There are some things in life that cannot be attained cheaply or superficially.
Scores of scriptures call us to something much more consuming and fulfilling
than just having a religion about Jesus Christ. Yet, the challenge is to
focus and centralize our efforts to appropriate what Jesus came to give.
He warns, "For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of
Noah. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating
and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that
Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and
took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of Man be" (Matt 24:37-39).
The biggest battle we each might fight is to stay focused on God long enough
to learn how to abide in His presence. Before we can redeem the world, we
must redeem our time. And we would think that with all the time saving conveniences
we have in life, that this would be easy, but it is not.
The real test at the end of the age is: can we live in a place of focused
renewal? Those whom I have known who have fallen into sin, never were taken
in suddenly by the enemy. Their failure was always precipitated by an earlier
erosion of their focus; their time with God was incrementally replaced with
non-spiritual things. Left without the help of God, Satan's temptation came
to a heart vulnerable and without strength to resist.
"But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time
of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would
not have allowed his house to be broken into" ( Matt 24:43).
Thing the Devil Steals is...
Speaking of the devil, Jesus warned that the "thief comes only to steal,
and kill, and destroy" (Jn 10:10). Beloved, the first thing the devil steals
is time. Once we surrender our devotional time with God to non-spiritual
things; once this world becomes more important to us than the next, the
enemy has easy access to "kill, and destroy" our virtue and spiritual strength.
Again, Jesus taught a parable about a certain man who was having a banquet
and "sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, 'Come; for everything
is ready now.' But they all alike began to make excuses" (Lk:14:17-18).
When the Lord calls us to Himself, do we make excuses? I'm tired. Hungry.
Busy. Jesus tells us that the reasons for avoiding Him will seem legitimate:
"I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please
consider me excused"; "I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to
try them out; please consider me excused"; "I have married a wife, and for
that reason I cannot come" (Lk 14:19-20).
I know it seems radical, but Jesus' final point is so contrary to the image
we have of Him that His next admonition seems almost non-Christian. Let
me also remind you that He wasn't only talking to His apostles or other
"higher ups" in His staff; He turned and spoke to the "great multitudes
[which] were going along with Him" (Lk 14:25).
"If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and
wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life,
he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come
after Me cannot be My disciple" (Lk 14:-26-27).
Here's how His words strike my heart. To me, He is saying that I must not
let any relationship challenge His love and call upon my life. And, if there
is a decision to be made about doing His will, I must always choose Him
above everyone else's interests, even my own. By comparison, every other
relationship I have could appear like hate when measured by my love and
obedience to Jesus.
Of course, loving Jesus brings the very best of heaven into all my other
relationships; I possess something of Christ's life that brings greater
love back to my family and friends, and even my own soul.
But above all, the choice must be made for Christ.
You say, "This doesn't sound like the Jesus I know; He loves everyone."
Yes, but He also knows the battle for our souls will be fierce and that
to be successful in our spiritual journey, He must be first.
A Time To Seek God
There are many seasons in life. Proverbs
tells us there is a time for every purpose under heaven. Beloved, I believe
it is time to draw near to God, to prepare our hearts for His presence.
There simply is no substitute for the presence of God.
David was a king. His life was filled with many responsibilities and he
was clearly very passionate about many things. Yet he wrote, "When Thou
didst say, 'Seek My face,' my heart said to Thee, 'Thy face, O LORD, I shall
seek' " (Ps 27:8).
If the Holy Spirit were to whisper to your heart that He wants more of your
time, when the Lord says, "Seek My face," what do you say? Oh beloved, here
is the true battle for your soul. Your victory is not in getting more counseling,
but in your answer to the Lord's call.
The result of seeking God is that He guides us into an absolutely fearless
life (see Psalm 27:1-4). David says, "For in the day of trouble He will
conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide
me; He will lift me up on a rock" (Ps 27:5).
Today, with so many distractions, what place does the Lord have in your
life? If He called you to deepen your walk, to seek His face, how would
you respond? When He says, "Seek My face," what does your heart say to Him?
by Francis Frangipane
"The House of the Lord"
By Francis Frangipane
|This book pleads God's
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