It is Time to Stand Tall
Take up the cross and follow Jesus—Not religion
Has the body of Christ in Western society become weak and anemic? Have we become self centered rather than Christ centered?
When this topic dropped into my spirit…I realized it was time to stop hiding in my comfort zone and again take my place as a member of the body Christ. Self has a hard time being nailed to a cross but in order to be a true disciple self must be crucified with Christ. We must like Paul say “not I but Christ”.
On social media I read believers shock and despair because other believers in other lands are being killed and tortured for their commitment to Christ. They despair when our politicians remove Christian standards and beliefs from our public spaces but allow other faiths to have free run.
We are not of this world but we live in it, is the life we are walking reading this is a follower of Jesus Christ, are we the letters he writes for the world to read or do they see something else?
When I see the hatred and hysterics of those opposed to anything to do with Jesus it confirms his WORD just as much as his blessing in our lives.
Mark 10:29-30 (NIV)
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.
Yes, when Jesus tells us to take up the cross and follow Him it will cost everything, but in turn we gain so much more if we truly every day decide to be dead in Christ instead of living for self.
It is a manmade gospel that tells us that we will not suffer in this life; anyone who has honestly read the scriptures and the lives of the disciples’ knows that along with the blessing of having a relationship with the living God, that in this world there is persecution.
So far much of what we as believers have suffered here in our Western Societies has more to do with our self-serving iterations of scripture rather than actual living out of scripture, and the life of Christ that flows from the disciple of Jesus whose life is hide in Him.
1 Peter 4:12-16 (NIV)
Suffering for Being a Christian
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
Verse 15 indicates that if we suffer because of our soulish behaviour it is our own fault and we need again lay our lives at the foot of the cross, there is shame when our own unchristen like behaviour brings dishonor to the body of Christ. I do not want to go into examples of this kind of behavior as we are all at one time or other guilty of some form of it, the Holy Spirit if we are honestly open to Him will show you the error and enable your repentance.
Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV)
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
This chapter in Matthew is a great place to begin to understand how Jesus wants us to live and what our attitudes will be when our lives are hid in Him. (a big ouch to the flesh)
Today to many ‘Christians’ have no idea what the Bible actually says, and only know what someone has told them it says…we need to read the Bible for ourselves and learn what it really teaches.
Acts 17:10-12 (NIV)
10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
This I believe is the first step we must take if we are to be salt and light in our world today we must know what Jesus lived and taught! It is the only way we will be able to stand in this hour fully clothed in the armour of God.(Eph. 6:16-18)
If we continue as a bless me club, and not the living out working of the life of Christ, we will perish without honor, but if we will gird up our lions, take up our cross and crucify self and walk each day the crucified life when real persecution comes and it will, the body of Christ will again be a force to be reckoned with in the earth.