, and even those we never meet. It can be done. The question is, will we do it? One way or the other, God’s will will be done.
So, stop playing church and be the church.