Just Enough of God to Get By


Do you take God serious? What a simple question that has a tendency to prick the heart with either being offended or convicted. I have asked myself that question and to be honest with you, I am not sure that I do. Have you ever noticed that most of the time you do what you want to do? When I go to the doctor he tells me to lose weight and exercise and I say OK, but I really do not think about it again. Why? Because our will is directly connected to our brain and has far more control over us than we realize. When we do something we do NOT want to do, it is like swimming against the current. Our flesh is very easy to get along with – it only has a few demands and one of them is to stay satisfied and comfortable all the time. This includes going where we want, eating what we want, and speaking, spending, watching, listening, thinking and doing whatever we want – anytime we want! This might sound like a great life of independence and in fact this may even be included in the proverbial “American Dream”, but there is a huge problem with this picture. This is not to be confused with God’s idea of the “abundant life.” He is always considering the spiritual while our carnality is always thinking about the flesh. This is why we will never walk in His Spirit until we abandon our will and allow our mind to be renewed into His way of thinking. Jesus did not die on the cross so that we could do whatever we want – we could have done that without Him! He died so that we could lay down our independence and become totally dependent on Him (no wonder this way of living is not popular). His instruction manual has been carefully written and bound together in a beautiful book of promises, warnings, requirements and demands and He is very serious about us taking Him – “seriously.” We may be able to get away with many things in this life but our obedience to His Word will be weighed and considered on the scales of His holy sovereignty. “Blessed are they that do His commandments that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” (Revelation 22:14) If we say that we are following His Word yet actually living however we want, we are being double-minded. If we believe this is OK with God – we are deceived. Selah. “A double-minded (two-faced) man is unstable (unreliable) in all his ways.” (James 1:8) This spiritual instability is directly connected to lukewarmness and the lack of desire to stand SERIOUS in our faith.

Going back to the idea of independence, it seems through the years that the original intent of America pulling away from England was for the enhancement of their intimate relationship with Jesus. There must have been many people who truly loved God and believed that “liberty” to worship Him included a land of laws that protected their religious freedom. If we look at this closely, we can see the similarities of what Christ has in mind when the holy city Jerusalem will come down and sit upon the earth during the 1000 year millennial reign. The concept is that all the people who are excited and filled with adoration for God will celebrate Him as the King of Kings without any contrary opinions or distractions. The liberty that will be experienced in this realm will be the fulfillment of what other dreamers have envisioned since time began – “heaven on earth”. A realm of peace and love, and a place of beauty and unity among those who fear God and submit to His authority. Sadly, throughout the years, America created its own legal system that allowed every idea and heresy of the world to be included within the fabric of our society. The “holiness dream” of sanctification and purity was replaced with a corruptible mirage that promoted a false happiness (without God) as a deceptive lifestyle filled with jealousy, lust and pride. Christians have compromised the very convictions that many of their brothers and sisters died for. Selah. Instead of a humble and holy people of truth, the floodgates were opened to a sewer of lies, perversion and blasphemy. What is the American Dream? It has long been associated with the blessings of wealth and health (and these are good things) but when God and His Word are excluded from the equation, it becomes ugly and arrogant! As we observe our countries current spiritual condition (and the world in general) it is obvious that something has gone horribly wrong.

Would you agree with me that most everyone desires to be respected? Do you like to think of yourself as someone that others turn to when needing advice and wisdom? Do you like to be respected at work as someone who can be trusted and who can always be counted on to do the job professionally? In the spiritual realm, do you consider yourself a person of integrity, morality and sincerity? Allow me to share with what most of you already know is happening in our society. For several years now, Christians have fallen away from the world’s view of what is true. God’s Word has slowly been discredited from the institutions of higher learning until now the Bible is generally considered irrelevant to the problems and lifestyles of intelligent adults. The discarding of God’s Word has directly influenced the last several generations and thus has indoctrinated the the minds of much of active population that God is no more than an ancient philosophy. I must tell the truth; those who stand up and it make it clearly known that they are sold-out to Christ and eagerly practice evangelical Christianity will suffer greatly. Now, may I ask you a question? As the days become more difficult to follow Jesus, how long will you continue to stand for what you know is truth? Are you willing to be ridiculed, laughed at, scorned and made fun of for holding on to God’s Word? There is coming a day when anyone who claims to be a Christian will be treated as a mentally retarded person or someone that cannot be considered intelligent. This means that families will turn against their own loved ones and will not give any respect or admiration to those who would normally be foundational leaders. The shame that Christ experienced after He was sentenced to die will be the same spirit of hatred that will be focused toward those who love Him. Allow me to give a recent example where two brothers had just filmed a series of real estate shows on HGTV called, “Flip it forward.” David and Jason Benham reported they were disappointed that the network had pulled the plug and cancelled the show which was to debut in October. After the network announced the show was up-coming, the lobbying group Right Wing Watch labeled David Benham an “anti-gay extremist” and reported on statements he made against homosexuality and gay marriage. Both brothers made a statement that if their spiritual convictions were the reason for the cancellation then – so be it! I was thinking that if any of us were asked to give an interview on national television about what we believe pertaining to a long list of social issues, would we have the courage to answer honestly? Would you allow your personal reputation to be “shredded” for the sake of Christ? Is there any chance in the future that you will compromise what you know to save your security, your respect, your standing among your peers or even your life?

