Saturday, March 24, 2012

In This Clear And Present Danger, What Are You Doing?

Ahhh, what a beautiful day. I love Saturday's; the day we get to catch up on everything we couldn't fit in during the week. Also a day when we can take the time to "smell the roses", a time to relax and simply enjoy life. What will you do with this day? What would Jesus do with it?

Oops, what would Jesus do? What does he have to do with Saturday's? Well, he has everything to do with everything and if we do not realize it then our "following Jesus" is lacking some understanding. To be a Jesus follower requires total commitment; I mean total. Everything we are is all about him and he directs us, in everything we do, how to bring him honour and glory, and how to fulfill our part in the mission.

You would be amazed how he can use our everyday chores for the Kingdom. I mean the car washing, grocery shopping, lawn mowing, snow shoveling, but we have to be attentive, looking for the opportunities and jumping on them when they are presented. In other words, Jesus must always be on our mind.

I was reading Psalm 79 this morning, which was the reaction of this psalmist to the devastating attack of the enemy of God's people, and I realized how fitting it was in describing the effects of our enemy's attack on the Church:

O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance; 
   they have defiled your holy temple, 
   they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble. 
They have left the dead bodies of your servants 
   as food for the birds of the sky, 
   the flesh of your own people for the animals of the wild. 
They have poured out blood like water 
   all around Jerusalem, 
   and there is no one to bury the dead. 
We are objects of contempt to our neighbors, 
   of scorn and derision to those around us.
  (Psalm 79:1-4)

The enemy in North America has been very subtle for years, invading the Church inch by inch, slowly eroding away our core beliefs, the foundations of our faith. Like a constant, gentle wave against the shore line, he has taken years to change us from Christ-centered to self-centered. So now we are weak and we are getting to be easy for the picking. Don't be fooled by the number of large churches; those who are strong in their faith, focused on Jesus and have turned their back on the pleasures of this world are much fewer in number. We have been seeing for years now the changes in doctrine being accepted without a fight, pastors changing the Word to fit their own ideologies without much of a challenge at all, and Christians being shaped by the thinking of society instead of the Word of God.

The nations have invaded God's inheritance. They have defiled his holy temple, which is us. They are tearing down God's nation from the inside. The dead bodies of God's servants are being fed on as they pile up, one after another, as these servants put a longing for success ahead of faithfulness to God. There is very little doubt any more of the contempt, scorn and derision that people around us feel toward us. Oh, maybe not toward those who are willing to compromise to be accepted by their neighbour, but those who stand by the Word, who refuse to give an inch to the enemy and whose constant thought is Jesus.

It is not hard to tell which camp you fall into and it is not hard to change it. Is Jesus the center of everything you do? Is he involved in everything you do? Do you do what you do because of Jesus? Is there anything in your life that has a greater influence on you than Jesus? Is your greatest desire to please Jesus in all your thinking, feeling and actions? Do you see him as the reason for your life? Is there anything that you tolerate that comes against the person of Jesus? If Jesus was physically present with you all day today would you change some of your plans and perhaps some of your vocabulary and maybe the way you treat family and neighbours?

The difference is sometimes very subtle. Do you spend time with your friends because you get something from them or because you want to add to them? Do you help your parents with resentment or with joy? Do you play video games with your children because you enjoy video games or because you enjoy your children and being with them gives opportunities to teach about Jesus? In everything we do it is always a question of the heart. Is it because it honours Jesus and a giving to others or is it because we get to feed our own selfish needs?

We have to stop playing the church game. Either we are followers of Jesus or we are not. There is no in between place. Jesus said that anyone who was lukewarm would be spit out. He said to be his followers we would have to give up everything. He said we would have to deny ourselves, take up our calling (purpose)(cross) and follow him. In other words, go all the way until our purpose has been completed.

The enemy is in our midst and some of us are just becoming aware of it. The good news is that he is nothing compared to Jesus. He is weak, pathetic and simply a fallen angel in rebellion against God. Jesus won't be taking him on because the enemy is beneath him. It is the other angels who will fight against Satan and defeat him. We are powerful against him and the Word is clear that we must be attentive to the war that is raging around us. We are those who pray and send the enemy fleeing. We know in this age many will be deceived but we do not have to belong to this group. We are the children of God and we must take our stand, trusting,  believing, refusing to give an inch to the enemy.

So, I ask you again: What will you do with this day? What would Jesus do with it?

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