Monday, August 31, 2015

The Committed Christian

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 NIV).

Before we proceed with this week's article, we would like to share the vision below.

Vision of the Rapture train READY for departure

Given to Charis on August 25, 2015

"I had a short rapture vision this morning. I saw myself with members of my family at a beautiful neat, tidy and organised train station. There were countless people waiting in a long queue ready to purchase train tickets. I heard a voice of a young lady (I knew it was an angel of the Lord) announcing that there was room for only 5 more people on the train. The ticket attendant seemed to know the people whom the 5 seats were reserved for. I heard some people begging for a seat, particularly one lady who stood close by me. I saw some people trying to force their way through, but they could not succeed; the ticket attendant and the security personnel knew of all the plans these people were trying to make in order to get into the train." This was the end of the vision.

Brief interpretation

In this simple vision, the Lord is telling us that the rapture train is READY for departure and that there is room only for the 5 wise virgins (Matthew 25:7-13). The 5 signifies those who are ready and who will have their seats reserved. Those who are not ready will moan and beg to get on board to no avail. The Lord is pleading with you, BE READY! The Rapture train is already on the station ready for departure, REPENT and get right with God, booking your ticket to Heaven today!

A Commitment by Choice and Intent

True Christianity encourages a faith-based relationship with the Lord (1 Kings 8:61). As most of us would agree, in order to succeed, a relationship requires mutual respect and genuine love for the other person. Innately, no one wants to be taken advantage of in any given relationship, whether in marriage, business or other friendly relationships. In other words, we all expect the other party to fulfill their obligations and promises in order for the relationship to be sustained. Even in temporary relationships, such as business contracts or political agreements, failure by either party in the relationship to honor obligations often results in the termination of the relationship.

In our message today, our focus relates to the choice we made to have a relationship with the Lord, when we said to the Him: “Here I am, I have come to do your will” (Hebrews 10:9 NIV). When we commit to the Lord, our choice should never be based on "trying out" Christianity because the previous experience we had with religion could not help us find meaning or fulfillment in life. If we come to Christ with such an attitude or motive, we would not be happy, and sooner or later we would leave and try out another experience. This is typical of some people who have abandoned their faith in the Lord and joined other religions. This might seem right, but I doubt the initial choice was based on a true conviction and need for repentance. In an experience related to me recently, a brother told me that he responded to the call of the Lord out of a deep conviction fueled by a willingness to be freed from his old way of life.

Briefly, I heard someone very sincere and faithful in the Lord say to me: "Brother, before I exercised my choice of accepting the Lord to rule my life, I had the opportunity of reading the entire New Testament Bible, familiarizing myself with the various requirements, rewards and punishments. After satisfying myself with the content of the new life through the New Testament and comparing the direction and experiences of my old life, and after many days of inner conflict, I surrendered to the Lord. Therefore, my choice was informed and I had to embrace all good and bad things lined up for me in this path and this served as a revelation to my faith. As I grew deeper into my commitment to Christ, I learned truth through my many mistakes, and each time, I discovered how narrow my own virtues were leading me deeper in my need for the Lord."

In my opinion, the brother relating this experience knew what he was doing and he willingly and bravely allowed the Lord to transform him resulting in an appreciation and more of the Lord.

Test of Commitment

Biblically, no relationship with God is without test (Deuteronomy 8:2). In the beginning of his relationship with God, Abraham’s faith and obedience was tested (Genesis 22:1) and through this his commitment was revealed. In acceptance of His commitment to His ministry and the work of the cross, our Lord Jesus allowed Satan’s test and completed His work leaving us an example of commitment (John 17:4; 1 Peter 2:21). Furthermore, in his zeal and commitment to the Lord, Paul the apostle, boldly declared and said, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13).

