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Are You Being Swerved?

December 7, 2008

II Corinthians 5:14-15 “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead.: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him that died for them, and rose again.”

This thought has been on my mind for a couple of weeks; to be in a place where we unwaveringly serve the Lord Jesus. We report to him, seek his will, and carry out that which he would have us do. That this obediance would be uncompromised by our own feelings or desires, the opinions of those around us, the appearance of physical barriers, or what have you. I fear that few of us (once again including myself here) are at a place where we are completely unhindered by the concern for fallout in the physical realm.  For example, if the Lord revealed to us that we were to fly to Kumasi, travel down the main road to the outskirts of town, and seek out a particular widow lady who would give us further instruction, many of us would reason it away with a plethura of excuses.

We may have no problem with little things; those issues that don’t demand a complete abandoning of our comfort zone and allow us to pursue the worlds version of living the dream. But something like this would probably launch many of us into excuse mode such as:

  • I’m out of vacation time at work.
  • I don’t speak the language.
  • I can’t afford it because I just paid Morgans cell phone bill.
  • Everyone will think I’m crazy.
  • There might be terrorists in those hills.
  • I’m not finished with school.
  • I have to help put new siding on the church.
  • “I have bought a piece of ground and I must needs go and see it.”
  • My significant other won’t tolerate this.
  • I’ll miss “American Idolatry” (Sorry; I couldn’t resist)

The list of excuses, mingled with logic, could go on indefinately. Many saints; especially in the west, are beholden to the status quo of growing up, finishing our education, entering our chosen profession, marrying, retiring, and enjoying the golden years. We can also throw into the mix “warming a pew throughout these stages of life, and conforming to the others in our fellowship.” We tend to have a somewhat limited mindset and while we may agree theologically that we must forsake all and follow Jesus, the practical application of this is much harder to grasp. To arrive at a place spiritually, where we have let go of every single holdout and our only desire is to serve the Lord Jesus is something that we cannot accomplish in our own power.

Using myself as a “much less extreme” example, many things are on my heart concerning street ministry, however, my complex home life hinders the amount of time that is spent in this venue. Sometimes unavoidable circumstances arise, however, on a few occasions, I’ve allowed opposition at home to hinder that which the Lord has placed on my heart. We cannot serve two masters and when the Lord places something on our hearts, we must see to it. It’s quite possible that one of the trips to Kalamazoo or Elkhart which didn’t come to pass carried with it someones final opportunity to hear about Jesus. How imperative it is for us to say “Thy will be done” and mean it in sincerety; taking no thought for the physical ramifications or how it may appear to those who love this present world. (They won’t get it unless the Lord opens their eyes and so keeping them in prayer is a must)

Jesus preached a message of “forsaking all and following him.” Anything of this world that is allowed to maintain a branch office in our heart gives the enemy a strategic advantage over us. If we love money, it will be our downfall. If we place family above the Lord, they may well become the point of temptation where we fail to maintain our testimony. One of the most chilling things that I’ve ever heard concerned a couple of E-mails that Steve Quayle once received. They came from two different ladies and both asked him if during the tribulation they could be forgiven for taking the mark in order to provide for their families.” A self-preservation mentality to the point where one resorts to injecting carnal logic into scriptural interpretation may well be a key contributor to the great falling away. This next verse sounds harsh if not properly understood, but reveals the need to make Jesus our absolute first love.

Luke14:26-27 “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross cannot be my disciple.”

Of course we don’t “hate” them in the sense that we usually think of the word, but we must ensure that Jesus is first and that means placing his will above the wants of others and entrust him in all things. (Psalm 37:25 is very comforting and I Corinthians 7:10-16 is very instructive) In fact, remaining faithful to Jesus, with the joy of the Lord manifest in our lives; despite opposition from those we love will make manifest that our faith is real and not just another of the worlds religious formats. There was a time when it really looked as though my wife would depart and in prayer I said “Lord; I’m determined to follow you regardless of what happens in this situation.” I was serious then and remain so today. Today my wife is in church and while I have concern over certain things she’s getting a steady dose of Gods word that “will not” and “can not” return void.

