Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"For people who love controversy!"

Well, I got you this far ...

After writing my last blog I noticed something rather disturbing:  if I write a blog on something controversial, like "same-sex marriage" or "shepherds not caring for the flock," 150-200 people will read it, but when I write on something like "you are special" or the importance of being part of the body of Christ, 20-40 people will read it.  What does that say about us as a people living in this world?  What does it say about us as Christians?  Are we only interested in controversy?  Do we only get "fired up" when somebody says or does something we don't like?  Isn't there enough excitement to stir our emotions in being chosen and called by God to be ambassadors of His kingdom?

I've shared this verse with you before, but I do so again to stimulate your passion for Christ and to remind you of the purpose of God's choosing us, calling us, empowering us and sending us into the world.

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light" (I Peter 2:9).

Peter wrote these words to Christians who were living at that time without the New Testament, who were facing severe persecution and who knew very little "theology."  His greeting states, "To God's elect, strangers in the world ... who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by His blood" (I Peter 1:1-2).  Look what God has invested in us who believe in Jesus Christ!

He says further in verses 18-19:  "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."  Paul wrote the following to the Corinthians in II Corinthians 8:9: "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich."  We who believe are ALL "rich" in the love and grace of God.  God is with us and He "has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3).

So why the spiritual apathy that plagues so many in the body of Christ?  Where is the fire, the passion for the cause of Christ that we need to have and should have EVERY DAY!  Many of you might answer:  LIFE happens!  I understand; it happens to me, too.  There are days when I am ready to take on the world, and there are days when "I got nothing."  It's those days when you feel like quitting, when you feel overwhelmed, when you feel like you have nothing left to give ... it's THOSE days that require you and me to remember what we know, to remember who we are and to remember God's calling.  It's those days, when we are weak, that God's desire is to display His strength in us and through us.

Later on in his letter to the churches, Peter writes, "In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have" (I Peter 3:15).  HOPE lifts us up and gives us inner strength so that we can not only endure, but testify to God's power that is at work within us.  When Paul prayed and asked God for relief from his "thorn in the flesh," God told him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for MY POWER is made perfect in weakness" (II Corinthians 12:9).  Then he goes on to say, "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, THEN I am strong!" (II Corinthians 12:9-10).

Do you get it?  Being "weak" is no excuse for apathy and half-hearted devotion to Christ.  In our weakness, HIS strength becomes real to us and is displayed to those around us.  Some people see me as a "strong Christian" because I am a pastor and because they have seen me and my wife and my family go through some trials.  But I am continually telling people that it is not MY strength.  I know where my help comes from and it is from my Father in heaven.  He is the Creator of all things and His Son, Jesus Christ, is my Savior and my Lord, and His Spirit lives within me.  It is GOD's power and strength you see, NOT MINE!  And you can live with the same strength I have.  You just need to know God, to feed often on His Word and to commit yourself to being His witness, on the good days AND on the not-so-good days.  HE is the same, yesterday, today and forever, and He never fails to give His children what they need to fulfill His purpose.

"You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light" - TODAY!  This is your calling, this is your task, this is your purpose, today and every day.  And God will give you everything you need to praise Him today, as you draw near to Him, as you believe His promises in Christ Jesus, and as you seek His face in prayer throughout the day.  Now go do it!!  Tell someone about the God who called you to be His and about the Savior who died and rose again who now lives within you by His Spirit.  "Greater is He that is in YOU than he that is in the world!" (I John 4:4).  Isn't it time you acted like it?!

Don't get caught up in all the controversial things and forget why you're here:  to proclaim the glory of our God and to praise Him!  Do it today and He will lift you up on eagles' wings and give you strength for the battle!!

1 comment:

  1. Psalm 121
    1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
    2 My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
    3 He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
    4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
    5 The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
    6 the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
    7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
    8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.