Sunday, January 26, 2014

Decisions Have To Be Made: Who Will You Serve?

As we come off our Fast we need to ask the question, "What now?" We have had a time of intimacy, of setting ourselves aside, of drawing close to our LORD, of making ourselves available and open to our God. We have withheld certain foods from our body, changed our appetite, cleansed our palate, lost weight, washed our system and feel good. Now e have to decide what we take back on ourselves spiritually and physically.

For me it has become clear that there are far too many distractions that take me away from my relationship with Jesus and the calling I have received. It is like I wanted all the Jesus offered but all the entertainment of the world. My attitude after a long day was that I deserved to relax, failing to understand that they only rest of any worth was resting in the LORD. I'll tell you, I was a man greatly distracted.

During my Fast I gorged myself on the Word and will continue to do so, and the more I ate of it the more the Spirit corrected me. I realized just from the Scriptures of the Old Testament that if I want to serve the Lord with all that I am, my mind and heart must only be occupied by him. We can't say that we do this because if we were there would be a lot more things happening. Currently it is as if we are worshiping our God from a distance whereas he demands an intimate worship from us.

We are too occupied by evil. We are like the Israelites of old who maintained Yahweh's holy temple but also worshiped other God's in the high places. We worship Jesus but we also serve the gods of this world as we chase after money, fame, leisure. We even put family on a pedestal next to Yahweh. This blof is too short to go into all the details of how we are not what we are suppose to be but I think the Spirit is already convicting you on this matter. Consider the Scripture that says:

Do not be wise in your own eyes;Fear the Lord and depart from evil. (Proverbs 3:7)

Evil is anything that is contrary to the character of Yahweh. As we watch murder after murder on our television, we are assaulting the character of Jesus in us. As we listen to the lyrics of those songs, letting them sink into our heart, we are running contrary to the character of Jesus. As we read those words, see those images and allow our mind to be entertained by sin, by the things contrary to the holiness of our God, we are giving ourselves over to the gods of this world.

Do you want to be filled by Jesus, to feel his presence, to know his will, to know his strength and power? Do you want to be overwhelmed by his joy and peace despite the circumstances of your day? Do you want the concern for others to be greater than your concern for yourself? Then shun evil, throw away the things that occupy your time and fill your days with Jesus:

 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Sometimes I think we forget where we are, what we are doing, and who we belong to. We forget that we are in hostile territory and it takes great discipline to walk with and serve Jesus in this place. It takes a singleness of mind and a heart so filled with love, renewed daily, to stay the course. We need to be strong and courageous. We need to embody the words of Yahweh to Joshua:

 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

We need to remember that blessings flow with obedience. Every king of Israel was told that if they walked in the ways of Yahweh and kept his statutes blessings would be theirs. Every King failed. Decisions have to be made; hard decisions. Jesus told us it is better to cut off a hand our pluck out an eye than to enter hell whole. If something is causing you to sin, to do evil, to separate you from Jesus then learn to live without it.

Decisions have to be made if we are going to be a nation of royal priests:

And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

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