Walking in Christ…Come What May

(John 3:30)

I simply have 3 questions for each of us, for our churches and leaders…1) Are we more concerned about making His message palatable when His Word is clear that those of the world will not like it? 2) Or are we willing to graciously share the totality of His Word and let those who do not want to hear it or are not ready walk away?  3) Which did Jesus do? Luke 9:57-62; Mark 10:17-22; John 6:66

Jesus died to save us and calls us to be His fully devoted follower…not just a fan. He didn’t say, “Go make zealots.” He said, “Go make disciples.”

In line with how we are to be molded in the image of Christ, The Spirit laid some things on my heart as I’ve prayed for so many who are hurting and diseased, other trials and troubles and loss of loved ones (in one case a couple who had been married over 50 years, in the case of my Dad and the passing of my Mother in a marriage of nearly 62 years, and just a few days ago the passing of my wife’s stepfather who’d been married to her Mom for 38 years)…

Habakkuk, a prophet of God who prophesied of Israel being led into exile and captivity, stated that there were bleak times coming. God had promised they would come if they disobeyed Him and sought other gods (who are not gods at all). That’s exactly what the Israelites did and God was simply being faithful to His Word, after much grace and mercy, because He loved them so much and knew they had failed to listen and unless He kept His Word they would never listen and return to Him. (Habakkuk 3:16)

Sound familiar in our day and time?

Even as Habakkuk talked of days of fear and trembling, of distress, of no fruit on the vines or cattle in the stalls (seemingly no hope), he closes his scroll of prophecy with these incredibly encouraging words for all those who will, come what may, look to God…

Even if the fig tree does not blossom, and there is no fruit on the vines, if the yield of the olive fails, and the fields produce no food, even if the flock disappears from the fold, and there are no cattle in the stalls, yet I will triumph in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like deer’s feet, and has me walk on my high places. (Habakkuk 3:17-19)

God is always faithful so we need to be prepared for whatever His faithful lovingkindness brings even if we don’t think it’s very loving! He will see us through so let’s look to Him and rejoice in our salvation that He has freely given to all who surrender and walk by faith in Christ!

What impacts your walk and stand for The Lord and His Truth?

So many of us are impacted by what others think, how they react, what they desire, what is popular or well received, etc. In so doing, aren’t we making the circumstances and desires of others our impetus for “serving The Lord”?

This is the mantra of today’s “disciples” and churches…meet their needs. While we are certainly to do that, I continue to see so many craft or shape their messages around the need and how others will receive and respond to the message rather than simply sticking with the Truth of the message and trusting it will accomplish all things and “never return void.” (Isaiah 55:8-11)

We must be more concerned about the integrity of our message in line with God’s Word and trust Him to help us meet the needs rather than thinking our watered down messages will get the job done because people like it better. Let’s stick with His Word no matter what others think, how they respond or what they say about us.

Oswald Chambers says it this way, “The people of God’s method are never hustled, never enticed; they won’t allow themselves to be deflected, they know what they are there for. ‘None of these things move me,’ said Paul, ‘you may execrate (loathe or hate me) or praise me, it makes no difference; I am here for only one thing–to fulfill the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus.'”

Let’s be sure to keep Him and His Word above all else and trust Him to accomplish what needs to be done as we serve and love others in Him.

Along the lines of walking in trials and Truth here’s some more to think about to test whether or not we (you and I and our churches) are looking to His Kingdom first in all things (Matthew 6:33) or justifying His Word to fit our desires and to “succeed”?

We all love to read and hear messages about John 10:10b, I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full,” and the abundant (FULL) life that Christ came to give. However, are we defining that full life only by what we have or can get in this life, or by His Kingdom standards?

The Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of The Holy Spirit, talked about rejoicing in Christ’s sufferings and BEING FILLED in his flesh with whatever was lacking with regard to Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His Church, ultimately for His Kingdom.  (Colossians 1:24)

What are you being filled with as a disciple of Christ?

Here are 4 thoughts to ponder regarding Lordship in line with God’s Word:

1) There are only 2 Lords, 2 Kingdoms that will last for Eternity… Life and Light in Christ, and; death and darkness in Satan.

2) Every one of us has a Lord or lord. Do you know who your Lord or lord is?

3) Every motive, thought, decision, action and relationship you choose every day reveals who is Lord or lord in your life.

4) There are only 2 choices in lordship. The enemy’s deception, just as it was with Adam and Eve, is to make us think that God is okay with us claiming that we walk with Christ as Savior but we can do as we please, be our own lord or “god” (Genesis 3:4-5). He is not (1 Peter 3:15). When we are in a relationship with Him, He must be Lord. The default to this is satan as lord. Don’t fall for the lies.

John the Baptist’s last testimony about himself and about Christ as The Messiah speaks to His Lordship in one simple but powerful verse that serves us well if we desire to be Christ’s disciples, “He must increase and I must decrease.” (John 3:30)

Sin not only separates us from God but also continues to work in our flesh even when we are saved, so we need to decrease and allow Christ through His Holy Spirit, to reign in every moment of our lives…motives, thoughts, decisions, actions and relationships…all for Him. Sin not only causes us to fall and fail, making us guilty, it renders us unable to please God. That’s why we must die to self (selfish desires and pleasures) in order to live for God. The only way that can happen is the way God has made for us in Christ, not simply in salvation, but also by The Holy Spirit in us in daily discipleship.

Paul David Tripp, in “New Morning Mercies,” says it this way… “Sin…robs us of the ability to live in a way that pleases God. Sin kidnaps our desires and distorts our thoughts. It controls our tongues and rules our behavior…We don’t just need forgiveness and ultimate deliverance; we also desperately need present help–help so that we will have the will to desire and the power to do what is good in the sight of God. Our struggle with sin is so deep that only God living inside us can give us the power to please him with our living…Yes, we are new creatures in Christ, and yes, we are alive in him, but without the Spirit, we would have no power to defeat sin.” (Philippians 2:12-13)

He has already defeated sin but you have the choice every moment to choose sin in your flesh or righteousness in Christ by His Holy Spirit.

Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – The Spirit revealed to me years ago regarding John 3:30, mentioned earlier, that God will not force the increase of Christ in my life nor will He force the decrease of myself, my sin and flesh…I must lovingly and willfully choose to decrease and choose His increase in me and He has made a way for it all to happen by His grace. Which is increasing in you?

Love and Lordship…Action Item(s)

  1. Read the Scriptures in this article and ask The Holy Spirit to teach you.
  2. How do trials and struggles affect your walk in Christ?
  3. In what ways do you strive to walk with Christ as Lord every moment?
  4. How does Christ increase in you moment by moment? How does self decrease?