Monday, July 13, 2020

Who Are You Following - Jesus or Someone Else?

“I [Paul] say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” – Galatians 5:16-17

Perhaps you have heard or been part of this conversation. (Teenager) “Hey my friends are going to (fill in the blank) and asked me if I want to go. Can I go please?” (Parent) “No you are not going there.  (Teenager – whiny voice) “But everybody is going!” (Parent) “We have already talked about this. If your friends said they were going to jump off of a bridge, would you jump off with them? The answer is still no.” Teenager storms off to complain to their friends about how mean the parent is.

We all have a strong desire to go with the crowd. To be part of something.  To not be rejected. Especially during our teenage years when we are trying to figure out who we are.  But that motivation to conform our behavior to the majority really never ends.  Dr James Dobson once said that by the time a child reached age 12, their values have been shaped – by their parents. It is at that point that the parents’ influence begins to wane and the child’s peers influence becomes dominant.  As Christians, we struggle with the same influences – but it is between the spiritual and the natural.  The old nature and the new nature.  To believe what God has said or to yield to the world’s truth. The ways of the world are seasoned with enough Biblical truth to give it some credibility. To make it easier to accept and embrace.  And with the weight of the majority behind it, embracing the ways of the world is a lot easier. Add in the natural wisdom of the world and it makes sense – seems reasonable even.

I talk to Christians all the time who embrace beliefs that are clearly contrary to the Bible, but they are part of the culture they live in – part of the social or ethnic group they identify with – and push back if I suggest that as Christians, they are believing or behaving wrongly.  Like the teenager.  They use human wisdom – their emotions to guide their beliefs and actions. They try to justify their belief in an effort to not have to change it. Once we yield to the temptation to challenge God and choose the world, sin enters in. It doesn’t have to be a big thing – it can seem quite innocent – trivial – like the frog in the pot. But …..

Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” – 1 Corinthians 5:6-7

So what is my point.  I write these devotions with the hope that I can encourage some to brighten their light by walking after the Spirit and not the flesh. To recognize the spiritual battle that we are all engaged in.  The tug of war that is going on for our hearts’ devotion. To trust God who saved us and to follow the leading of the Spirit who dwells in us. Those who have been born again. The Youth Pastor at the church we attend spoke yesterday. He was addressing the graduating seniors. He said that a 2 year study on the difference between Christian and non-Christian teenagers revealed that they were indistinguishable from each other.  I would say that if a study was performed to compare the behavior and beliefs (what I mean by belief is what I act on not what I say I believe) they result would be the same.  Those who are reading this, might successfully argue that it is not true for them. But the temptation to follow the crowd – to yield to what the world says is true is strong – it is persistent – it is compelling – it may even seem reasonable if you are willing to ignore the Bible and the conviction or the Spirit.

How important is it to you for the world to embrace you – receive you as one if its own? You might tell me – that what the world thinks is not important – that you will always choose God –  maybe like Peter. We only believe the part of the Bible that we obey. But we want to convince ourselves that we believe all of it.

Then Jesus said to them, ‘All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered. But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.’ Peter said to Him, ‘Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.’ But he spoke more vehemently, ‘If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!’ And they all said likewise.” – Mark 14:27-31

Be the light!

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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