How we treat our enemies is the litmus test of our hearts.
|—||Sinclair Ferguson, in The Christian Life|
I once thought I was in love. It’s been nearly five years now since the sun set on my dreams and loneliness surrounded me like the deepest darkness. In the years that followed I walked through hell and I walked through bliss, but one thing held true, I never walked alone.
"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." -Jesus
Yesterday I read an article about a Christian man who was lynched by Muslims for practicing his faith.
Yesterday, I filled up a needy woman’s gas tank.
So, who is the better Christian? Am I supposed to feel guilty because God has granted me the gift of continued life and relative affluence instead of the gift of martyrdom?
Put like that, it sounds ridiculous. But so many Christians (myself included) feel guilty because we are not out changing “the world.” We feel guilty because we are still in school, or in mundane secular jobs, or raising a family in our home town. But what exactly is so wrong with that? God has called us to different roles in different stages in our lives. And that’s okay.
It’s okay to be a student. It’s okay not to be a martyr. It’s okay to raise your babies. It’s even okay to enjoy that and not desire anything considered “greater.”
It’s not okay to be complacent. It’s not okay to be stagnant. It’s not okay to live your life ignoring God and others.
What is God calling you to do today with what he has given you right now? Are you going to neglect those in your back yard because you are living for those across the sea? That is what matters.
God will take care of your future; all that is left for you is to trust and obey him today.
I’m a little kid at heart. People have been telling me this a lot lately, and I think it may be true. I also think that growing up is one of the most detrimental things that can happen to a person. Why would anyone ever want to lose their sense of wonder and awe? What’s so wrong with a vividly active imagination? And why is it so odd to believe in a world that transcends our own?
As people age, the world tends to beat them down. They cease to dream freely and feel deeply because they cannot bear disillusionment any longer. So they grow up. They slip into the molds society deems acceptable and go with the flow. They go through life with all the right motions, yet blank, emotionless, and utterly devoid of intelligent thought. There is no independence, no sense of individuality. There is absolutely no sense of the supernatural.
Is this just reality? Is this how things were meant to be? I will not accept it; nay, I cannot. I know there is a God above. A God But we have convinced ourselves that we don’t need him. And who can blame us? We move along opulence, never worrying about where our next meal will come from or where to lay our heads.
We are missing out. By shutting the Lord out of our daily lives we deprive ourselves of deep communion with him- of true intimacy! But the Lord is faithful. He has left for us clues- tokens of his love and reminders of his existence. How often we miss the heavenly nature of a flower in full bloom, the blueness of the sky, the innocent laughter of a child, or the depth contained in the eyes of our fellow man. What precious glimpses of our great father’s love! We noticed these things in the years of your youth, but now they are only distant memories. We have lost our sense of wonder, and, oh, what a loss it has been!
We read of times when the Lord moved- when he healed, when he spoke, when he fed the hungry. We have quenched this power with our disbelief! The Lord has in no way changed, but we refuse to believe in such childish stories. How my heart aches for this generation! These are not mere fairy tales, but realities that are not beyond our reach! If my beliefs be labeled childish, then so be it. I refuse to relinquish my childhood.
|—||J. Oswald Sanders|
We’ve lost all reverence; we’ve lost all awe for our most holy Lord. How few are those who tremble at His word, those who dare to desire His presence. We are so comfortable- so stagnant. So filled with this idea of ‘grace’ that leads not to repentance but only to increased debauchery. The first reactions of those confronted by God were fear, dread, utter desperation as they were faced with their own humanity and imperfection. We flee from Him. We want God close enough to help us when we call, but far enough that we can continue to live as though He isn’t here. And we call ourselves Christians, Christ-followers. I am ashamed. Our brand of Christianity accepts everyone and expects no change. We feel that God will adapt to meet our needs. I think of Paul’s words in Galatians 3:1, “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?” And in 1 Corinthians 5:1-2, “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?”
This doesn’t sit well with our feel-good, everyone’s okay brand of Christianity, but this is the truth. As long as we continue to identify ourselves with Christ and continue to live as though he doesn’t exist, we are guilty of high treason. We are ambassadors grossly misrepresenting our King- turning people away from Him with our self-righteous antics! It is only by His grace that we are not consumed. Let us then, in view of that grace, come before Him and offer ourselves wholly to Him. Let us change our way of thinking- and thereby change our way of being. Let us leave behind us our old ways and live in light of our Lord, in light of eternity.