Sunday, February 5, 2023
by David Brenneman
We certainly live in a world that strives to push for separation between what we believe and the rest of living life.
The world doesn't want Christianity anywhere because it testifies to it's deeds that they are in darkness. It's not so with other religions because they are already in the darkness. Everyone from individuals to companies either embrace or reject having beliefs on display for the world to see. In some countries it's a certified death sentence to reveal that you are a Christ follower. The other end of that spectrum are those who could care less.
What's interesting to note is that nowhere in the Bible are we to live different lives based on where we are. Everywhere the Disciples went they were to represent their Master. When with Jesus, their Master, they were taught to represent Him. Jesus never taught them to go do their own thing when on 'their own time'. At all times they were to be Disciples of Christ. Later, they would at all times, be Apostles of Christ.
When we read in the book of Revelation there's only two groups that Jesus comes up with. Those who were true believers and those who were not. There's no sub-groups. There's no special groups, certainly no in-between groups. Jesus had John write earlier in the book that He hated lukewarmness. That He would spit such out.
Today's reading that I found myself in had to do with Jesus calling out the Pharisee's for who they were...which likely upset more than a few. For all we know it's what helped spark that fire in Saul to be the way he was before his conversion that we read about in the book of Acts.
I've never laid claim to any of these writings being of me or my own creation. As I'm prompted, that's what gets typed. I am certainly more amazed at the end result than perhaps anyone who's reading them when completed. I've no idea if this is how writers of the Bible felt or not. Will be interesting to compare notes on it some day in Heaven. I can say that it's been through my walk with my Savior, Jesus Christ, that quite often He gives me some unique insights that I certainly never would have seen on my own. Both into His Word, and into other people and situations. All credit goes to Jesus if anyone finds anything written here of help to them.
There's no separation to be had in our lives for living out life. There shouldn't be times or places in our lives that are 'off limits' to the truth of God's Word with respect to those things. We shouldn't have parts of our lives that are off limits to the Spirit. We shouldn't consider work and home life as separate. In God's eyes they are not. Joseph was the same Joseph whether he was with his family or with those he was sold into slavery to serve. What does the Bible say throughout his experiences? The Lord was with him. Why? Because Joseph remained the same before the Lord regardless of his circumstances. Joseph didn't think for a moment that he was on his own or that he could live or be different between his personal time and his public time. The Lord was with him because he lived life in the way that pleased the Lord.
Our world indeed, very similarly to a graphic I read today about the United States, wants the benefits of Christianity but not the responsiblity of it. Both companies and people do. Companies want to be known as Christian based companies yet do not follow through with honoring God in all their their practices. Just some...enough to be seen as doing something along those lines. People do the same individually. They want to be seen as being a Christian but go out and live lives that aren't truly reflecting a relationship with Jesus. Can't have it both ways. When we try that, we introduce idolatry. Really read what Moses was told to write and teach the children of Israel. They were told to write them down and keep them with them as they went out and lived life. When in doubt, stop and read what was hanging around their necks. Go back to what the Lord had said to do in this situation or that.
In my study here, as I write this, I look at what I've been prompted to do with this area. It's a growing collection of reminders of God's Word. I have a huge poster of all the names of Jesus and the places in the Bible they are found. I have a plaque that I made with Philippians 4:13 on it. Another that refers to the passage about setting your mind on things above. Another that I wrote out of Psalm 143:8-12. One large one that just simply says "Pray". Still one more that's something that my Wife wrote on a note to me saying "I love you!". A recent addition is "Be strong & courageous do not be terrified do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go".
In all the teachings of Jesus I cannot at all find one that says to live life with a candle burning at both ends.
In all the teachings of Jesus I cannot at all find one that says to live a life of self or selfishness.
In all the teachings of Jesus I CAN find many that say to not do many things that give God a bad name.
Many, in their desire to utilize God's Name, yet do not live it out, find that it doesn't work that way.
There's no separation in our lives that should exist. Not from home and work, not at home either between us and others in the household. Not in our time to be spent not on even our eating or leisure. When we give God our seconds rather than our firsts in life, we will live out what's said in Malachi. A purse full of holes.
We will indeed keep striving after things that cannot ever sustain us or fulfill us. We will keep on doing yet never having enough to get things done. When the children of Israel WERE indeed obeying...we read of how the Lord rebuked the devourer....their clothing, their shoes, the things that they had didn't wear out.
We miss out on blessings when we try to live a life of self...even if we have convinced ourselves that we're doing it for God! Read what the people tried to tell Jesus after He separated people in the book fo Revelation. They claimed to have done many many things in Jesus's name...and what did He say in response? Depart from Me for I never knew you.
Part of living, a very large part, if not really the whole part, of living the Christian life, is to live it wholly in service and obedience to Jesus in everything.
Work, as well as leisure is all a part of our lives that are to be lived in obedience to the Word of God. We are not on this world to live for ourselves. We are not here to indulge in all our own selfish desires. We read that as being the FIRST group of people we're warned of in the end times...people being lovers of self.
Look at your life...look at how you spend it. What you're doing with it. Are you trying to live life differently out in public from what you do by yourself?
Are you wanting the benefits of being a Christian yet aren't living it out? Are you honestly treating God like your personal genie?
There is no separation to be had or should be sought in life. From the moment our eyes open till the end of the day when they close in sleep, we're to live lives pleasing to God in all respects. All. Taking up our cross and following Jesus...He never once said to set it down when we felt like it.
Self examination should be done now, before we stand before Jesus. If you are finding that you have been trying to live separate lives...now's the time to put a stop to that. We're to do all that we do to the glory of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you? Do you use such lines in your mouth or mind that go along the lines of "But God wants me to enjoy....". Really? Are you sure? Did you compare those thoughts with what God's Word has to say? Certainly God does want us to enjoy His creation. Through the lense of obedience to His Word.
"All things are permitted for me, but not all things are of benefit. All things are permitted for me, but I will not be mastered by anything." 1 Corinthians 6:12 NASB.
"We are destroying argruments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB.
"Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning. For I trust in You. Teach me the way in which I should walk; for to You I lift up my soul. Deliver me, oh Lord, from my enemies, I take refuge in You. Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. For the sake of Your Name, O Lord, revive me. In Your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble. And in Your lovingkindness, cut off my enemies and destroy all who afflict my soul, for I am Your servant." Psalm 143:8-12 NASB.