Generally, within the Bible itself and without having time to refer to external historical sources, Christianity has a richly decorated history of brave and bold men and women of God who defied Kings and rulers, hardships and persecution in their commitment to God and in His commitment to them God rescued and upheld their cause (Daniel 3:16-18; Esther 4:15-16; Romans 8:35). Unlike today’s Christians, these warriors of our faith did not allow the discouragement of challenges as a licence to complain and show bitterness. In contrast, they encouraged themselves on God’s deliverance because their refusal to bow to pressure shows their commitment (Daniel 6:20-22). Please allow me to share this brief experience, a few weeks into my new job in April 2010 after the Lord blessed me with the job He promised me (see Please Evangelize article), I complained to Him that the job was not what I expected due to the work demands and pressures. My complaints displeased the Lord and He told me to appreciate what I have and that complaining is an expression of bad spiritual fruit (Hebrews 12:28; Philippians 2:14-15). We often expect things coming from God to be easy and that is where we are wrong. The children of Israel were given and promised the Land of milk and honey but though obedience to God and at the cost of blood and sweat they received it (Numbers 33:53; Joshua 6:1-21; 7:3-12). When David was promised and anointed by God to take the Kingship from Saul, was his ascend to the throne easy? No! He faced endless troubles and persecution from Saul (1 Samuel 23:7-24). Likewise, the enemy is waging war against the children of God (Revelation 12:17; 1 Peter 5:8). However, as we obey God's Word and "Make every effort" to enter through the narrow gate, we will overcome him and receive God's promises (Luke 13:24; Revelation 12:11; Revelation 2:7).

The Christian message is being undermined by those who proposes God as ‘give me’ and ‘fix it for me” and the moment people realize that it was after all not that easy, they quit and forsake their initial commitment (Luke 8:13). Having been a Christian for more than 20 years, I admit that I tried different things with God to get His attention. These were amongst others, complaints, getting angry with God for not doing something for me, selfish crying, and refusing to obey by not reading my Bible or praying. Through all these manipulative acts, my gain was just frustration that left me at the cross roads of my commitment. And moments after finding courage I would remind myself of the humility and faith others before me expressed and endured and this served as my encouragement to endure with a humble attitude (James 4:1-10).

Unswervingly Giving of Ourselves to God

There are some noteworthy people in the Bible who were commended for following the Lord God wholeheartedly without swerving to the left or right. Among them is King Josiah (2 Chronicles 34:2) and King David (1 Kings 14:8; 1 Kings 15:5). As determined believers, they sought the Lord, humbled themselves at His word, repented of their sins, purged the land of wickedness and idolatry, fought God's battles, cared about the well-being of God's temple, and trusted God by looking to Him even in hardship (2 Chronicles 34:3-28; 2 Samuel; Psalm 51).

As a testimony, we have some ministry members who had set a meeting to get together for fellowship and prayer. Before their meeting, some of their family members got sick with a cold and had not fully recovered by the day they planned to meet. In their commitment, they did not to use this excuse to miss out on fellowship with the King of Kings who said, “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst" (Matthew 18:20). Hence, they were blessed with God’s presence and encouraged to meet to pray together again. Likewise, there are many believers in Christ who show commitment to the Lord by seeking Him and serving Him despite discouragements, trials, or fear. They do it out of obedience to God and this shows love which is pleasing to God (1 John 5:2).

Therefore, in order to learn and receive from God, we are required to give ourselves wholly to His service and Lordship; in other words, our will in submission to His Will (Matthew 26:42; John 5:30). Our will becomes subject to His and His priorities become our interest. Knowing the heart and intentions of man, if we attempt to use God for personal gain, He renders our efforts fruitless and without reward (Matthew 6:33). This is surely not a pleasing teaching to the world and sadly, many blaspheme the Lord as being a dictator. If we only follow the world's self-centered way of "self-actualization", we stand to lose your life, but we gain it when we sacrifice it in obedience to Christ (Mark 8:35). Fundamentally, the Lord has only given the human race two choices: the broad way to destruction and the narrow road to life (Matthew 7:13-14; Deuteronomy 30:19-20). If we love life and the absolute good of life as promised by the Lord (John 3:16-17), there is hope of peace and eternal life. Living in commitment to God’s will always disagrees with rules given by man; but as it is, human rules seek freedom and independence from God (1 Samuel 8:6; Numbers 14:4; Exodus 32:4). As Christians, we have been given an opportunity to commit to a cause leading to eternal life. Let us therefore embrace it without complaints for this choice leads to a satisfying life of joy and peace (Romans 2:7).

In conclusion, have you been falling short of your commitment to God through compromise, complaints, excuses, or trials? In the Bible, Paul and Barnabas focused on “strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith", declaring boldly that: “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” (Acts 14:22). So, be encouraged not to let any trials or discouragements hinder you from your dedication to the Lord Jesus.

If you would like to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please begin by praying this Prayer of Sincere Repentance. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Blessed Commitment,

Brother Glenn and Preparing for the Kingdom Ministry Team.