Sunday, November 26, 2023
Joyful Yet Serious
Joyful Yet Serious
by David Brenneman
"Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:13-16.
Dr. Charles Stanley's comments on verse 13 stood out to me last night. Especially when reflecting on misdirected feelings and emotions that so many people, probably including myself, have in our world today.
"The Christian life is both a joyful experience and a serious business. It takes conscious, deliberate, Spirit-filled action to ponder God's grace and Jesus' return in such a way that it positively shapes how we live."
For decades, if not centuries, we have been enticed to turn our thoughts and feelings towards things of this world that in reality belong to Christ Jesus.
We have a pandora's box of possibilities spread out before mankind unlike any other time in human history unequaled since the days of Noah.
What's been as interesting is the justification of it all. Of how we can swiftly and convincingly justify our turning life into something that isn't taught in the Bible is possible...and living with it in complete comfort.
Jesus taught something that relates to this. "Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to the person through whom the stumbling block comes!" Matthew 18:7.
Would you, my Dear Reader, even ever look for stumbling blocks? Would you recognize these in your own life? Probably not. Satan's gift wrapping techniques are second to none. His abilities to convince sinful human beings to embrace little things to trip them up and to be able to live with the consequences is unparalleled.
He absolutely hates it when we indeed are aware of his schemes and teach others to be on the alert for them. Which is why so many Pastor's, these Men of God, are in battles daily to stay in the pulpit.
Most people would not recognize a stumbling block on their own unless they consider consulting someone wiser than themselves.
Sometimes, as it was with myself on at least one occasion, the Spirit pretty much slapped me upside the head to get my attention. To make me look at what was true, not what I had accepted as true. I say at least one time because when we are serious about walking with Jesus, more and more things will be shown to us to get rid of from our lives. It's on us to obey. When we dismiss those spiritual promptings we will likely be forced to live with the consequences until we do agree with the Spirit.
What are you embracing in this world that the Bible specifically speaks against that really is what God said it was? Look at the sheer volume of times and things that the New Testament tells us about idolatry. Are you taking what belongs only to God and give it to what in reality is an idol in God's eyes that you've convinced yourself isn't? Who's truth will win the day?
The Disciples were taught by Jesus concerning Spiritual life in Christ. It isn't for the faint of heart. It's serious business. It's going to produce joy unspeakable and will be full of glory for Jesus when we stand before Him to give an account of our lives.
We are taught through many letters in the New Testament to be on the alert. Well...are you?
We are taught to put off the old self and it's practices...well...do you?
We are taught to do whatever we do as unto the Lord...do you? Should Jesus Himself be sitting or standing there with you, would you still be thinking, saying, or doing whatever you are engaged in?
Are you using your time wisely for the days are evil.
We are so disconnected from the life that God desires for us by our justification of what we have kept in our lives that shouldn't be there.
We aren't going to see where or when our justification to embrace what God says is an idol will cause someone to put off coming to Christ for salvation.
Our useless outrage at things in this world could be keeping those who were ready to come to Christ from doing so...do you realize that?
Paul taught "And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble." 1 Corinthians 8:12-13
Joy may or may not be seen by us in this life while we obey and follow Him. We either cause people to come towards Christ or to walk away by our lives that are seen. We are supposed to be the light of the world.
Consider it well just what all you have embraced in this world.
Consider it well just what you may be doing that is showing the world that you aren't a fully devoted follower of Jesus.
For many who are putting Christianity under a microscope, it's all or nothing to them. They either see people being Jesus to the world or they see fakes, frauds. They see nothing that attracts them to the love of Christ when they see words and or actions that show nothing to do with Jesus.
In Proverbs there's words of warning against even doing things that are even joking around in people's lives.
Saving people is the highest priority, outside of protecting the Word of God, for the Spirit. He’s always about the Father’s business and always finds joy in those who live in Christ as they should. Is the first to celebrate those coming to Christ for salvation.
A Life in Christ Jesus is both a joyful experience and a serious business.