Paul tells us to work out our own salvation with fear and with trembling (Phil 2:12). This tells me that the life of a true believer is not one of continuous sunshine and easiness. Being a Christ follower is a fight to the finish. It is a fight because it goes against our fleshly nature. We no longer belong to ourselves, we belong to Christ and we can’t just do what our flesh desires for us to do. It is war because we have a worthy adversary who is always on the job, working to make us throw in the towel. The ultimate deceiver does not want us to mature in Christ, he wants us to remain as we are – weak, corrupt, and spiritually dead. He wants us to buy into today’s pseudo-christianity, into its form of godlessness.
It is very easy in this day and time to call oneself a Christian, believer, or even a true believer. Many wear “I’m a Christian” on their sleeves. Today there are T-shirts, jewelry, bumper stickers, tattoos, and various other signs that many use to identify with the Christian religion. I believe that is a problem.
Jesus did not ask us to identify with him via trinkets and slogans. We have traded holy living for “identifying with Him” in a fashionable, flesh appeasing way. We no longer desire the Holy Spirit’s empowerment in order to live as we should; we want to get to heaven on our own terms. Our Christianity is a worthless shadow of its original counterpart. No longer a way of life, it has (for many) become a religion from which no one will see God. With being a true believing child of God comes a way of life. It is a lifestyle that encompasses everything to do with us, even those so called “little things” we choose to ignore or excuse away.
We each come to Christ as we are; however, we cannot remain as we are and go to that place He has prepared for those who love Him (John 14:3). Transformation must take place. We MUST allow God make us new. God, however, is not going to force us bend to His will. We have work to do. Those who like the flesh-appealing, bubble gum gospel of today will most likely scoff at my saying we have work to do. To them I say read the Word.
After salvation the work of transformation begins. Are you willing to be transformed, is the question we must ask ourselves. Are we willing to, as Paul says, beat our bodies into subjection? As a matter of fact, Paul explains this life in Christ as a race, and he tells us to run as one who will receive the prize. Just as athletes in training practice SELF-CONTROL in ALL things, we who run this Christian race must do the same! (2 Corinthians 9:24-27)
People like to justify their behavior; Christian people are often no different. If we are to exhibit self-control, discipline, in every area – then it must it must be in our behavior and speech as well. If my fuse is longer than yours it may take me a little longer to pop off at the mouth than you. However, if I give in to my flesh and we go at it, I am no better than you; we both need to repent. A lack of self-control is a lack of self-control. It is evidence that,
- we do not have the Holy Spirit of God or
- we just ignore and grieve the Holy Spirit of God.
Two wrongs do not make a right, no matter how much we try to excuse our own behavior.
Many professing Christians today seem to think we have no responsibility in the life we live. It takes more than repeating a prayer and signing your name to a church role to be a true believer in Christ. It takes more than good Christian conversation and church attendance. It takes obedience to the Lord, even when it hurts. Over the next few weeks we will examine closely the characteristics of true saints of God; the noticeable difference the Bible teaches must be between the wicked and the righteous.
Think About It: The reason the true saints from days gone by were so different is because they obediently yielded to the Holy Spirit and allowed personal transformation to take place; they did not make excuses for their un-Christlike ways. They also realized their own depravity.
Get an understanding of your own depravity and you won’t be so hard other people. Get an understanding of your own depravity, without Christ, and your salvation will be to you, more precious than gold!
Look it up: Depravity
Jer 17:9; Jer 13:23; Ecc 9:3; Eph 2:1-3; Psalm 58:3; Isaiah 64:6; 1 Cor 2:14; Rom 7:18; Rom 8:7-8
Until next time,