Friday, April 30, 2021
Can't Take the Strain?
Can't Take the Strain?
Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD. JOSHUA 24:23
As John and Debbie canoed down the Arkansas River, they decided to turn around and try rowing upstream for a while. It took about ten minutes for exhaustion to set in, and they gladly reversed course and let themselves be carried. The current of our culture is downward, and many people just drift along with the moral flow. Living for Christ is like rowing upstream. The entertainment industry churns out nonstop programs and movies designed to convert us to secular thinking. Take romance and marriage, for example. If a visitor from space watched an evening of television, he’d think premarital sex was the greatest discovery in history. He would see divorce, cohabitation, same-sex marriage, and immodesty portrayed as glamorous and glorious. Yet the Bible says, “Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people” (Ephesians 5:3 NIV). We can’t escape our culture, but we don’t have to be shaped by it. We have to paddle against the current. How long can we stay at the oars? The Lord strengthens those who obey Him. Trust Him to row against the flow. - Dr. David Jeremiah Morning and Evening
It's not going to be easy to live differently in a world that sees those who choose Christ as the enemy. What they say may not be in those words but the sentiment is certainly there. Christ said that the world would hate us on account of our relationship with Jesus.
We cannot expect unbelievers to understand the ways of God. Scripture says that it is foreign to them and they cannot understand. So how do they?
How do you find your way in a dark place? Three things at least happen. One, you stand and do nothing. Two you fumble around trying carefully to memorize where things are in your head. Lastly, there is the most effective. Turn on or create some kind of light.
An idea is often thought of as a light bulb that is turned on. So is the revelation of someone's thinking when something happens and they stop rejecting the light of Christ. I personally have never met anyone who doesn't squint in pain at adjusting from severe darkness to a bright light. You can likely find several million teenagers who will verbally confirm that thought on any given morning for to get up for school. They bemoan the light and want to go back to sleep.
Being different in this world takes a lot of time, energy and effort. To be Disciples of Christ the huge volume of people who first started following Jesus thought it not so bad. Then He turned up the volume on the teaching and the need for more than outwardly obedience. The number began to dwindle. In their eyes it wasn't so much fun anymore. Then there was 70. Then later we see the 12. Sadly we see the one who, although he experienced over 3 years of the light of Christ, still chose to obey Satan. There's going to be people in your life that will do the same.
Being different for me has been a way of life in more than my walk with Jesus. I have been different from birth. In my rearview mirror examination of my life, for whatever reason, I have been set apart for what plans God has had for me.
In your life, God can show you just how unique you are in His eyes. Jesus loves all of us uniquely and at same time the same. He knows our strength and our struggles. He knows when we are straining against the oars of life. He knows when it's safe to relax and when to put more effort into it.
Being different in this world is what happens when you are in the light of Christ and can see for the first time what it is that's really happening in your world. You see things not necessarily differently than the world but you acknowledge those things. The world is in denial. They may flock together but it will never make them right in the eyes of God. The Scriptures are replete with examples of people from individuals to armys the size of the sand on the seashore opposing the Will and Word of God. To no avail. God's Word will stand. Our suffering may be but a moment but the joy of the Lord lasts forever.
We may be groaning at the choices and decisions we made or the ones we see loved ones or friends make. We may really be grieved because of what the Spirit is really seeing in them more than our own sadness at what we see. We really don't want anyone to go to Hell. But we cannot force them to open their eyes and hearts to Jesus. It's horrible to know the pain of seeing people who have given up hope. Oh it's not exclusive to the unbeliever, it's happened and is happening to believers too. I have been through it before. God's kept His promise to never leave me or forsake me. He's loved me too much to leave me feeling that way. He can do that for you too.
Another great issue in all this is when the world talks the Church into rewriting what God's said in order to offend less people.
You won't do anyone any favors by lessening the value of the Word of God.
You will bring upon yourself the discipline of God to teach you not to do that.
Prayer is what this comes back around to.
When the strain gets to be a bit much, prayer is our telling ourselves that we still do need our Savior to handle things. We will still fight that until we get a glorified body and are with Christ forever.
Praying when we feel like it or not is essential. When we feel unworthy or when we do. Unbelievers can never experience the hope in Christ until they are willing to open their eyes. We can live lives that should Him to them but they have to be willing.
It's been rough going through some of the things that God is taking me through. I can't see the other side. That side when I see the worst part being behind me. Prayer is where I go every morning and often throughout the day. I have to keep my hope where hope dwells...in Christ.