Wednesday, January 18, 2023
The Times...Our Days
The Times...Our Days
by David Brenneman
God doesn't desire a half or a quarter of our hearts. Doesn't desire anything less than all. We all will give an account of our lives before Jesus one day. Believers as to what they did in their body for Christ while they yet lived which those things go towards a imperishable crown to give back to Jesus. The unbelieving too will have their lives reviewed by Jesus...but only to prove that none of their works without Christ that they had done will never be enough to grant them to be with Jesus forever.
The last part of this passage is a powerful one in Matthew 12:33-37 NASB about our words. "Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.".
I've heard it said growing up "It's better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." Yet today there's debate on who said it first. In Jesus's day He was speaking to the Pharisee's and Sadducee's when they were questioning Him.
The verse that we just read that has been getting an ever increasing amount of attention to my mind is: "But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment."
Every careless word. Everything you say about someone else off handedly. Everything you say intentionally. Jesus said "EVERY".
It's very self-convicting. It's very much self-indicting. Self-condemning. Pick one...we all do it. We can't take a drive in a car and not be tempted to blurt out something off-handedly about whomever is driving near us. We cannot go to a grocery store and have those thoughts about parents who care not that they are not actually parenting their child but act more like babysitters instead. They certainly are not aware of the passage that says "Bring them up in the way they should go and they will not depart from it." as it says in Proverbs.
Our careless words are easily caught in video's of men and women ripping apart others with their words during sporting events. Ouch.
Our careless words are easily caught in video's of men and women ripping apart others for social incidents, both good and bad. OUCH.
Our careless words are easily caught in video's of men and women ripping apart political figures.
Our careless words are easily caught in video's of men and women engaged in road rage.
We don't have to look far to find it. It's as close to us as our own lips.
Oh boy. In our day and age it's far far more of the crime than in ages past only because there's now about 11 million copies of our sinful behavior for all the world to see, not just our own memories of it.
Jesus said on this occasion and others of knowing people by their fruits. This isn't 'judging' it's making a 'judgement call'. I'm so tired of people wanting to jump onto the 'you shouldn't judge' soap box. Jesus was not wanting any to condemn others based on our literal own lack of evidence to do so. We do not know the whole story of others. We do not know what God knows of others. We do not know the hearts of others. Only God does. We are not God. God may be in us, but we are being TRANSFORMED into the likeness of the Son of God. We are a work in progress. We also will NOT be gaining all the attributes of God even when He does return and we get our glorified bodies. Many attributes of God will remain only with God.
When you sit down to watch a game. How well do you control your thoughts and words?
When you sit down and watch the news. How well do you control your thoughts and words?
When someone is wronging you...how well do you control your thoughts and words?
My Friend, my Dear Reader...it's NOT as easy as it looks. There's such a thing as being angry about what makes God angry. There's another that isn't of God that's what's wrong. We read of not letting the sun go down on our anger. That the anger of man does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. These and others are found in the New Testament.
We're to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and spirit. To love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus said that there are no greater commandments than these in the book of Mark chapter 12 the last part of verse 31.
If we're doing this...how are we able to watch our words? It's not easy but it's also a matter of the power of God by way of the Spirit of God. If we're setting our minds on things above, if we're taking every thought captive to the glory of God, if we're being intentional about taking up our own cross to follow Jesus...we see the power of God in us for the good that He has in mind for us.
Words either build up or they tear down. A very big no-no with Jesus is being lukewarm. He hates lukewarm. He's said much with just that in the book of Revelation. He will spit out any who are lukewarm. He would rather people be cold or hot. Read it.
"'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have no need of anything," and you do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked." Chapter 3 vs 15-17 NASB.
Jesus doesn't want Believers to 'just get by' in this world. Doesn't want those who only want to do just enough to stay under the radar. Doesn't want people trying to do the minimum in life before facing Him some day. Many in the professing Church are trying to do this. Many make an appearance at Church and aren't there for anything other than that. Many who had a very recognizable calling in Christ have veered away from it. Doing things that have the appearance of a calling but are not. We do not decide our calling in Christ Jesus. The Spirit does.
If you had a transcript of even your last 7 days played back for an audience, just how embarrassed would you be? I know I would be greatly embarrassed about me. I need, daily, to ask Jesus to forgive me for who I was like yesterday and ask Him to be better today. I need His Spirit to be at work in me as He sees fit, not as I see fit. Regardless of how I've been 'damaged' by the world. Regardless of how I have been hurt by others. In Christ I still have a job to do.
In our day...we must do more to consider our words than ever before. Satan's had centuries to figure out how to antagonize people to get the worst to come out of them. He laughs when we do it to ourselves without his help.
The times in which we live are leading up to the return of Christ Jesus. The day is oh so much closer to when we will indeed be giving that account of our lives.
Every man will be without excuse that stands before Jesus. There will be no adequate reason given by any for rejecting Jesus for salvation. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. Even at the near end of the book of Revelation, even Satan will do so.
The only place that doesn't believe in the truth of God concerning life is in this here and now. Everyone's theology is corrected at death. Either to those who now wake up in Hell or those who wake up in Heaven. I've possibly come a long way in controlling my thoughts and words. I still have a great deal to overcome in that regard.
Our holding onto our ways, our temper, our this or our that...can get in the way of a true and right intimate relationship with Jesus. With a thought or a word we can swiftly put ourselves on the throne of our hearts and not Jesus.
Every careless word...the enormity of that thought. In the book of James we read "from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, these things should not be this way.". Chapter 3 verse 10 NASB.
In 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 NASB "each one's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each one's work. If anyone's work which he has built on remains, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet only as through fire.".
You can go out into today doing better than yesterday.
You can go out into work to shopping to this or that doing better than yesterday.
You cannot change yesterday but you can change how you go into today.
You cannot do life apart from God. You cannot control your tongue or your thoughts apart from God.
The only being quick enough to take every thought captive is the Spirit of God. We must rely on Him.
We must learn to be a fruit tree that bears good fruit.
We must not give in to what the world calls 'fun' at times because it's literally in violation to the Word of God.
We must not give in to what the world loves because literally many things are twisted and perverted and are a violation of the Word of God.
Every careless word...wow. Our ability to utter careless words far out paces our ability to shut up.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB. To trust in the Lord with all your heart is GOING to mean saying no to things the world has to offer because we believe that the Lord has something better to offer in it's place. Our own understanding is finite and limited. The Lord's is infinite and knows all outcomes and possibilities. We only THINK we know what motivates people in front of us or of whom we watch...Jesus DOES know.
There's deep things of God to be had, to be learned, but we need to grow in Christ in order to see, hear, and understand them. We need to make a life in Christ more important than work or play. Even more important than even family. We easily compromise God's Word on account of family at times.
Making the most of every opportunity...means being proactive in approaching our days, considering what is coming and preparing for it as best we can both in thought and deed and in prayer. Pray up before going into the day. Pray on what's coming that YOU see because God sees the WHOLE picture not our snapshot. Pray through what you are going through. Ask God to shut your mouth when you shouldn't be saying something about someone else, regardless of the circumstances. It's certainly something I fight with daily. You and I want, in this microwave society, to see results immediately. God says...no...in my time...not yours. This can create impatience on our part and a temptation to jump ahead of God.
Think about your thoughts. Will they be kindling for that fire that will test them or will they stand up to the flame and survive to be part of that crown we give back to Jesus? In our times and our days we need to be very mindful of who's on the throne of our hearts. There's going to be no excuse for careless.