I’ve started deeper into a journey. It’s not a journey that ‘no man has gone before’. Although, it's one that very few have taken and even fewer dare to take today. It’s a journey of complete surrender to Jesus. It will require all of our effort to “count all things as lost for Christ”. (Philippians 3:7) My desire is to live a life dedicated to Jesus 100% of the time.
For decades we have been hearing the “Prosperity Gospel” where we can name it, claim it and we receive it. We hear that we do nothing and we have all the benefits of heaven. I’m not against this teaching, but I am realizing a shallowness in the Gospel with all this ‘make me feel good’ teaching. I believe we’re living what Paul declared, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3, 4
I must admit that I’m guilty of preaching the same things. I love the Gospel of prosperity. I know that God wants to prosper us. I know that Christ paid for our sins on the cross. We have all the benefits. However, when I read the book of Acts, the lives of the apostles or the rest of the New Testament, I see another side of the Gospel. It involves a life of surrender, hardship, living everyday as if it were our last, dying to our flesh, crucifying ourselves, etc.
I’ve been to many churches and these topics are rarely preached. I wrote my last blog entitled, “Forsake all and Follow Him” and it was my least read blog. You may be thinking then why on earth are you writing another blog on the topic? Because I have seen that this is a much needed part of the Gospel that we have missed.
I was reading a friend’s Facebook post the other day and I could see he was sincere in what he wrote and needed some advice. He was asking what he could do to bear with some of the pain he was having. Most people had the right answer in telling him to go into God’s Presence and allow Jesus to heal this area in his heart. One response struck my attention and irritated me. The response was you need ‘beer and Jesus’. I’m not even sure how these two things can even be compared!
How much have we lost? We have strolled too far from, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
Nowadays, if we are calling things sin, we are being ‘legalistic’. We supposedly need to be more open to the grace of God. I have always understood that the grace of God is an empowerment to live a Godly lifestyle. I don’t think the way to live Godly is by drowning our self in alcohol to bury our troubles and then praise Jesus afterwards. This is just one thing I bring up as there are many other sins that many don’t want to deal with.
I’ve started some deep soul searching and I want to live my life wholly devoted to Jesus. I just don’t see how there’s any other way. Jesus never said, if you feel like following me then please do so. He didn’t beg people to follow him. He didn’t even try to convince them. I have come across people who confess to be believers in Christ but then when asked if they want to be baptized they say they are not ready yet, or that they have to live better in order to take the step.
I really don’t understand this. When I gave my life to Christ almost twenty years ago, you didn’t have to convince me of anything. No one had to explain to me the need to be baptized. I knew that I was being obedient to Jesus so I wanted to do it. No one had to convince me that it was important to pray and read the Bible. I desired to do so. I longed to be in His new found Presence. There was nothing I would rather have. I didn’t even have a hard time with tithing; it’s in the Bible so I wanted to do it.
Do I still struggle with sin, of course I do. The Bible says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8
Many people like to use the excuse, “Nobody’s perfect.” This however, is used most times to say, “There’s no point in trying to change, because I’ll never make it.” The other excuse is Jesus loves me the way I am. These things are true, we will never be perfect and Jesus loves us the way we are. He loves you too much to keep you the same way you are. He wants the best for you, which will mean change.
My thinking is, I’m going to try to get as close to perfection as I can. I may never make it, but I want to have a testimony like the Apostle Paul, “For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 4:4
Let’s all have this testimony. Strive toward having a good testimony with God and man. We don’t want a good testimony just through other people; we want to have a good testimony with God.
Everyone wants the blessing and to experience the Power of God. All this however can be experienced in a greater degree through obedience. When we obey what God asks of us, we will see a greater measure of His Glory. We won’t just call out to Him when we are in trouble, we will trust in Him on a regular basis.
Let’s live a life of complete surrender where we leave all to follow Him. Let’s renew our minds and “cleanse ourselves of all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” 2 Corinthians 7:1