When I was in college, I was really struck with the thought…. If we truly believe who God is and what He has done is our life (redeemed us from the pit and gave us NEW LIFE), our lives would be radically different!! Over the past few years the Lord has really made me uncomfortable with the way our “Christian society” lives out (or doesn’t live out) our faith in Christ. Seriously, do most believers' lives and everyday actions really reflect the image of God, the life Christ displayed before us and the life He calls us to? Does my life? David Platt’s book, Radical, really resonated with me and so much of what the Lord had been placing on my heart! I am so thankful, encouraged and challenged for his boldness and clarity in waking up believers from living a “Christian spin on the American dream”!
Our society tends to listen only to the comfortable parts of scripture and misses out of the commands that involve sacrifice of our self-centered lives. These commands also open our eyes to the heart of God, and reveal the people and things that God cares about in this world.
In Matthew 6, the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks to his disciples on giving to the poor (verses 1-4). Jesus makes clear that man cannot serve God and money, he will be devoted to one and despise the other (verses 19-24). Jesus also exhorts believers not to be like the pagans, who worry about what they eat, drink and wear (verses 31-32). Many professing Christian cling to only one verse in that entire chapter, 6:33. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well”. I am very thankful for God’s provision, and we should remember that God will give us the things we need for life and godliness. Too often we fail to take into account that there is a difference between God giving us what we “need” versus everything we “want” and desire in this world. God providing for our needs does not mean that He will give us all of our wordly desires and possessions… the possessions that usually that usually draw our time, attention, and affections away from Himself.
Let us keep in mind that God has called us to a life that is bigger than ourselves. We are not on this world merely for our own personal enjoyment and delight. Of course, enjoying God and loving Him is our highest delight! Let us not overlook this truth, God has created us for His glory and has created us to be vessels that spread his Name and Glory to the ends of the earth (Matt. 28). Scripture also reveals that “religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)
If we are polluted and corrupted by the desires and pleasures of this world, not only will we be unable to answer this call to demonstrate Christ to the world… but we will not even hear the call. Is you life so full of wordly distractions, possessions, and debt, that you cannot even consider following Christ's commands that involve giving to the poor, looking after the fatherless and widows, or spreading the Gospel to the all the nations? God tells us to “keep oneself from being polluted from the things of this world”, so we can hear and obey HIM! (James 1:27) A life of obedience to our loving Father is a very blessed life indeed!
I have so much more I want to say, but that will be for another day and another blog. Let me end with this passage from Isaiah 48:17-18 that we studied this week in Bible Study Fellowship.
“This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea’.”