*Pastor’s Note: This is one of the articles I wrote and posted in my very first forum in the mid 90s soon after my first go at a website. The forum offered a more interactive approach with members participating. I thought it might interest my readers today to read some of my first posted writings. I HAVE updated some of the Scripture references, but all in all, it is pretty much as I posted them on the forum. The pictures were added for this posting, though.
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” – Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13.
We have all heard the various sayings that, “There are two sides to every coin and there are two sides to every story.” We also know the contrasts, black and white, ying and yang, good and evil, light and dark, right and wrong. They so make up our lives that we have a tendency to take them for granted, not giving them much thought in our day to day lives.
These are concepts however that even those who do not claim to be Christians take for granted even when they do acknowledge them. Many of them we just take for granted because everyone does understand them only as a concept. But what are we as Christians supposed to be concerned and think about concerning them? Some things may appear obvious such as good and evil, light and dark, right and wrong and especially to us as Christians. But in truth, these concepts denote choices. If in truth we are Christians, true followers of and surrendered to Jesus Christ, how do these play in our lives, and are we sure we are serving the “right” side?
If you take a survey of Americans today, whether they are regular church-goers or not, and if you ask them if they consider themselves to be a Christian, the majority of them, about 85 percent, will tell you that they do BELIEVE in God, or believe it or not, A God. If you ask these same people what it means to DIE to self and LIVE in Christ, many can not give you a Scriptural answer. Many will tell you that if they go to church at least once a week, give in the offering every so often and live good lives, they are fulfilling the commission that Christ gave to His disciples who would follow after Him.
Many CHRISTIANS today take pride in the fact that God and Christ Jesus are a big PART of their lives. Now think about the statement that I just wrote. Read it again. A person claims to be a CHRISTIAN, which in and of itself denotes being recognized with Christ. In other words, when people see a CHRISTIAN, they do not see John Q. Public, but rather they see Christ. Yet, Christ and God, the Father, are ONLY a PART of their lives.
How does the old rule of thumb go? God first, family second, job next, church after that, and so on, and so forth. In other words, if you look at a graph or a chart of priorities in your life, God should take up the most, then comes family, then work, then church and if you have any time left it can be divided amongst other areas of your life. Right? How about WRONG!
Making God only a part does not make Him your Lord OR Master. Dying to self means that my whole life belongs to God, it is no longer mine. He is not to be a part of my life, but rather, I am to be a part of Him! Being a Christian means that John Q. Public no longer exists, but rather, Christ IN John Q. Public is Who exists.
Can you see that anything less is not serving God as Lord and Master; instead you are trying to serve your own life and hope that He will be satisfied being a PART? Giving up your life for Christ, being a Christian in truth, is a richer, more rewarding lifestyle by far. Instead of giving up your life, you are in essence, gaining eternity! Anything else and you are short-changing yourself in the eternal scheme of things.
God, as our Heavenly Father, and Christ, as our Lord and yes, Savior, understand the things that are important in our lives. That is why Jesus told us in Matthew to seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and then all the things He talked about previously would be added. You think that if you strive and struggle to make ends meet that you will be able to reward yourself with a nice house and a fancy car, for instance. Don’t you realize that you will constantly struggle and strive and whatever else it takes to not just acquire it, but also to keep it. When Christ is FIRST in your life, the house comes to you because it is Christ’s promise to those who follow Him first and He is supplying it as a need, not because you had to struggle for it. Or is it too hard to believe that what Christ tells us about this could be true?
Truly being a Christian is so much more than the things we do as a religious ritual. Don’t you remember that when Jesus came to share the Good News the first time, it was to let mankind know that it is not the ritual that He is interested in but the heart attitude?
He wants an intimate relationship with His people. Intimacy is a condition of being sold out to the one that you are with. When a man and a woman get married, it is usually because they only have EYES for each other. Their hearts are “sold out” to each other. That is what intimacy is all about. When you are so lost in that other person, everything else around you disappears, people, circumstances, and all the things that used to matter. That is what Christ wants in us. After all, He IS the Bridegroom coming back for a Bride! Do you think He will be coming back for someone whose eyes are always straying elsewhere and especially to THINGS? He’s coming back for a people that only have EYES focused on Him! In other words, you can’t have your eyes on the world and the things of the world and say that you only have eyes for Him.
In a lot of things there ARE two sides to consider and take into account. However, if you say that you are a Christian, there can be only one side. The Apostle John wrote this, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” – 1 John 2:15. Either you serve the world and hope for its treasures and riches, which are only temporary, or you serve the risen Lord, the Master of time and eternity and you know and realize that even though you may struggle for a mere 70 or 80 years, forever and ever is worth the price of serving.
Actually, BEING a Christian is much more than a few words you may have spoken; it is a life that is immersed in Christ, and NOT a lifestyle that only allows Christ to be a part of it. When you are actually and truly a Christian, the cares of the world disappear in the intimacy of your relationship with the One who truly loves you. The LORD Jesus Christ is coming back soon, is He truly your LORD? Something to seriously reflect on.