You need to think in your walk with Jesus Christ if you are truly following him as you should. Its not that the world is trying to seduce you into wrong doing but rather are you choosing each day to carry your cross!
Those who are athletes, find it useful to examine their actions before the next big tournaments begins. They don’t find it depressing to correct their wrong landings and shaky movements. Because they know if they fix it up before the real test, the they are more suited to win and be crowned the champions. Your walk with Christ is no different! You got to check on your Bible if you are really thinking and doing things that are consistent with being a true follower of Jesus. You can then repent of any faults or sin and train to walk more strongly in the Lord God. The Holy Spirit will lead you in all truth, all you need to do is just ask him with sincerity!
Verses for reflection:
- Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD! (Lamentations 3:40)
- I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:27)
- Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2 Corinthians 13:5)
Cowards don’t go to heaven,
For in them there’s no godly leaven.
In vain the Gospel they process,
But when challenges come they regress.
The one who denies Christ out of fear,
Will find damnation is very near.
Those who claim in God to believe,
Mustn’t with timid thoughts themselves deceive.
Even in the midst of cowards you shine bright,
Hold on to your confession and have no fright.
Be bold for the Lord and do not pretend,
Stay courageous for Him till your very end.
Every professing Christian is the soldier of Christ. He is bound by his baptism to fight Christ’s battle against sin, the world, and the devil. The man that does not do this, breaks his vow: he is a spiritual defaulter; he does not fulfil the engagement made for him. The man that does not do this, is practically renouncing his Christianity. The very fact that he belongs to a Church, attends a Christian place of worship, and calls himself a Christian, is a public declaration that he desires to be reckoned a soldier of Jesus Christ.
Armour is provided for the professing Christian, if he will only use it. “Take unto you,” says Paul to the Ephesians, “the whole armour of God.” “Stand, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breast-plate of righteousness.” “Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” “Above all, take the shield of faith” (Ephes. vi. 13-17). And not least, the professing Christian has the best of leaders, —Jesus the Captain of salvation, through whom he may be more than conqueror; the best of provisions,—the bread and water of life; and the best of pay promised to him,—an eternal weight of glory. ( J.C Ryle)
At the time of World War Two, various churches in England such as the one in the Streatham district of London, would allow warnings on their notice boards about impending air raids. This saved a lot of people over there from the wickedness of the Nazi Luftwaffe (air force), as they took shelter when they followed the signs of the warnings. They knew the French had suffered thousands of human casualties because the Nazi air raids. As a result the preacher’s did what is right. Those churches didn’t have preacher’s fearful of ‘offending’ their flock of church goer’s. Because they were focused on defending the people. They knew the lives of their people mattered more than their being in a false sense of security. Obviously they didn’t sugarcoat their warnings either.
If they could issue warnings for physical things why can’t we issue warnings about spiritual dangers? Is not a temptation to adultery, very dangerous to the married person’s relationship with his or her spouse? Then should not a preacher warn the people about the evils of adultery? Is not drunk driving something to be preached against? Then should one ever get embarrassed about warning the people who need to hear about such things? No, need to be shy nor fearful at all. The below verses confirm this:
“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity,but you will have delivered your soul. (Ezekiel 3:17-19)
Ezekiel would as per God’s will, speak the word of the God to the people of Israel as and when it came to him from the Lord. The above verses also show that the Lord God expected his prophet Ezekiel to warn the wicked one’s so that they could repent of their wrongdoings and escape the judgement of God. So, Ezekiel was into saving lives! If you warn other’s in the right context you can inspire them to truly repent and believe in the Gospel.
If any gospel does not warn people of the coming struggles, but only focuses on having a blessed life, this gospel has been cheapened. The recipients of this gospel message may not be ready for hard trials, and could fall away. (Robert Brownell)
Any preacher who is too scared to warn the people about challenges to their following the Gospel, is not doing prudent service to the congregation. This sort of behaviour is not acceptable to God! Such a preacher needs to get off his high horse of people pleasing and start acting like a real preacher.
Now is this an accusation against all preacher’s? Definitely a no. But there are certain gullible preacher’s who are doing big disservice to their own flock. These are the one’s who need to get their act together. The Holy Scriptures confirm that people will be so depraved that they will even get teacher’s to suit their own ways of life. Here we go:
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into muss (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
Do not be so crooked that you get you are influenced by the words and opinions of the people instead of honoring the Word of God. Do not be so cowardly that you only want to hear of blessings that you can receive but want to do nothing if any warning needs you do something right. Never become nor act like the type of depraved preacher or the depraved congregation mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:3-4.
The fact that you could continue to read till here shows that you don’t have itching ears to listen to compromising teachers. Congratulations dear reader on this!
