p.1 Challenges to your “Christianity”
As believers in Jesus we are called to be ministers, to reconcile people to the Lord BY the Gospel. This can take time, patience, long suffering.
It can be easy to forget what has initially happened to us when we first believed. We have the world, the flesh and the Devil opposing us constantly. The world can chip away at our beliefs even swallow us up in its ways to make us ineffective. On the other hand, we can be so zealous that pride can find a place in us and taint what we do and also make us ineffective by deluding us that we have such great power.
If we continually humble our-self and submit to the Word, keep our armor on and have a defense against what opposes us daily. Remember we do not wrestle e against flesh or blood, there is an invisible war going on that influences people.
Not only are we to disciple others but we are to try and keep each other accountable.
There are those whose knowledge of Scripture in their memory excel. But when they are confronted with challenges, this knowledge becomes sedimentary and they react as immature children, emotionally. Showing what they believe biblically is not in place.
Some have no desire to actually help persons in need, they are only about being right.
God is just as concerned with our attitude, our motivation and intentions, than just OUR knowledge. As Paul said in 1 Cor. 13:2 “ And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
Love means being other centered, which is to be used to encourage someone, as well as correct them if they go astray. If we do not get this, then we should stop ministering and reassess what we are doing and whom we are serving. As we are admonished “ Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12)
One of the descriptions of love from Paul is that love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6). If you are walking in love you do not fear the truth but embrace it. Even if it hurts you or another. For truth can wound but also correct one back onto the right path.
John wrote To THE ELDER (who he left in charge of the Church), “To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth,” later writing 3 Jn. 1:4-5 “ I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers”
They had no hypocrisy they treated all in love and the truth was the focus of their lives.
People are looking for practical teaching that will help them grow and live out their faith. We are to be a help when we can, and minister Christ to believers and unbelievers alike. Love must be present, this love is seen by being patient and longsuffering, but it does not compromise what is true.
Is truth a theory or is it the focus of your life? Is truth what you believe but not what you stand for when the opportunity of what is false presents itself? Is truth your compass in life or just what you use to accomplish your goals?
Liars are found everywhere, in fact, there is such a small percentage of people that keep their word and have integrity these days, real honesty is hard to find, even among friends. It’s certainly not being taught, not even in the Church. The most detestable liars are religious liars, and there are in abundance in our day.
God is looking for us to be sincere, pure in heart as Jesus fills us with His Spirit to pour our lives into others. They should see Jesus, not us. When we are less than honest or betray a brother, that relationship is severed and needs repair. The only thing that brings it back is honesty with repentance. This must be done as quickly as possible, or it builds opposition. The mature believer will always be quicker to reconcile when told they have offended someone.
Its pride that keeps us from humbling ourselves to admit we were wrong. Its pride that keeps one from looking in the mirror to see the truth. But truth always confronts what is false, and when it is done with the right intentions it will most often yield good fruit.
You can have right motives and do something wrong, you can have a wrong motive and do something right; or, you can have right motives and do something right. God’s way will result in God’s will being done; and the peace of God will follow.
Our detachment in pursuing the truth, covering it up or ignoring it reveals we have a cold indifferent heart.
Paul wrote to a church he nurtured that were being misled by law keepers who claimed to be believers in Christ “ Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth? (Gal. 4:16). He needed to bring them back into the grace he first taught them, so God can mature them.
The deceived see the positive in what is error, while those who discern will see both the good and bad, unfortunately the bad outweighs the good in our day and needs to be addressed.
Some people live under a self - made delusion that because they have a position of a pastor, or they are admired as teacher, they think they are never wrong. There some people who seem to have great knowledge of the Word and are so dependent on their knowledge they justify their wrong actions when they act contrary to the nature of Jesus, the Word.
It is those that do not adhere to biblical instruction when it’s necessary
that get themselves and others in trouble. It’s one thing to have oneself
wander off, it’s a whole different matter when you lead others into your
Some people will say anything to keep their reputation intact, sometimes they don’t realize they are doing it, other times they purposely do it. People build careers on small lies, they exaggerate on their abilities and experiences. So when they get in their position they coveted, they are unable to do it correctly.
We are told in Deut. 16:19 "You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.”
Prov. 15:3 “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.”
Ps 11:4 “The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven; his eyes behold, his eyelids test the sons of men.”
Heb. 4:12 “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Jer. 20:12: “ But, O LORD of hosts, you who test the righteous, and see the mind and heart ”
The heart of the matter is ‘the heart.’ How you think.
Living in the truth is not saying my heart was right in what I did. Maybe yes, maybe no. We do not measure truth by our heart but by a greater standard, one that is objective and is not subjective to human feelings and emotions.
Jer. 17:9-10 " The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings .”
Some claim that our heart is changed, it can no longer be deceitful. Last time I read the Bible it said we have a fleshly fallen human nature to live with (though our Spirit is renewed, it is still not perfect).
There are times we do not know why we do things. We can train ourselves in righteousness and can often act in a godly manner, but not always, we still fail. Because we still have the fallen nature. Looking into the mirror of the Word tells us this. If it doesn’t, then we are not really paying attention to what we see, to our thoughts and actions to others, or, our conscience has been damaged.
What about good intentions? Cain had a good intentions but God found it unacceptable. You can be sincerely wrong and have good intentions, or not have good intentions on purpose.
We can’t simply lower expectations to be comfortable in our mistakes, we should strive for excellence in our living and our relationships, and that means keeping our word. To keep our word to others we must be willing to obey His Word.
Our goal should be to “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord :” (Heb. 12:14) It may not always turn out to be successful but we are expected to do our part, and God will do his.
p2. Our serving the Lord