Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
We all need to change - sinners and Christians. Of course, sinners need salvation and to accept JESUS as Savior, and to choose to obey the Word of GOD. We, Christians, need to change, as well. Recently, I heard a pastor express that some Christians are born-again but they are NOT holy. I believe that, often, Christians are the butt of jokes in mainstream society because holiness is NOT a lifestyle for many people who profess Christ as their Lord and Savior. If holiness is steadfastly on display, the results will be more respect and reverence for GOD.
Certainly, holiness, in demonstration, brings on persecution. But it is one thing to be mocked for righteousness sake. It is quite another thing to be mocked for unrighteousness sake.
Herod had John the Baptist killed because John was holy. Even though Herod had John killed, the Bible states in Mark 6:20, "For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly."
In the book of Exodus, as wicked as king Pharaoh was, he knew that Moses was holy. In the book of 1 Samuel, it reveals that Saul knew that David was holy. It says in 1 Samuel 18:12, 14, 15, "And Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, and was departed from Saul. And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways, and the Lord was with him. Wherefore when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him." And 2 Samuel 3:1 says, "Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker." Clearly, our Lord is with those who are holy.
In the book of Daniel, king Darius knew that Daniel was holy. He was "sore displeased," and could not sleep because he had had Daniel placed in the den of lions. Daniel 6:14, 18 states, "Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him."
In Daniel 3, king Nebuchadnezzar knew that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were holy. He made a decree in Daniel 3:29. It states, "Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the GOD of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other GOD that can deliver after this sort." And Daniel 3:30 states that the king promoted the three men with the furnace testimony. Specifically, it states, "Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province Babylon." Babylon was the region of their captivity! Our GOD is NOT limited by our placements or our circumstances.
Are we holy enough to be recognized as such? Do we steadfastly shine as Moses did in Exodus 34:30? It says, "And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone;..." As I shared in a previous post, when I lived in Tampa, a crack addict said that she saw an aura on me. Also, when in Tampa, I rode the bus the second time with a man when he said to me, "I see JESUS all over you." I didn't mention those accounts to boast of me, but to boast of the power of our Lord when we steadfastly and utterly yield to His will. When we are holy, heathen and Christians KNOW it. We can glory in tribulations when they come as a result of our holiness. Romans 5:3 states, "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also:..."
Holiness is an ongoing process. If we don't continue to move ahead in our Lord, we become "stuck on stupid." The other day I said to our Lord, "I need to change." He will lead as to how that needs to develop.
Yes, we help sinners, but we should remain mindful that sinners help us, as well. Some of them are kinder and more generous than some Christians. Numerous sinners volunteer, and serve others. Overall, do enough Christians serve others? Or do we do more to serve ourselves in the safe and comfortable confines of our homes and church buildings? Galatians 6:2 says, "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." Do we sufficiently fulfil that law of Christ?
I feel pity for sinners who don't know our Lord, and pray regularly for their salvation. Increasingly, though, I feel pity for, and pray for those Christians who have been born-again for years yet choose to be carnal. The result of such choices is that, for the most part, those Christians are spiritually unprofitable and dead. Romans 8:6 says, "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." Their unwise choices to be about death means that the best of GOD is unavailable to them. How pitiful is that?
We all need to change - sinners and Christians. We need to help each other. There are lessons that we gain from sinners and there are lessons that they gain from us. We all have valuable contributions to make from our pool of experiences. We shouldn't outright dismiss the knowledge and wisdom bases of sinners just because they don't know our Lord. GOD has deposited valuable talents and gifts in ALL of His creations. When I lived in a homeless shelter, our Lord allowed me to learn from drug addicts and alcoholics, and He allowed them to learn from me. I am grateful for their deposits into my character base. Please know that I don't promote being friends with the world. That is biblically unsound. I do heartily promote that we seek our Lord for discernment in how to lovingly and wisely engage with others - sinners and saints.
We all need to change. For the glory of GOD, what changes do we need to make in our attitudes, and lifestyles? How can we better serve our Lord, and others? Love must be a core ingredient - without love, we are nothing.
We must evolve. None of us has arrived. We are all students and teachers. We won't truly arrive unless we do the will of our Lord, and when we exit this earth to arrive in heaven. Until then, we must evolve to become better and better with a steadfast aim for the BEST. That can only be successfully done with GOD as our FIRST LOVE.
Why settle...when the optimum is attainable?
2 Corinthians 3:18
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 7:1
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Written Tuesday April 5, 2011
Sandra Renee Hicks
P.O. Box 1210
Washington, DC 20013
Written Tuesday April 5, 2011
NOTE: This topic is posted also on my MAIN READ-ONLY blog, LIONS SHARE MAJESTY at http://www.lioneaglesoar.blogspot.com/. The bulk of the responses to this topic are found in the comment section on that blog. Here is the specific link to the subject topic there