There’s a good number of people all across the world that mentally shut off if the preaching they hear is warnings instead of precious little anecdotes and fables. (The Gospel tells us to be child like but not childish!). One of their tactics to avoid warnings is to keep begging the unsuspecting preacher to make the sermon more simple. Now if the preacher doesn’t seem to see past their vile scheme he will simplify even an already simple sermon. Slowly they’ll ask him to simplify things more so that they understand the way of God in a kinder way. But in fact the kindness they want is that they want to stopped being told to stop committing certain sins and foolish things they often do. These blatantly ignore the fact that Jesus Christ himself warned people many times. They also avoid the fact that Book of Revelation is full of serious warnings about the future.
A bit about balance in preaching now. Only preaching warnings from the Gospel is not preaching everything it says. One needs to also speak about the love of God, the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit, works of charity and kindness in the life of the believer in Christ. One ought to preach about praying for each other. One needs to know that the church doesn’t stop at the local community level but instead all across the world the church exists. Also that the church is not the property of any particular set of people but rather it’s the body of Christ of whom Christ Jesus is the head.
Do preach the Gospel in its entirety. And also be willing to hear the Gospel in its entirety. Why only stop at the Gospel’s? Be of good faith and give honor to the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. This way you’ll be surely pleasing to God.
Christ be with you!
In my earlier post Being brave and smart to tackle danger (Part 1) we focused on knowing and asserting your rights. Today I want to show how to use the truth to your advantage, use your words wisely and keep your eyes open to tackle any attacks.
Let’s read Acts 23:1-11 which shows how the Apostle Paul at the Sanhedrin effectively used the above principles to keep himself out of danger:
1 And looking intently at the council, Paul said, “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.” 2 And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?” 4 Those who stood by said, “Would you revile God’s high priest?” 5 And Paul said, “I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”
6 Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.” 7 And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. 9 Then a great clamor arose, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and contended sharply, “We find nothing wrong in this man. What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?” 10 And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him away from among them by force and bring him into the barracks.
11 The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.”
When in faced with danger, do not cower in fear. Be like Paul, who kept his eyes and mind open to use the situation to his advantage. He didn’t have to lie but took advantage of the truth. He tackled the high priest Ananias who illegally tried to get Paul slapped. Paul didn’t use foul words but used clear logic that the high priest was trying to judge as per the law and yet himself was going against the methods of the law. Only later when Paul was told that Ananias was the high priest that he didn’t go ahead with rebuking him any further.
But Ananias was not the only person to be stopped. There were more. Paul must have understood that if he didn’t act in time something really bad will happen to him. Again like I mentioned in my earlier post, Paul did suffer martyrdom but that day was not day to be martyred.
Since Paul himself was trained in the ways of the Pharisees he could easily distinguish between the Pharisees and their rivals the Sadducees. He sensed a great opportunity to set things right. So he said aloud, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.” Due to great divide between the Pharisees and the Sadducees on the reality of the resurrection with the result that some of Pharisees spoke in Paul’s favor. (This is one of the good things of the Pharisees unlike the Sadducees who deny angels, spirits and resurrection who are therefore vile little heretics)
As a matter of fact, Paul was in trial because he claimed Jesus as the Lord and also that Jesus rose from the dead (this is a teaching central to the Christian faith and any deviation from this is heresy). So Paul did NOT lie his way out of trouble. With some of the Pharisees now agree that there was no fault with Paul, it gradually resulted in a violent clash between the Pharisees and Sadducees. The Roman tribune then intervened by getting the soldiers to save Paul from this fighting. And of course, the Lord appreciated Paul and told him the he will get to testify in Rome for Christ as how he did in Jerusalem.
Now learning from Paul’s case you can apply this too in your life. Suppose, someone is trying to draw a gun on you and you don’t have a weapon. Then scream and say loudly ‘please don’t hurt me with your gun, I did no wrong’. This will either alert the people nearby to save you or dissuade the attacker or even give you a small time window to escape.
Suppose you are stuck in a very bad lawsuit in which you are wrongly targeted and suddenly you realize that there is an organization which helps out those in trouble like you, then reach out to them. Like in cases of international business disputes, you know very well that if the other countries court’s are biased against your nation then they won’t give you a fair hearing, then get in what are known as arbitrators to give you some justice. If you are under racial attacks, first get yourself out of danger and then reach to organizations that tackle racism (Southern Poverty Law Center, Anti Defamation League, Newham Monitoring Project, National Assembly Against Racism (NAAR) or whichever similar organization in your region). Just keep your eyes and mind open for any such individuals or groups which help out people in trouble.