Some have told me over the years that I emphasize to much attention to the homo-sexual agenda. It is not my intent to focus on one particular sin however, I believe this specific perversion is “breaking down the wall” of conviction. In other words, this once vile and taboo sin is being pushed so aggressively and in a short amount of time is gaining not only a tremendous acceptance but is identifying and controlling the standard of social law. Within this compromise, the agenda of Satan is to “water down” the fear of God and respect for His holiness in the hearts of ALL people – Christians included. As this sin becomes perfectly normal and the idea of anyone who exposes this act as offending God and His intended way of living – Christians will be disregarded as having an intelligent voice. This one issue is being used as an identification of whom and what we are and as God’s people are labeled as hate filled extremist, Satan can proceed with his agenda without interference from God’s Word. The repetitive pounding of this particular sin in the papers, television, internet, magazines and even church is causing numbness and a calloused attitude toward sin in general. Sin is challenging our moral compass and is trying to relax our fear of being filthy. For many, the sensitivity of the heart is becoming hardened and the state of mind is slowly and subconsciously being damaged and distorted.

It’s a big world out there – and dangerous! We may think that with age we can see more clearly but even in that it still seems like peeping through a keyhole. As humans we are very limited in our learning because we associate truth with our interpretation of knowledge and many times this can go very good or very bad. In this light, the understanding of absolute truth can be beautiful and rewarding while misinterpreting knowledge can be devastating. When I was growing up I never thought about the power of knowledge or appreciated what it was in the eyes of men or God. I thought it was all about learning how to do things and then doing what I wanted to do. In no way do I want to shed a negative light on how I was brought up, my point is that I am convinced that having knowledge about God is not good enough – it is understanding knowledge that ripens into divine wisdom and this – is far beyond personal opinions. God is perfect truth and there is only one way to interpret Him. Truth is like a bull’s eye – either you hit it or you miss it. Is God dogmatic? Absolutely! Is God intolerant? Yes, again! I have recently heard people rebuke the saying that God loves the sinner but hates the sin because they evidently are persuaded that He accepts everyone exactly as they are. If this were true there would be no judgment and no eternal consequences. I believe we can say with all certainty that He loves everyone and is filled with compassion but His holiness will not allow Him to compromise with sin or error. There are foundations or “pillars” of truth that I call absolute truth and these cannot be argued no more than the reality of gravity. It is true there are some issues and mysteries that people can make strong cases for and against but these pillars can unite us together and allow us to see in one accord. We are unique individuals yet our mission is to absorb as much of His truth as we can so that we can become as much like Him as possible. This is the miracle of everyone having their own function “within” the body of Christ yet all being a part of the same body. We are always talking about “yielding our will” because the more we choose to surrender our identity the more easily we can be transformed into His image.

It is wonderful to know “about” God but the key has always been how to apply His divine reality into a daily (hourly) demonstration. This level of wisdom is the “revelation” of knowledge which separates those who are victorious overcomers in Christ from the ones who go round and round without accomplishing anything. This has nothing to do with personality or abilities; it has everything to do with how determined and SERIOUS we are to “change”. I have been expanding my garden area this spring and I cut a sycamore tree down that was at the edge of my plot of ground that I was working on. I had not thought much about the root system of the tree until I began to turn over the ground. I started hitting roots everywhere just under the dirt and before long, I had what looked like a huge octopus uncovered. I spent an entire day with a shovel, iron bar and axe clearing all those roots out, and as I was working the thought came to me that this might be an example of how desires, temptations, ideas, and the way we think are “imbedded” within our heart and mind. The Word of God is symbolized as a SEED that grows and develops within our conscience, so likewise outside influences and particular views that we have accepted through the years could also be deeply growing in our reasoning and perception. We not think much about removing them from our heart and if we did consider that they need to be extracted, we may not realize (or not want to think about) just how much “work” it will be. God’s plan for us to become transformed by changing the way we think was never advertised as being easy. He forgives us of our sins but that does not mean these fleshly desires are destroyed. Whose responsibility is it to dig up all of this deception and chop out all of those ugly weeds of carnality? You guessed it! It is up to US to examine the most inner parts of our being and take an inventory of the darkness, lies, pride and errors in our life that is hindering us from accomplishing our destiny. And believe me, much of what is in our mind could definitely use a chain saw and some round-up! Amen?

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