Saturday, October 19, 2013

the offense of turning to holiness

Yesterday, I was conversing with friends on how offended people can get when they hear God's Word, and how angry we can become when challenged to actively apply God's commands to our personal lives.

For you see, God is attractive when the thought of Him promotes sunshine and goodness, health and blessings.  But when we are called to obey God... when we are forced to make a hard choice against our own wants and desires and choose to follow His ways over our own... well, that is when the rubber really meets the road, isn't it? That is when we either choose to do what is right or we choose our sin and find offense in God's direction.  Usually when we choose the latter, we end up rationalizing to ourselves that we are victims to a heartless God who has it in for us.  Or rather, we are pawns to a distant God who doesn't understand our particular situation or needs, but still expects us to live just so. Hmm.

I find that many who profess Jesus as Lord like the idea of Jesus being their Savior, but don't actually allow Him to save them from their sin.  They don't actually turn to Him.  Nor do they adopt His new life as their own.  Instead, they would rather just feel safe in knowing that God is there... somewhere, but forgo the crucial part of following His teachings or seeking His path.  Sure, they are quick to praise God's Name when things go their way - when life follows THEIR plans.  But if the stars don't align to their liking, all bets are off and they quietly sweep God under the carpet and continue doing things their way.  

Society today is accustom to showing offense to what they disagree with.  In a world consumed with sin and selfishness, it is certain that God's Holy Word will always be in disagreement against man's desire.  So, it is inevitable that those who belong to Jesus and speak His truth outlined in scripture will inevitably be criticized and rebuked for what God says.

For example: If a Christian openly stands against homosexuality, they will undoubtedly offend someone who has chosen to sin against God in this fashion.  But we are consistently told in scripture that homosexual activity is a sin (Genesis 19:1-13; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9). Romans 1:26-27 teaches specifically that homosexuality is a result of denying and disobeying God. Most importantly, 1 Corinthians 6:9 proclaims that homosexual “offenders” will not inherit the kingdom of God.  Now, upon hearing this information many will take offense and likely send me all forms of hate mail.  They will claim that their lifestyle is under attack and their freedoms are being challenged.  But would you not agree that "not inheriting the kingdom of God" is a vital truth that we must (in love) warn others against?  Would you not agree that their eternal well-being is monumentally important?  Of course!!!

Because of this, we must never soft pedal over what scripture says or become shy to share God's plan of redemption to any who will listen.  We must always live prayerfully, respecting every individual enough to share God's saving truth.  We must live out our love and always approach such matters with Christ at the core - trusting the Holy Spirit to show Jesus through our words and deeds and not worrying over who we offend when we present The Way.  For God hates sin, but he desperately, romantically, generously and fully loves people.  So much that He gave His only Son in order to save people from their sin... sin that would result in their eternal death and spiritual demise.

Unfortunately, many people would rather deny God's love and quietly continue sinning.  They would rather not turn to Jesus for redemption.  Whether engaging in unholy physical relations or abusing their minds with corruption - those who will not turn to God will be offended when He calls them out and instructs them to seek after His holiness.  Instead, they will kick and scream like children holding a temper tantrum against their Father.  They will reject, deny and redirect the focus off themselves and negatively onto the One who only wants what is ultimately best for them.

Jesus knew this.  The Bible tells us that some people will be offended at the gospel.  However, as followers of Christ, we are commanded to share the gospel.  We are told to boldly tell others God's Word.  In fact, there is no excuse for not doing so (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 3:15).

"I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law." (Luke 12:49-53)

Ladies, I challenge you to consider if you are still choosing to sin while covering it up by self-proclaiming yourself as a victim or a forgotten child of God.  I encourage you to get into His Word and seek out and follow His Ways.  Ask yourself, are you really following Jesus in your daily life? Are you setting aside selfishness and personal expectation and turning to Him in every area?  Or is God just a nice idea for you to hold onto when the weather is good?  When the sun is shining?

I further challenge every Christian to boldly stand for what is true and live in alignment with what God has said in His Word... no matter what the cost... no matter who reacts in offense.  Rather upset those whose hearts are already turned over to Satan than offend your Heavenly Father who is control of all eternity.  Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)

In conclusion, let's meditate on His Word today (and every day).  Let's follow the teachings of the Father who cares for us most and choose to turn to a life of holiness.  A life that bears the image of our Savior, Jesus Christ!

Rather, worship the LORD your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies. (2 Kings 17:39)

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. (Psalm 84:10)

"But am I the one they are provoking?" declares the LORD. "Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame?" (Jeremiah 7:19)

Say to them, "As surely as I live," declares the Sovereign LORD, "I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?" (Ezekiel 33:11)

If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. (Deuteronomy 8:19)

The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice. (Proverbs 12:15)

A wise son heeds his father's instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke. (Proverbs 13:1)

The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death. (Proverbs 13:14)

A wise man fears the LORD and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless. (Proverbs 14:16)

A mocker resents correction; he will not consult the wise. (Proverbs 15:12)

He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. (Proverbs 15:31)

As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, "Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you." He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it." (Luke 11:27-28)

Blessings, ladies!
Blog Posting Written By Victoria Anderson
  

2 comments:

  1. If I had of known this Truth years ago when I first got saved, Wow, what a difference my life would have been. But God worked it all out, and now I truly look to My Father for the truths listed in HIS WORD. But sometimes just like children, we want to do it our way, but God's Ways are so much better!!

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  2. Oh how true Gods word is!!!! For He gives confirmations to drive every doubt away. My pastor just preached on this very topic...and who among His children is BOLD enough to stand on the WORD of GOD to allow His complete TRUTH change us and not only pick out which part we want to follow. I'm blessed by every blog you post! Thanks ...

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