Stewards of His Wisdom

We are called to be in the world, but not of the world.  We are not to use the wisdom of this world to ‘wow’ those that are in the world into believing on Christ Jesus.

 

In 1 Corinthians 1:17-25 Paul says: ‘For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.  For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?  For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.  For Jews requested a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.’

The one thing to notice is that Paul knew what his mission was and he was focused on that mission.  He did not get caught up in the world and their wisdom and the things that they would have wanted him to say or do.  Instead, he focused on his mission, and ran his race as well as he could.

Ultimately, the question is:  why do we as Christians and ministers of Christ, feel that we must listen to the world and its wisdom telling us that our message must be changed, suppressed, and only talked about behind closed doors?  Our mission has not changed much from that of Paul’s: to preach the gospel to everyone, all nations, tribes, and tongues, and to baptize those who choose to believe.  Yet here we are being intimidated by the world, listening to its ‘wisdom,’ and proceeding to adapt the message that we have been entrusted with to ‘not offend’ those we are trying to reach as well as those we are not trying to reach.

The cross is offensive – that is what a stumbling block is!  ‘An obstacle or hindrance to progress, belief, or understanding.’  It trips them up.  We must realize that we are not competing with the world’s wisdom; God has established His message in His way, and in His timing.  We are His servants and stewards of His message, and we must proclaim this message and no other – or we are not deemed to be a faithful steward!

It is time to get real for Him, and get past what the world is yelling at us as foolish, and realize that what they call ‘foolishness’ is what God says is the wisest as all, and that His wisdom (what they call foolishness) is the only means of salvation from sin and hell that anyone in this world has.  It is this or nothing. So preach it, proclaim it, live it, and most of all be proud of it, seeing it as the most precious pearl or jewel that the world has or could ever see.

Abandoning our terms and desires for His

There are choices each one of us has to make.

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water the earth; you shall not bow down to then nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God.” (Ex. 20:2-5).

Truth be told, I know that I have not and do not take this scripture as seriously as I should. No, I have not taken gold or wood or bronze and made myself a calf, or anything else that I then set before my eyes and bowed down to as my god. After all, I know that there is only one God and one King, and I have given my life to Him. But the question remains for me, as I am sure it does for each one of us: have I placed anyone or anything else as number one in my life. Even if I did not mean to, did it somehow take Gods rightful and commanded primary spot in my heart and mind?

Jesus said in Matthew 10:37-39, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worth of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”

Is this true of me? Is it true of you? Do we love the luxuries of this life, cars, money, family, computers, movies, sports teams, doing church, more than we love him? Have I made any of these things too important in my life and allowed my flesh to turn them into idols?

Jesus also said that we cannot serve both god and money in Matthew 6:24: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the other and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

While I serve my needs and interests instead of him, and I hating or despising him? I know I am lifting my self up as more important than whatever God has placed on my heart to do or say. God asks me to say something to someone, yet I analyze it and come to the conclusion that it would hurt MY pride, or make ME look silly, or how will the other person take what I have to say to them? In those instances it should be obvious as I write them down that all these concerns were centered on me, instead of Him.

If He was first in my life instead of me, would I then be more concerned about my own words or actions getting in the way of what He wanted to get accomplished through me?

We want Him to lead us, but are we willing to follow? I want God to lead me and I seek Him through prayer and His word to find His will, yet at the same time the question must be asked, am I truly willing to follow wherever He leads. It seems like one of everyone’s favorite verses is Jer. 29:11: ‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’ It is comforting to know that God has plans and purposes for my life, yet it seems like I forget that He knows the plans He has for me, while I do not fully know those plans. Thus, although I seek Him, that does not mean He is going to tell me everything. In fact, there have been times that I can look back on and be thankful that I did not fully know the plan, but glad that I went through it when I did.

At times it is like we are more willing to have Him be our copilot than our pilot, because then are still ultimately in charge and can overrule His advice or counsel, since we think it is all about us and our happiness instead of His work in our lives and His glory. Or we treat Him like a GPS system in our car. We expect turn by turn instructions, but want to be able to take any random turns we want and then have Him just recalibrate His directions plans and purposes utilizing the road we picked instead of the one He was trying to have us use. Instead we need to recalibrate our hearts and minds with Him in mind so that we will instantaneously abandon our plans, our roads, and our desires to choose His. As Christians, it is time we replace our outdated Global Positioning System with our God Positioning System. Or are we only willing to follow God if it means that it will not cost us anything, if it is not painful, or if we can always have our own way?

We must, as individuals, come to the understanding that we cannot follow Christ wholeheartedly as He asks and commands us to, if we will only do so on our own terms. We must understand and live like we are on a mission, given to us by God Himself. And we must understand that being here, in this world, on this mission, is not where it ends, but where it begins. Thus we must no longer be caught up in this world and the things of this world as we are. Our possessions need to take a back seat to God, as we come to grips with the fact that we are just stewards of these earthly possessions anyways.

