I'm reminded again of the quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald, "You don't write because you want to say something; you write because you have something to say."
I can relate to those who are called to express the burdens within their hearts and thankful for the opportunity to share mine. These freedoms may not always be with us as the world is becoming aggressively opposed to God and his disciples. I write for several secular publications around the country, and I'm often warned about toning it down with Jesus as it might offend those who disagree. The subtle hint here is that being selective with my words would be better than having no platform at all. Many newspapers have already closed the door on spiritual content because of political, social and cultural resistance.
The Living on Purpose column is recognized as a source of encouragement and faith. Nevertheless, as a watchman, I must never ignore his warnings. Pastors and teachers will agree it's easier to talk about doctrines and biblical history, but it's a solemn responsibility and personal sacrifice to deliver a specific and urgent message from God himself.
In the Bible, when he would choose a servant he could trust, often their obedience brought persecution. For some, it cost them their lives. This is happening right now. I'm referring to those few individuals who are not afraid to speak divine truth about sin even if they are silenced with force. The religious "fluff" will continue adapting and compromising as a part of their self-preservation, but sadly this fear of offending is causing many churches to reconsider their stand against sin as a solution to maintain popularity while avoiding hostile spiritual warfare.
Along with most assemblies reinventing themselves, we notice a decline in the promotion of prayer. Why is this? Because the masses would rather be cozy and comfortable, to be entertained and listen to short "feel good" devotions that are nonthreatening. Serious prayer does not fit into this format, even though intercession generates the power of the Holy Spirit's presence in the services and increases discernment, anointing and maturity.
When prayer was removed from the public education system, the enemy won a major battle, but why do we not hear more about how the absence of a praying church causes a spiritually powerless nation? One reason is the average religious person only calls for prayer when they need something. If prayer was a top priority of Christians, there would be prayer meetings every day.
How often are we desperate for God? Do we anticipate him whispering for us to go somewhere private and seek him? I realize I talk about the human will all the time, but I do not apologize as it is the key to the meaning of life. Our free will is the command center within the human experience that has everything to do with our spiritual connection with our Creator.
Until the Word of God convicts the will and the mind is transformed to be completely dedicated to him, there can only be a hypocritical facade. If we choose to fill our minds with the poison of the world, we will not be convicted to pray or have a passion to walk in the awareness of his presence.
So why is the reverential fear of the Lord hardly mentioned anymore? Because the masses do not want to hear that lukewarmness is a result of being filled with more of the world than the Holy Spirit. We are what we think, and when we refuse to guard our minds, our conscience easily becomes contaminated. When pleasure becomes more important than pleasing God, our dirty heart separates us from him.
If we allow God to purify us with his refining fire, there is no way we can continue absorbing the corruption of wickedness. We have two choices: continue pledging allegiance to the darkness or become a living sacrifice for Christ. We can't love two masters, and being neutral is serving the darkness.
Beyond the motivational talks and inspirational stories, we must own all aspects of truth, and we must demonstrate what we confess. Until we surrender our will to him, we will not change.
We've heard about being born again, but not a lot about what it really means. When a person accepts Christ as their Savior and Lord, they no longer serve themselves. All control has been given over to their new Master, and to continue living exactly the same "after" we make our holy vow to Jesus is a fraud.
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