A Word from the Lord:
The thing about calling yourself a “Christian” that many don’t get it is that people hold you to a certain standard – because even the world knows what you SHOULD be doing according to the Word vs. what we actually do as we wear the “title” with pride (and sometimes a bit of superiority as well).
The true test of your “Christian” character comes when you have to actually practice what you preach. When you actually have to help that person who continues to slander and dog you. When you have to let go of your “feelings” to walk in forgiveness towards someone who’s done you wrong (true forgiveness not that “long handle spoon mess” – Jesus didn’t do that and we know it). When you have to actually humble yourself and think of others as more important, letting go of your own selfish ambitions and learning to operate from the Spirit – trusting God to take care of your needs/wants/desires as you follow His will for your life. It is going out of your way to be a blessing to those around you however you can. Stepping up to help someone in need – even when it’s an inconvenience to you. Refusing to engage in gossip, slander, malice, or anything else that harms another child of God – whether they are walking in the Spirit or not.
We who claim to imitate Christ should live as Christ lives – we should literally be the living breathing examples of who Christ is on earth this day (though He died, yet He lives so we speak of Him in present tense because He is ever present)…..but we are clearly failing as so many have yet to see Him. We’re sold out for the church but not for God. We’re sold out for our pastors and preachers, but not for Christ. We know the word but we’re not walking in it. We are moved to emotion by church songs and passionate sermons but, we’re not moved to repentance, we’re not allowing our minds to be transformed/renewed. Our churches aren’t operating in power – some pastors are more concerned with the public and public appearances and promoting their “church” that they aren’t truly tending their flock!
We’re walking out of Sunday service or mid-week bible study and right into sin – fornication, slander, malice in our hearts, being unkind, refusing to help people, greed, selfishness, pride, ego, being controlled by emotions, driven by human will and desire. We sit up in church and mock and slay one another during service, after service, in between service, at mid-week service. We create cliques, separating ourselves from other believers EVEN IN THE PLACE OF FELLOWSHIP! Pointing out their sins and downfalls as if we’re perfect – instead of praying for them and restoring them gently as Christ instructed. There is no distinction between the Children of God and those of the world – and this should not be!
Churches competing, pastors dividing, old believers shunning new believers, choosing tradition over relationship…. people are literally coming to the church for salvation and instead receiving condemnation, guilt even more shame…and yet, we wonder why we have no power. How can we walk in the fullness of God when we’ve not yet even grasped the most basic principles of Christ – within the church!
It’s not all on the flock though – there’s much to be said about the shepherds entrusted with these flocks that are roaming aimlessly – but many of them are too busy extending their careers and names in the communities vs. extending Christ and making themselves available to tend to their flocks. Our churches have all the trimmings, youth groups, dance groups, women’s groups, singles groups, travel groups, socials – we’re hosting dinners, tournaments, concerts, shows….we have everything a sinner could want…..and yet, we’re often missing or quickly brushing over what that which they need the most – Christ and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit once it comes upon you. This is why people can walk into the church – hear the sermon – shout, hoop, holler and scream – then turn around and walk right out the church and gossip, fornicate, lie, slander, cheat, steal, hold grudges, have nasty attitudes, operate in selfishness and so much more (see Galatians 5:19 – 21 below) instead of operating from the Spirit as we’ve been called (see Galatians 5: 22 – 23 below)
God is vexed and grieved at what we are doing – we who call ourselves “Christians” we who are supposed to be His people. We’ve tarnished, trampled and shamed His name before men with our false sense of salvation that comes from self-righteousness instead of God’s grace. The time is coming for this to change. God is not please and refuses to be mocked any longer. Churches and leaders will be exposed (those who are not following the will of God), new leaders will be raised up who will worship God in Spirit and Truth. The wheat and the chaff will be separated. (wheat = those operating from the Spirit, truly repentant, rely on God’s grace, submissive. Chaff= those operating from the Flesh, unrepentant, rely on self, continues to walk in the ways of the world and uses being human as an excuse to remain in the flesh – they often look quite pious on the outside until you get to know them.)
How long did we think God would stand for us mocking and shaming His name with our behavior? Some of us treat and hold more esteem for designer clothing labels than we do the name of God. But…ever the loving God, He delays to give us the opportunity to repent. This word is for all who claim to serve God. You can heed it or ignore it but the Word of the Lord will stand.
“…Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions…Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Corinthians 6: 1-10
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited,provoking and envying each other.” Galatians 5: 13-25