Tuesday, January 12, 2016
waking up from the altar of self
We live in scary and uncertain times. We live in a world where strong economies are unstable and fragile. We live in a world where peaceful freedoms come with a corrupt cost. We live in a world driven by the ugliness of fake beauty and the wealthiness of insecure power. We live in a world where problems are so complex that it is easier to give in, give over, give up. We live in a world where our acceptance and tolerance to worldly things and selfish lifestyles have further positioned the enemy to prowl around our homes, our communities, our countries... waiting to strike. Waiting to dissolve our families. Waiting to empty our churches. Waiting for our children and grandchildren to be unfamiliar with biblical truths. The enemy is scheming every moment to get each and every Christian to become so much in denial and desperate for their own comfort that they would surrender to ANYTHING just to feel safe and satisfied. Some would even renounce their beliefs and follow false faiths just to prevent harm, discomfort or persecution. This is where we live. A time when men have bowed down to worship at the altar of SELF.
Friends, the idolatry of SELF has at its core the three lusts found in 1 John 2:16: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” The idols of today are many and varied. Even for those who do not bow down in the physical sense before a statue, today our world has fallen victim to the worst forms of idolatry... pride, self-centeredness, greed, gluttony, a love for possessions and an ultimate rebellion against God and His Word.
As Matthew Henry put it... "The world draws the heart from God; and the more the love of the world prevails, the more the love of God decays. The things of the world are classed according to the three ruling inclinations of depraved nature.
1. The lust of the flesh, of the body: wrong desires of the heart, the appetite of indulging all things that excite and inflame sensual pleasures.
2. The lust of the eyes: the eyes are delighted with riches and rich possessions; this is the lust of covetousness.
3. The pride of life: a vain man craves the grandeur and pomp of a vain-glorious life; this includes thirst after honour and applause.
The things of the world quickly fade and die away; desire itself will ere long fail and cease, but holy affection is not like the lust that passes away. The love of God shall never fail. Many vain efforts have been made to evade the force of this passage by limitations, distinctions, or exceptions. Many have tried to show how far we may be carnally-minded, and love the world; but the plain meaning of these verses cannot easily be mistaken. Unless this victory over the world is begun in the heart, a man has no root in himself, but will fall away, or at most remain... unfruitful. Yet these vanities are so alluring to the corruption in our hearts, that without constant watching and prayer, we cannot escape the world, or obtain victory over the god and prince of it."
I challenge you today to take a hard look at the things you are allowing and accepting in your life. I also challenge you to stand up and stop being negligent any longer to things that are not of the Lord. He has called you to follow Him... really FOLLOW HIM. It is not easy - but it is right and healthy and good. I say this in love... like an alarm clock going off... WAKE UP! His Kingdom is coming!!!
I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. (Revelation 3:1-3)
Following Jesus is our only hope to LIVE. He challenges all this world offers... He gives true certainty. He is stable and strong. He is peace. He gives freedom. He is beautiful. He is wealthy. He is the Redeemer... the Restorer... The Day Spring. With Jesus, we are conquerors. We have health. We have family. We have truth. We are secure and fulfilled and safe. He is the ONLY answer. Let Him take over and remove the altar of self from your life as you abide in Him fully.
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. (WAKE UP! Is this in your life?) Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, (How about this?)... but rather thanksgiving.
For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person — such a man is an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:
"Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you."
Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, (Every opportunity is a choice to follow JESUS!) because the days are evil.
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. (Do you know the Lord's will? Do you know His Word?) Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:3-21)
Dear readers, I love you... so please, WAKE UP! Stop hitting the snooze button any longer! Stop laying under a covering of what you know to be unpleasing to God and get up and live for Jesus today! If you truly believe God’s Word, then cherish it, study it, obey it, and fully trust it. To dismiss His Word is to dismiss God Himself. Do not give into the sin of this scary and uncertain world. Follow the Way... FOLLOW HIM!
Do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime... clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Romans 13:11-14)
Wake up... Wake up.... In Jesus Name... WAKE UP!
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