We must get real with Christ, and abandon our terms, and allow following Christ to cost us whatever is required.

You Shall Be My Witnesses

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses (martyrs) to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 – Jesus speaking).

Have you ever asked yourself if you would give up your life in defense of something you believe? Do you love your life more than anything else around you? Found nothing worth dying for? Or maybe never contemplated what you might be asked to do.

Over the ages there have been countless numbers of people who have chosen the path of death when the moment came to consider if what they believed to be true was actually true, in their eyes for such a sacrifice.  Many have blindly chosen to believe a lie and to die for that lie.  So, I want to ask you, do you truly know what you believe about Christianity and would you be willing to die for this belief if called upon to do such an act?

The verse quoted above is well known and most people could probably quote it without the use of their bibles very closely. Yet what many people do not know or overlook is that the word translated ‘witness,’ the Greek word: ‘martus’ is or can also be translated ‘martyr.’ For those who do not know, the definition of martyr is: ‘a person who willingly suffers death rather than renounce his or her religion; a person who is put to death or endures great suffering on behalf of any belief, principle, or cause.’  (dictionary.com).

It is not enough to simply say yes or no, it is vital to take the time to seriously consider the consequences to such an action.  After all, when you are in the heat of the moment, it is not the time to contemplate if your conviction in your faith is strong enough to be willing to give up your life for Christ and thus leave your family, your kids, and your friends.

It is important to ask this question before hand, and connect the 10-inch expanse that exists between the heart and the mind.  Just think about the passage of scripture in Matthew 26:47-56; where we find all the disciples abandoning Christ as he was being arrested.  They were all even told by Jesus that this would happen, and he had told them what the outcome would be – that he would be crucified and die. Peter declared in Matthew 26:33 that he would not abandon Jesus, but would die along side him if need be.  Jesus told him that would not be the case.  Jesus was the one who was right, not Peter.

All these men walked with Jesus and saw him perform the miracles that we only read about.  They saw him walk on water, calm the storm, raise people from the dead. Peter was one of the three to see him transfigured before their eyes on the mountain.  Yet after seeing all of this, they still ran when the moment of crises arrived.

Yet history also shows that all these disciples that ran later chose to die for their belief in Jesus when called upon to either reject Christ or die.  Was this change just because they saw Jesus rise from the dead and that gave them the conviction? Was it because they did not really believe before, but after he rose, they believed?  Or was it simply because they had not truly asked themselves if they really were wiling to give up their lives, in both their hearts and minds.

Most of us would have the emotional response that yes, we would.  Thus our heart has answered. But what about our minds.  I know that I have never analyzes the truth of my life my true loyalties and whether I am willing to truly give everything up for what I believe.  My kids, my wife, my stuff… My passions, my hobbies, but flesh.  Do I believe enough to say to a mob of people that I will side with Christ, when they have built the bonfire, and the stake is ready for me to be tied to? What then, is Christ any less real just because of the pain he is going to let me experience?

If you think that you would never have to make this decision, then just take a look at history.  Countless numbers died for their belief in Christ throughout the ages.  Take a look at other countries, it is still happening- maybe not burning at the stake, but there are burnings, drowning, shootings, rapes, hangings, and more.

Martin Luther says: “we cannot save our lives at the expense of our confession without acknowledging that we hold them in higher estimation than the honor of God and the salvation of our should.”

Thus it is time we take our faith more seriously and realize that we can either play church or actually be the church. And I do not mean a building.  Being a Christian is not a Sunday morning event, or the clothes we put on, it must be who we are.  Take the time and connect those 10 inches to reality.

It is time to get real for Him.

Time to get real for Him (Jesus Christ)

As individuals and as a culture, we in America do not take our faith in Jesus Christ seriously.  It is more about what we can get out of our relationship with Him than what we can give. Our prayers are more about our requests and wants, than it is about His kingdom coming, fighting the spiritual battle that is going on around us, or earnestly seeking the salvation of our friends and enemies.

Jesus did not say to Peter ‘follow me and I will give you everything you ever wanted or could desire. I will make your pockets full, and never let you be tried.’  No, instead, Jesus told Peter ‘follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’  Being a fisherman takes effort, sweat, blood, tears, and a different perspective.

Christianity gets its name from Christ, and being ‘little christs’ or an imitation of Christ.  Thus we are supposed to reflect Christ to the world.  And Christ was not here praying for Himself only, or His safety, or money or fame.  He was here about the Father’s buisness and doing only what He saw the Father doing.

We must be about Christ’s buisness and what we see Christ doing.

It is time we get real, get active, and be about Christ.

It is time we get real for Him!