This is a side note, but I remember the first time that she came with me. During worship, my thoughts were going “Uh oh, she’s not going to understand this.” The Lord immediately reminded me to just “Let God be God.” We usually see just a sliver of the big picture as we cannot see the wrestlings going on in ones heart.  The Lord is doing a marvellous work in this family; even in those times when, from my point of view, little seems to be happening. One more familiar verse:

II Timothy 2:4 “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath called him to be a soldier.”

To be sold out completely to Jesus. As our affections are set on things above, the snares of this present world lose their grip and we become, what Paul described as “betwixt” desiring to go and be with Jesus, and yet desiring to further the gospel in this world. Once we become completely heavenly minded, we will be of the most earthly good and a city that’s set upon a hill.  The age is concluding and the final stragglers are coming into the kingdom. The moment will arrive when the final saint will have come into the ark of safety. That final saint may well be a guy at the post office or the lady who teaches geometry at the high school.

Well, I’ll close for now. I wish to all a blessed week in Jesus.

Psalm 86:11 “Teach me thy way O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.”

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5 comments

  1. First of all, just what do you mean by “golden years.” That’s that? 🙂
    And for those who have left anything for the cause of Christ there is Luke 18:29-30. Wow! I wonder if that means that if I’m faithful and leave everything for Christ that I’ll get a new wife AND kids. Frankly I think I’m too old for either.

    But…if the Lord were to call me into a difficult mission or ministry, the first thing I would do is to pray with her about it and ask her to seek the Lord herself about it then let me know what He has said to her. Actually we may be facing such a quandary in the not to distant future.

    The Lord gave Marie to me for a reason. She’s a part of me and I sooner leave an arm behind as to leave her. Now, don’t get me wrong, I would leave that arm if need be but the Lord knows that two arms are usually better than one and I’ve learned over the years that she can hear the Lord when I sometimes can’t.

    I think that Jesus is leading us to a relization that anything, including a wife or family or home or job or money or church, that keeps us from being obedient to His will is not worth keeping.

    Very thought provoking post Timbob.


  2. Thanks for this. I’m glad to hear your wife is going to church with you. I needed to hear this as we never know what is truly going on in their hearts. My manager started going to church with me within the last month and he asks me if I’ve gone on my own when he is not here on the weekends. It’s truly a miracle in my eyes. Pray for him, and I will continue to pray for your family.


  3. Good evening Jerald. Without a doubt, the Lord instituted the family from the very beginning and what God has joined no man should pull asunder. I also know that the family is under incredible attack in these times. This post was primarily to focus on keeping Jesus first above all. In my case, while there was a few times where it loked as though this household would come apart, we have remained together. In fact, during one such time of uncertainty, I told Kimmy that if any departing were to take place, she would have to do the departing. She’s still putting up with me and I am greatful.

    Something that I forgot to mention in the post. She’s not so set against my going into the streets as she was initially. I think that she’s more concerned about the kind of eras that I tend to visit. I hope that this didn’t come across as hard or insensitive. It addressed an issue that’s been on my heart for some time; that of allowing people or things take us from our first love.

    Thanks so much for commenting. Have a blessed day in Jesus.

    Tell Marie that I said “hi”


  4. Hi Code. This is awesome and I definately will pray for your manager. We never know what’s going on in the heart of another. Truly Goid gives the increase and it’s awesome. Thanks for sharing this with me.

    have a blessed evening in Jesus.


  5. Timbob, My comment was not meant to be judgmental in any way. Marie and I have had our own “issues” over the years. I think that things began to change for us when we started reading the ‘One Year Bible’ together every evening and then having a time of prayer before bed. One of the things that it accomplished that I was not aware of in the beginning was it focused my attention on what we were doing together without any distractions.
    I’ve discovered that my wife relishes my undivided attention at times. Then things began to be changed by the Holy Spirit because of Ephesians 5: 25 – 27. I was being obedient to do what I had been called to do: I was washing my wife with the “pure water of the word.” And, I also discovered that the person washing can’t do it without their own hands getting clean too. I was getting the clean hands and pure heart that God wanted me to have.
    In past years we’ve been challenged to enter ministry areas that were unexplored and a little scary. Now adays the Lord may be taking us out on the edge once again. I could do it alone but having her by my side really seals it for me.
    Marie is a work in progress as I am and Kimmy may be too. I’ll pray that the both of you are made suitable for the work that the Lord has given you.

    By the way, I love reading your posts. They are always well prepared, from the heart and thought provoking.

    Blessings to you and Kimmy from our house.



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