The recent events with the coronavirus really got me thinking: “If people are going to get scared into submission and two hiding in their homes from a virus, how are they going to handle the real persecution to come”?
When did we as the body of Christ start to care more about what the “experts” of this world say then about what God and His word have to say?
What are we so afraid of? Are We that afraid of losing our lives that were willing to bury hour talents in the ground and just do nothing with them?
Doesn’t scripture tell us not to trust in the wisdom of this world?
Corinthians 3: 19a says: For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.
Have we become so afraid to stand up against the popular opinion that we just sit down and shut up and just do whatever we’re told?
Have we as a church become so complacent that we just like lemmings just go along with the flow?
What happened to our courage? Have we become so afraid of what people think or will think of us is that were no longer bold and willing to stand for the truth?
As I pondered these questions, the Holy Spirit brought to mind the scripture that is written in Revelation 12: 11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death”.
Or is another translation put it, “They did not love their lives as to shrink back from death” .
And that’s when the Holy Spirit begin to remind me about all the saints that have gone before us and the righteous men of old in the Old Testament. How they repeatedly lay down their lives, putting their very lives on the line to declare the word of the Lord and to spread the gospel.
Let’s look at the Apostle Paul as an example. He was beaten by Stripes 39 times -5 different times, stoned once, Shipwrecked, spent a night in a day in the depths of the sea… (1 Corinthians 11: 25-28)
What if Paul the Apostle had just given up and decided that the cost was too great? What is he had given into fear and shrunk back and not fulfill his mission from God?
Think about that for a second…
If Paul the Apostle hadn’t had the amazing faith he had, if he hadn’t believed what he wrote when he said I am fully persuaded that there is no present suffering that is worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed? (Romans 8:18)
We not only wouldn’t have over half the New Testament and the wisdom the Holy Spirit shared through Paul to read and learn from, over 90% of the church would not exist!
I could go on to talk about the Daniel, Joseph, Peter, Isaiah, Jeremiah and the like. But then this blog would go on forever.
So let’s so let’s break it down to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What would have happened if in the Garden of Gethsemane, or the many opportunities before that, Jesus had just taken the easy way out and decided not to go to the cross?
What if he would have just decided we just weren’t worth the cost? What would have happened to us then?
It would have been really very easy for Jesus to call upon more than 12 Legions of Angels to come rescue Him.
But he didn’t. Why?
Because He knew the price was too high for Him to disobey the will of the Father. He knew that His obedience and laying down His life on the cross would bring us eternal life, joy, peace, and every good thing.
That’s why it’s written: For the joy that was set before Him, he endured the cross, despising the shame. (Hebrews 12:2)
And let’s talk about all the original apostles. What if they had given in to the demands of the Sanhedrin that they never speak or preach in the name of Jesus ever again? What if they would allow fear to flood their hearts? What if they just gave up and threw in the towel instead of praying to the Lord the way they did asking him to make then bold so they could continue to boldly proclaim the gospel?
Let’s bring it into more modern times. What if people like Mother Teresa had just said to themselves ” I don’t want to go to India! It’s dirty and gross and there’s lots of diseases there”. What if she had refused to obey the call God on her life? What would have happened if she didn’t keep doing what she knew God called her to do even when the Vatican refused to give her permission to do it?
How many thousands of people, who were considered Untouchable by their culture, would have never come to know the love of Christ?
Who knows how many people were brought to Salvation because she was willing to face her fears, sickness, living in poverty, Etc.
And yes she did get sick from many of the diseases she helped treat as she was ministering to The Untouchables in that country. But she never gave up and never lost heart because of her faith in Christ. She found it an honor to suffer for the cause of Christ that they may know the love of Christ.
God used her life to change the world.
Now, let’s look at Corrie Ten Boom. How she in the midst of a concentration camp, with the help of her sister Bessie, ministered to the Jewish people around her and led many to Christ. What would have happened if she gave in to her anger, her frustration, and your fear? What if she had given into her desire not to be thankful?
Not only did she bring many people to Christ while she was in the concentration camp, she brought many more people to Christ throughout the rest of her life. Her testimony, all the days of her life, continued to be: “There is no pit so deep, that His love is not deeper still” .
I could go on. But you get the point.
We read we read in that scripture in Revelation, that we are to overcome the world, and the wicked one, by our faith, by our testimony, and by not shrinking back from death.
In Scripture it tells us that Jesus has no pleasure in anyone that shrinks back. (Hebrews 10:38)
So if we’re so afraid of a virus, that we’re willing to run into hiding and just blindly follow everything we’re told to do without question, how are we going to stand and the days when people are going to demand that we deny Christ or die?
