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Psalm 119:10-11 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not
wander from your commandments! I have stored up your
word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Blinded By Self Sufficiency

This post isn't for those who choose to be faint, for those who want to be nominal, or for those who desire to remain proud. It is for those who are ready to quit playing church, stop relying on yourself, and be willing to give up everything to follow Jesus.

Being a disciple of Christ is a life changing calling. It requires one to look at where they are in their life, at where they are going, and decide, "Which direction do I want to go?" In America we make becoming a Christian an event that looks something like this... It is the end of the service and the preacher just finished a nice talk about how much God loves us and wants to bless us..."Bow your heads and close your eyes. Now if you feel God is speaking to you today raise your hand. Thank you, I see you over there, yes I see your hand... OK, open your eyes. Everyone who said yes to Jesus today we have a table in the back where you can let someone know that you became a Christian today. Bless you, have a great week!"

I have read my Bible for many years and I am still trying to find the part where Jesus, or any of the disciples for that matter, called people to say a "sinners prayer" and they will be saved. Jesus says that being a disciple will be costly, difficult, and may even take your life. We have put our spin on the Christian faith to look more like a social club rather than men and woman being sold out for Jesus. It concerns me that there may be millions of people who have said the "sinners prayer" and continue to live their normal American dream life and have the idea that they will one day be in Heaven. Jesus tells the people in Matthew that those who hear His words and put them into practice will enter the kingdom of Heaven. And those who don't... well, you read the verses and see for yourself. (Mat 7:21-27)

If you are a Christian today who gave your life to Jesus and you don't live for Him, I suggest that you rethink your "Christianity." Paul tells us in 2Cor 5:15-16 that we no longer live for ourselves, but for Christ. And Galatians (Gal 2:20) tells us that we have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live but Christ in me. There are dozens of verses that I could share, but I think the Bible makes the point extremely clear that a follower of Christ lives for the Glory of Him not for the uplifting of one's self.

2Cor 5:14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 2Cor 5:15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. (emphasis added)

The church of Laodicea had a similar problem as today's typical American church. (Rev 3:14-22) They were blinded by their own self sufficiency. They had money, they had it all together, and they needed nothing. Not even God... What was the response from Jesus for this lukewarm group of Christians? He spit them out of His mouth. He tells them to purchase His gold and wear His garments, and cleanse their eyes so they can see. Many people I encounter who call themselves Christians have really nice homes, great kids, beautiful furnishings, a plump 401k, new cars, and haven't stepped foot into a church for many years. They declare how blessed they are! "Blessed?" Having a bunch of nice stuff isn't a blessing, it is a burden. It keeps us from seeing our need for Jesus to come in and radically transform our lives. This isn't being blessed, it is being blinded by self sufficiency and thinking it is from God.

Self sufficiency is a sin. Many words can be used for this, but one stands out to me the most; PRIDE. Prov 16:5 says: ​​​​​​​​Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished. It is an abomination to God to be self sufficient. Self sufficiency is reliance on one's abilities and taking credit for one's efforts. It is being a friend of the world and an enemy of God. One day your joy will be turned to gloom and your laughter into mourning. Turn to Christ, become humble, and He will exalt you. (see Jas 4:4-10)

Jesus told the rich man in Luke 12:18-25 that he knew the commandments and the rich man agreed that all of these he has kept. When Jesus heard the man tell him that he has kept all of the commandments, Jesus told him this: “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” The man went away sad. He didn't realize that the treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy, doesn't hold a candle to the treasure he would build up in Heaven by being obedient to Jesus.

Following Jesus is costly. It isn't about making a one time decision and having the golden ticket to get you into heaven. It is about being willing to listen to the Holy Spirit of God and following what He tells us to do. Sometimes it is to give up your family, sometimes your possessions, and always He calls us to give of our life. It is about picking up your cross and following His lead in your life.



Matt 16:24-28 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

I truly believe it is time to get the American way of life out of Christianity and especially out of the church. In my post "Have You Been Transformed" that I wrote a couple of months ago I touched briefly on this topic. I made mention to the fact that doing good things and living a good life isn't what being a Christian is all about. The non-Christians do that every day. It is being reconciled to God through Jesus Christ and everything we do is a reflection of Him. If we want to be a Christian nation we need to be a nation filled with Bible believing followers of Christ.

So here is my challenge to you. If you have made a decision to follow Christ and your life looks no different than the guy next door who isn't a Christian, I challenge you to open your heart up to what God would have for you. Pray that the Spirit of God would speak to you today and continue to pray and listen over the next couple of weeks and months. Be open to what He would be telling you. In addition, start reading the Word of God every day. And if you haven't been connected in fellowship for awhile, get into contact with "That one person..." you know the one I am talking about. The man or woman in your life that you know is on fire for Jesus. Call them today and tell them you want to radically change your life for Jesus and in doing so you want to begin to impact those lives around you.

I know, it is a lofty challenge, but Jesus never said following Him would be easy. He said it would cost you everything. Don't let the blindness of self sufficiency keep you from experiencing the blessings of God. Be willing to give it all up for Him should He ask you to. Be willing to serve in ways you never imagined. And be willing to lay your life down for Jesus.

Blessings,
Keith

2 comments:

gkbolivia said...

Hi Keith!
I do see all the parts of the sinners prayer within the Bible though...but your main point is true, lots of people have said the sinner's prayer yet are not living it out. The whole beg. part...is that out of the raggamuffin gospel?
Gabe

weapherblogs said...

Gabe,

I guess my point was that Jesus didn't call people to say a ritualistic prayer to get to Heaven, he calls us to die to ourselves and follow Him.

You comments are greatly appreciated.

I have not read Ragamuffin Gospel. If I use references I generally try to quote them to give credit when due.

Is it a good read? I am always interested in new books to read.

Hope all is well with you guys... I enjoy your blog tremendously.

Keith