How to be a Winner for Christ!
All bible quotes not otherwise marked are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016)
Learning to Yield
We all like to be successful in this life. If you are competitive like me you have spent a lot of energy trying to figure out how to win. Usually that energy is exerted through our own effort and sweat. This approach to life is very normal but it runs counter to the way to win as a servant of Christ. As Christians, we’ve been indwelt by the Holy Spirit and He is our guide. Often as we go through life we will be moved by the Spirit to take some action for God’s purposes. When we listen or yield to that still small voice within us, we are filled by the Holy Spirit and we act with the full power of our gifts given us at the moment we accepted Christ as our savior. The power that flows through us is far greater than anything we can do alone.
4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world
The power of the Holy Spirit that is in us is greater than Satan.
When I spoke above about being filled with the Holy Spirit, I was talking about the Holy Spirit being in control. If God is your co-pilot, then you are only going to really be flying when he becomes the main pilot. So yielding to the Holy Spirit is the way to success.
What keeps us from Yielding? Fear
I was recently thinking of the movie the Empire Strikes Back and Yoda’s advice to Luke Skywalker.
“Fear is the path to the Dark Side.” “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” — Yoda
I thought to myself, is there any truth to this claim? Is Yoda actually stealing an idea that comes from God? Did George Lucas plagiarize the bible? I won’t go that far but the ideas expressed by our little friend Yoda from the movie have some biblical roots.
1 John 4:18
18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
Love is the antidote to fear. So if fear drives out love what if fear wins? Then hate wins.
5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”
I noticed verse 5 and brought it in though I was originally only going for verse 6. God here seems to be saying why we should not love money. He will never forsake us so there is no need to love money. Why then were we loving money? We were insecure. We were afraid.
The emphasis here though is that God is with us. We are His servants on this earth. When we go to be with Him our work here is done. This time on earth then is a time of work. We are to focus on our mission for Christ. Thus the name of this blog. We need to be about the Lord’s business. Life is short and all that matters is what we do for him.
4 “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Jesus is speaking here. The title of this section in the ESV is “Have No Fear” which I think is appropriate. We are God’s children. We should fear letting Him down. We should fear the creator of the universe who holds us in His hands. Those of you who are lost should fear the fires of Hell.
What we should not fear are those who can kill the body. In the new testament days being killed for your faith was going to get steadily more probably. After Nero, Christians were regularly getting fed to the lions.
What sort of fears do American Christians deal with? They think they will hurt their friends feelings. Oh my I think their friend will be more disappointed that you held the keys to eternal life and didn’t warn them. That friend burning in hell is not going to appreciate your delicacy in broaching such matters.
Some of you may even be afraid that others in your social circle will think you are weird. In some circles that might even include some of your church members, God forbid! You don’t want to have people think you are a Jesus freak.
18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you
We are to expect to be opposed and hated if we are following Jesus. If you aren’t ever experiencing opposition in your life then you aren’t making anyone uncomfortable. We need to make people uncomfortable. We don’t want them going to Hell in their comfy chairs.
“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” — Charles Spurgeon
I figured after quoting Yoda I should redeem my reputation by quoting Charles Spurgeon. He is right. I want all of my friends who go to Hell to remember all the times I fought for them. I want them to remember all the times I presented the gospel to them. I don’t want them wondering why I never cared enough to share my faith.
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Here we have Paul explaining that we are not to be conformed to the world. We should not care what the world thinks. We should care what God thinks.
Christians Today and the Culture of Fear
There is a culture of ear amongst many Christians today that is very unbiblical. First, most of the things being feared are disturbingly trivial compared to what the new testament church faced. Fought any lions in the arena lately?
America is a land where Christianity as least culturally has been on top for a long time. I’m not certain that equates to true believers doing as the Lord wills has been dominant. If so I think we would never have gotten to where we are today. Today we have a secular country that is drifting away from Christianity. So how do you start with the majority of people in a nation being sold out Christians utterly yielded to the leading of God and end up with a secular culture that despises the church? You don’t.
We never had a country full of sold out Christians utterly yielded to the will of God. If we ever had that we would be setting the world on fire. Even the great awakenings that swept America for Christ were movements of Christians yielding to God’s calling. They were hardly a majority. Even a small group though did great things. Imagine If the entire country were sold out for Jesus. We’d see a world shaken to it’s foundations top to bottom. That is what we’d see. It’s not what has been though and it’s not likely to ever be.
So what are we to do? We are to focus on our mission. That mission will contribute to the greater cause of making disciples of all nations. We will either be leading people to the Lord, training them up, or helping others do those things. I am writing this blog to keep my own mind on MY mission for Christ and to help YOU with your mission for Christ. We are a team. If you know Jesus as your savior, I am your brother.
Nowadays, Christians are overly caught up in politics. They act as though politics and political battle is the way to keep their nation a “Christian” nation. I’m for voting. Go vote. But if you think politics is going to change hearts and turn people back to Christ, you are sorrowfully mistaken. Want to change your world for the better? Stop watching the news and get out there and lead people to Christ and then disciple them. Love the hurting. Show them that someone cares. Visit the sick. Remind them that God loves them.
People in this world are desperate for love. They are starving for love. They are starving for community. It’s why young people are joining gangs. They want to be part of a group. Maybe their parents aren’t the best and the gang is where they get acceptance. We the church meanwhile are singing away inside our stone mausoleums wondering why they aren’t coming to church. When they do come we turn our noses up at them because they are poor, or addicted to drugs.
The church is not failing because the culture has grown evil. The culture has grown evil because the church is failing. We are failing because we have forgotten to love others. We’ve forgotten to love God and love God’s word. Do you love God’s word? What is your bible reading time compared to your other reading time and your tv watching time? I think a lot of Christians sure don’t act like they love the bible.
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Folks another issue in the church is a lack of commitment. I am absolutely in agreement that we should give as we can cheerfully give.
But if you can’t cheerfully give much what is the problem? Is it the fact your church never does anything besides invest in CDs and accumulate wealth for new buildings and coffee shops? Find a new church.
Is it that your heart is not for God’s work?
James 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
Imagine if you treated your spouse the way you treat God. Would your spouse be happy or unhappy. I fear many Christians would quickly be divorced if they treated their spouse like they treat God. If you talked to your wife a few times a week and ignored her the rest of the time what would happen? If you spent your money on toys and entertainment for you and never spent a dime for their needs what would happen?
We as a church as so so fortunate that God is long suffering. I thank God that He is a patient God.
What God wants
God wants a close personal relationship with you that involves a lot of communication. God wants you focused on His plan for your life. He wants you to pursue that plan fearlessly. He wants you to know that He will provide for your needs. Your basic needs but also your needs in pursuit of your mission. You see God is a winner. He doesn’t call anyone to a job they can’t complete. He doesn’t set people up for failure.
Go read the 23rd Psalm. I won’t quote it all here. Go read it. You see how at every step David is relying upon God. We must learn to lean upon God.
Go read my earlier entry on Trust. It relates. When you trust you don’t fear. Trust God. Trust Him to keep His word.
Thank you for reading. I love you. God bless you.