How are we going to have the faith to be strong enough to stand firm and do not deny our Christ, our Lord and Master?
Jesus told us plainly that if we deny him before man, He will deny us before God and His Holy Angels. But if we confess him before man, then He will confess us before God and His Holy Angels. (Matthew 22:32-33, Luke 12:8-9)
Now lest we make this just about a virus, there are other things that we have been shrinking back from in fear before this ever came along.
And that got me to thinking: What things have I been so afraid of that I’ve been letting them keep from obeying God’s calling on my life?
Truth be told, I have often times let what people think of me or will think of me stand in my way. Far too often, I’ve been intimidated by the thought of being rejected, spoken against, or even told to sit down and shut up, that I haven’t done what is necessary to fully do what God has called me to do.
I also have a habit of letting past hurts, how I think of myself, and what others have told me, keep me from trusting who God says I am.
I share these things, because I know we all have things that have kept us from obeying God’s call on our lives.
You see, not only can we not keep living our lives in fear and just blindly doing what the “experts” and leaders of this world tell us to do without question, we also can’t go back to the way things used to be.
That was the problem all along! The normalcy of the complacency that we had lost ourselves into as a church, as the body of Christ, was a major contributing factor to the mess that were in now.
Jesus is calling us to a higher level of maturity. To a higher level as the body of Christ.
We should be abhorred at the thought of returning to “normal” or embracing ” the new normal” that society wants us to embrace.
We should be longing for something more, for something better. We should be crying out for God to do something new, something he’s never done before on the earth!
It’s time for the church, for the body of Christ, to stop playing house. For it to stop playing games, and take our Great Commission seriously!
Jesus did not die so that we can just bury our talent in the ground (Matthew 25:14-30). He died that he could rule in our hearts and empower us to make disciples of all nations.
He didn’t flood our hearts with the Holy Spirit so that we could have our social club shirt service on Saturday nights, Sunday mornings or whenever you have it.
This is a real battle! between the sons of Darkness and the sons of Light!
We need to start taking this seriously!! People’s lives are at stake! We need to start acting more like the Warriors of God that we are, and way less like the people of this world!
We must return to our first love and repent of the evil ways that we picked up from the world. We need to ask God to cleanse us from all our and righteousness and to help us the stand firm against the ways of the world, the temptations and influences of this life, and the sinistar schemes of the evil one.
We need to stop hiding in our homes, and our big giant Church buildings, and get out there and do the work of the Lord.
It’s time we stop getting caught up in the affairs of this world and of this life and take up your cross, deny our flesh, and follow Him (Mark 8:34).
It’s time for us to get on our knees, and ask God what he wants us to be doing. It’s time to stop listening to the wisdom of this world and what the” experts ” of this world have to say and instead start listening to it the Holy Spirit has to say.
And just as Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing, so we should only be doing what the Holy Spirit instructs us to do.
There is a lost, hurting, lonely, and dying world out there who need to see the love of Jesus Christ displayed through us!
It’s time to be bold come out to be courageous, and to stand firm for the sake of the Kingdom of God and for the sake of those who are looking for truth!
So who’s with me? Who is willing to stand with me and pray the prayer the disciples prayed so long ago found an Acts 4:24-30:
” Lord, you Our God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: “Why did the nation’s rage, and the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the LORD and against His Christ. For truly against your Holy Servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, we’re gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and Your signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.”
Are you ready to count the cost, take up your cross, and follow after Jesus? are you ready to overcome your fears, deny this world, and go after all that God has for you to do?
Are you willing, like Christ, Paul, James, John, David, Timothy, Titus, and the like, To lay down your life for the cause of Christ?
Can you say with certainty that to live is Christ But to die is gain?
Jesus taught us that whoever tries to save his life will lose it. But whoever loses his life for my namesake, will keep it (Luke 17:33, Mark 8:35).
The question is: Are you willing to lose your life, that you may find it?
Are you willing to face imprisonment, scourgings, beatings, being chased from city to city, being despised, hated, mocked or even killed for His name’s sake?
This is what it means to count the cost.
These are the questions we should be pondering everyday. I in honesty, can say I I’m not 100% at that point. I’d like to say I’m about 90% there.
But I trust Jesus to give me the strength I need that moment so that I can lay down my life and not deny his name.
As for today, I cry out to God to give me the strength to stand firm for the truth, and not to give in to my fears, for him to give me the strength I need to face whatever Trials come my way, it’s joy, peace, and the strength of the Holy Spirit.
Will you join me?