Monday, January 3, 2011
Not Even In The World?
"If you leave, you are condemned to hell."
A friend of mine in her early 20s was told this as she informed those she loved that she was moving out. No encouragement, no love in these words. Instead, there was condemnation and displeasure. Why was she condemned? Because she chose to move from her parent's house and be on her own. Because she heard God's call and chose to follow even though her parents did not agree with it. They equated this action with sin and giving herself to Satan.
"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." - John 5:24
This doesn't say you have eternal life by doing this/that or not doing this/that. You have eternal life by believing. No person can say whether or not you are "condemned", only God has that power. The rules of men mean nothing to God. He says "Believe, and you will have life". I believe that if I believe and trust in God, then I will have life, regardless of what any person may tell me. Regardless of whether or not they completely agree with everything I say and do.
He [Jesus] will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; - Isaiah 11:3
Does anyone but you really know your heart? People are judging by what they see you do and say, but that is not how Jesus judges! Your heart is what really matters, not your actions. As humans, we can only see what is physical, but God sees everything. It is not up to us to judge others, that is only for God.
The inside is not affected by outside changes, but rather the other way around. To say "all Christians must do this/say that/avoid this/live this way," is to miss God's real plan.
We get so focused on doing only this or only that, yet what did Jesus do? He reached out to the lost. Did he lay down rules for life patterns or turn gray issues to black and white? No, He simply reached out with the Good News to the lost.
I [Paul] am free and belong to no one. But I make myself a slave to all people to win as many as I can. To the Jews I became like a Jew to win the Jews. I myself am not ruled by the law. But to those who are ruled by the law I became like a person who is ruled by the law. I did this to win those who are ruled by the law. To those who are without the law I became like a person who is without the law. I did this to win those people who are without the law. (But really, I am not without God's law—I am ruled by Christ's law.) To those who are weak, I became weak so I could win the weak. I have become all things to all people so I could save some of them in any way possible. I do all this because of the Good News and so I can share in its blessings. - 1 Corinthians 9:19-23
Paul did not live in sin, yet he still found some way to identify with those who were. To identify with someone is to care about them, to show them you are willing to go to great lengths to show them God's love. People just want to be understood. When you understand them for who they are, then they will be ready to listen to God speaking through you (not that some aren't 'ready' before that point.).
God doesn't want an army of robots, all looking, sounding, and living alike. He wants an army of vastly different characters, all gathering together to take on the world on all levels and walks of life.
Jesus said to his followers, "Go everywhere in the world, and tell the Good News to everyone. Mark 16:15