Imagine you are an Aussie citizen roaming in South Africa and due to whatever reason, you are being chased by gun wielding thugs. And if you happen to see the Australian embassy near you, then don’t be a hero to stand cornered to fight the minions of debauchery, you simply get into the embassy and save your life. I’m sure the Aussie guards will be a great deterrent to your assailants. This tip should work for any citizen with his/her own country’s embassy normally.
If you are troubled by demons, do not play coy with your preacher and behave as if you are in pristine condition. Open your mind and be humble enough to at least get help in private from your church elders and it’s people trained in deliverance ministry. All you need to do is speak and say that you need help.
Appeal unto Christ Jesus when in danger by evil spirits. Don’t be a victim. Christ has authority over all of the powers of the Evil One. Take advantage of this truth.
Christ be with you!
P.S : Part 3 of this will be out soon. Pray for me.
One must know very well how to tackle danger to life and limb. It requires bravery and smartness to cope up with such situations. Most of all you need the grace of God to overcome them all.
Since this topic is quite vast I decided to break down in parts so that the critical points are not skimmed over and missed out. It won’t be a daily feature so that we don’t miss out on other things of the Bible. Now, to begin with lets focus today on knowing and asserting your rights. Now not just your earthly or civil rights, it also about exercising your rights as a believer in Christ. Let’s read Acts 22: 22-29 where the Apostle Paul took advantage of his rights to avoid getting flogged (whipped) by the Romans:
22 The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!”
23 As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and interrogated in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this. 25 As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”
26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “This man is a Roman citizen.”
27 The commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”
“Yes, I am,” he answered.
28 Then the commander said, “I had to pay a lot of money for my citizenship.”
“But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied.
29 Those who were about to interrogate him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains.
If you notice in the above passage, Paul wouldn’t have escaped the flogging for preaching the Gospel unless he told the Roman centurion that he too was a Roman citizen. So without exercising his right to a fair trial he would have got harmed greatly by the Roman soldiers.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about avoiding martyrdom or acting like a coward in face of persecution and I know full well that Paul did suffer martyrdom later on in his life. He was brave in face of danger even then. However, he did what he did at the time of Acts 22 because his time to die had not yet come. Why must you die before the appointed time? Will getting harmed just for the sake of getting harmed truly give any glory to God?
Do you realize that you have a right to exist? Then a right to live in freedom and happiness? Some call these as human rights and this not wrong to say.
When faced with imminent danger you must exercise your rights. Don’t keep all quiet, get bruised up and then start pondering on your rights later. Sometimes there won’t be a later.
You have a right to protection by the police and also the military if needed. So if you are in danger of being harmed in any way by robbers, terrorists etc then please go ahead and invoke your right to be protected. Call them, text them or whatever other means you have them alerted so that they rush to your safety. Absolutely no hoaxes please!
Sometimes you need to invoke your right to self-defense. Depending on which country you live in there might be self defense laws like the Section 3(1) of Criminal Law Act 1967 or the Second Amendment. So do your homework to find what laws go out in your region and act accordingly. You might wonder what when do you need to actually act in self defense. Let me give you a situation. For instance there’s a madman on a shooting spree in your office and you know the police will be over there in 30 minutes but you are on 18th floor while the murderer is on the 4th floor of the building. Then for that half an hour, do whatever you can to be out of sight and out of range of the madman. If you can safely and effectively tackle him with some weapon or with your bare hands then do so without putting yourself or the innocent bystanders in danger. You will need to think on your feet in such situations. Don’t try to be a hero!
As a believer in Christ you too have rights. You are worth more than sparrows in the eyes of God. The Devil tries to steal your rights or sometimes keeps you ignorant of them. By doing this the Evil One tries to prevent you from living your life for God or if he can’t do that then just make you suffer a lot.
If shall cover a few of those rights. For instance, the Devil tries to keep away from you that you can cast out evil spirits in the name of Jesus. Remember that Jesus himself said this of those who believe; “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues” (Mark 16:17). Jesus was not referring to only the Apostles or pastors or miracle, he was referring to every who has the faith. The Devil is vary of this so he tries to put exorcism or purging out of demons as a myth or old-fashioned thinking. Sometimes he will even beguile preachers to come up with stupendous doctrines that will try to brain wash their flock that casting out evils spirits is either irrelevant or not their portion. And lots of people fall prey to such deception.
You have a right to pray for your healing. You have a right to ask for protection in face of danger from evils spirits, murderers, thieves etc. So you can also ask for protection against diseases. Such things are not just for you, alright. You can pray such things for your family, your co-workers, your local church and also for Christians who are being persecuted and face death for their faith in Christ. You have a right to stand in the gap for others before Christ. Now, these rights are just a small glimpse of your rights in the spiritual with Christ Jesus. I encourage you to be aware of all your rights whether civil, legal or spiritual and use them to keep away from harm for the glory of God.