Friday, January 23, 2015

Get Off The Fence

                As Christians we are called to live separate and holy lives before the Lord. We are called to come out from among the ways of the world and to be a different sort of people. But I ask you today, what exactly does being separated from the world look like? What should it look like in the life of the believer? So many times I have made excuses for my worldliness before the Lord, but today, after my time with the Lord, there is not one excuse left for my choices- no, not one. He has clearly shown me that to live for Him or to live for the world is the choice I must make. I have been sitting on the fence way too long. I find that in my life there is a little bit of world, and there is a little bit of Him. I desire to live a holy life, and on the outside, some might say that I am a holy person. I mean, I do all the right things. I read my Bible, go to Church; serve within the Church and the community. I write this blog about Jesus, I do all these great things that would make me look separate from the world. But I think there is more to this being separate from the world than what we are currently doing. The more and more I read and study my bible, the more I realize that we are not as separated as we would like to think we are. Many of us are sitting on the fence; we haven’t made our choice yet.
            “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from among them and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you, I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty. Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”  2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1
                I read somewhere that Christians should be so distinct that no matter where they go, or what they do; they are known as Christians. They don’t have to tell anyone they are Christians, because just being near them is testimony to the fact that they are Christians. I read this one commentary that really hit the nail on the head for me about living as a Christian in this world. (I do not remember where I read it, and I wish I could so that I could give them the credit) “Blessed are those who become so different from the world that they come to be persecuted by the world, only so can they become ‘the light of the world”. I think the reason why our nation is not being persecuted is because the Christian faith in America is a worldly faith. We look so much like the world that you can’t tell us apart from them. I know I am sounding harsh, but let’s face it, people, if we keep walking the fence and do not choose one way or the other, in the end, when we stand before Jesus we may be the ones He looks at and says, “Depart from me I never knew you.”  (Matthew 25:41)
            Paul writes to the Corinthians and tells them that they must become a separated people. They must let go of the worldly behaviors and attitudes and become the people that God has declared them to be. I do agree that we as Christians are in this world; we have to work in it, move about in it and be a part of its economic hold. But we do not have to look like it. What does Paul say to the Corinthians? Who, I might add, remind me a lot of the church in America. He reminds them and us that we are the temple of God. God has told us that He will be our God, and that we will be His people, but we must choose Him over the world. We must come out from among them and be separate. Just because you walked down and aisle, raised your hands and said a prayer doesn’t mean you are going to heaven. In fact, if you really want to know the truth, walking down the aisle and saying a prayer to “receive” Christ is not even biblical. (If you can find a biblical reference to it, I will be happy to listen to your argument for it, but I doubt you will find one.)
                Do you know that everything you do, everything you say, everything you watch is before the Lord always? If He lives in you, like you say He does, then everywhere you go, everything you say, everything you do is a direct reflection of Him who lives in you. I think the reason why we look more and more like the world is because we do not fear God. Paul uses Isaiah 52:11 for a reference, when God is telling His people to come out from the idolatry and the sinful behaviors of their fleshly lusts. He wants them to be His, but they keep running and playing the harlot with the world. If we do not wake up as a people of God and come out from the world that is around us, then I believe many of us are going to be weeping and gnashing our teeth when we get to heaven.
                The other thing I wanted to point out because I am sure someone is going to say that we cannot earn our righteousness on our own, our faith is not based on our works, and they will say that we are in the world, but not of the world. My reply to that is that based on scripture if we are not of the world then the world should hate us. I know that many of my brothers and sisters in this nation will say that we are persecuted. We can’t pray in school anymore, that is persecution. Please, can we wake up! We are not being persecuted! Look at the other nations around us that are being killed, slaughtered and thrown into prison to die for their faith. Please, can we just stop pretending that we are being persecuted, because we are not! I am tired of this nation saying that we are being persecuted, because let’s face it- we are not because we look just like the world!
                Is there hope then for us as a people of God in this nation? I believe there is. I believe there is hope for me too. Because I am just as much to blame for looking like the world as anybody else. But, I recognize my error, I recognize my need for holiness, my need to separate from the world and be a holy people unto my God. I have to get off the fence and make a choice, I either follow the world or I follow my Holy God. If I choose God then I must also be willing to put away the things of the world. Until I am willing to do that, I have no right to call myself anything other than a daughter of the world.
                So how then do we become the separated people that God has called us to be? We “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit”. Paul tells us that we are the ones who have to lay aside those television shows we know the Lord would not approve of. We are the ones who have to lay aside those things of the world that we delight in so much. We are the ones who have to cleanse ourselves of the attitudes of the world if we desire to “have these promises” the promises that God will be our Father, and we will be His children. You can tell me all day that you are a Christian, because you go to church, you serve, you “do” all the right things. None of those things matter anymore, you are either in the world or you are of the world, either way, where you take the temple God has given you will declare it for you.
                Paul goes on to say that we are to be “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” If we truly fear God then everything we do will be held up to the light of His holiness. Everything we say, everything we watch, the people we are friends with, etc, it will all hinge on how much we fear Him. If we say we fear Him then we should look like Him. If we say we fear Him then we should be separating ourselves from those things that are not of Him.
                My brothers and sisters, I write today because I have a burden on my heart, not only for my own walk, but for your walks as well. I believe we are deceiving ourselves. We believe a lie. We believe that we can just walk down some aisle because we have had an emotional response to some preacher giving a heartfelt message and because we said a little prayer we are going to heaven, our attitudes, behaviors, all the world that was in us before is still in us, but hey- we are saved, we said a prayer. This is not biblical, my brothers and sisters, this is a lie. Paul warns us to not be deceived, because even in the last days many elect will be deceived.

I want to tell you today that the more and more I study my bible, and the closer I get to my God, the more I see that there is more to it than just repeating a prayer. It is a continual life lived out before God, in fear and in trembling. A truly born again Christian will no longer desire to live for the things of the world, but will separate themselves from all of it. A truly born again believer will look like Christ, and not the world. A truly born again believer will suffer persecution- because they will shine brighter than everyone else. But unfortunately, today I see more looking like the world, then Christ. We must choose to let go of the world, we cannot walk the fence forever. Ask yourself, in the end, do you really want to hear “Depart from me, I never knew you?” I know I don’t, and I don’t think you do either.