Sunday July 25th, 2010
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Oh course all the pastors say it, and I cannot ignore it. “If you ever see a therefore in scripture look back to see what the therefore is there for.” So I did, and back in verse 17 of chapter 3, we see, “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love.” Therefore, since Christ is in our hearts, I (meaning Paul,) a prisoner of God beseech (which means to beg or more in this case, command,) you to walk worthy of the calling with which you are called. What are you called to? What job or what task did God give you to do? Are you doing it, Wanda? I would also consider myself a prisoner to Christ, but being a prisoner in Christ is like hanging out in a city jail while the world out there is starving and killing each other. Sure, you can’t leave, but you don’t want to. It’s warm when it’s cold outside and cool when it’s hot outside. You get three meals a day, exercise time, and the same bars that keep you in keep others out. I would rather be a prisoner of Christ than “free” in the world. I put quotes around free because we are never truly free. If Christ does not reign in us, then our desires do. If not our desires, then our sense of morality which is a lie from Satan. Satan is the one that tells you that you only have to be a good person to go to heaven. God says that no one is good. (Romans 3:23) Satan tells you that love and peace are possible no matter what religion you are or who is God. God says that He alone is God (Umm.. The whole Bible) and His peace surpasses all understanding and guards our hearts and our minds. (Philippians 4:7) We are all prisoners of someone, God just gives us the power to choose who. I choose Christ. I call myself a prisoner, a bondservant, a willing slave. He calls me an heir, a son, a child. It’s a good relationship. The more I think I deserve something, the less I deserve it. I must decrease so that He may increase. (Okay Wanda, Here’s a challenge. Find out where in the Bible that verse is from and who said it. If you win, you get to keep reading. If you don’t, I will trust you to hang your head in shame and call a friend to help you before continuing to read.
Okay. Good. You found it. So as a prisoner of the Lord, I cannot really go out giving commands. I wish I could just command you to follow the Lord and to work worthy of your calling, but I can’t. I don’t have that authority. I cannot judge whether or not you are because I have my own calling with which to concern myself. However, I would encourage and exhort (that means that I would persuade you to action) you to figure out what God wants you to do and then to do it, no matter how hard or impossible that it may seem. I don’t want you to take a Spiritual Gift Assessment test. Just go to the source. Get into a quiet place and pray and listen. He will speak. If He doesn’t, just wait longer. We don’t have to constantly listen to music or watch TV. Our brains can and should be stimulated in the presence of God and Him alone. Would you decide not to go to heaven if you found out that you can’t bring your iPod? (You can’t. You’ll have to leave it here.) So turn it off, whatever it is, and get someplace where it’s just you and God and pray and listen. (Check out James 4:8)
Once you know what God wants you to do, then go out and do it. Don’t act special because you have a job. Just go and do it. I know that God has put it in my heart to teach. So I teach whoever will listen. I will teach kids or grown-ups or dogs if I have to. (My dog doesn’t care much for teaching, and treats only last so long.) I’ve given the Gospel to my bedroom ceiling plenty of times in different ways using different text. I’m to tell people about Jesus, offer the invitation, and encourage and exhort them to a right relationship with Him. Does this mean I’m better than others? Absolutely not. I don’t know all the answers, but I know the one who does. I just ask, listen, and wait for an answer. God talks to me through prayers and through His Word. Sometimes He tells me what I need to hear, but most of the time, He sends me flipping through my Bible because although it’s enough to convince me that God told me, other people wouldn’t and shouldn’t take me at my word. My word isn’t worth anything compared to God’s Word. I’m going to stand on that and from that will I place my foundations of thought. I don’t always understand everything I read either, nor do I always read the things I understand, but what I do know, I proclaim to you without hesitation. Jesus is Lord and He has made a way to the Father. It’s through Him and it’s through the cross. It’s a hard road, but it’s worth it. Are you worthy to walk it? It has nothing to do with your abilities. In fact, your abilities are a hinderance on this road. This road is a road for the broken, for the weak, for the sick, and for the poor. Whatever you had, leave it at the feet of Jesus and leave it at the cross. God wants you and only you. No baggage allowed. He will sustain. He will provide. He will supply. You just walk in faith that if you get hungry, food will be given before you starve to death if you just keep walking. If you’re thirsty, trust that water would appear before you die of dehydration. The food is the Word of God and the Holy Spirit is the Water. Eat and drink fully as much as you can take. Put it to practice. That is what you are called to, so do it.
When you do it, whatever God has for you, be wary of spiritual pride. I don’t even like jokes about it. What if someone takes you seriously when you’re joking? What if the adage of there is a bit of truth in every lie is true and you cover up your real spiritual pride by saying it’s a joke? What if you are hiding it even from your own self? In everything you do, consider yourself least and a servant of all as Jesus commanded. Be gentle, so that no one is injured physically or spiritually. It is not your job to punish or pronounce judgment, but God’s. Even if someone has wronged you, God claims vengeance as His. You live at peace with all men. (Check out Romans 12) But instead, love those who hate you and bless those who persecute you. (Check out Matthew 5:44) Show love. Pursue peace. Suffer long for the sake of others. It is in this way that you will be most like Christ.