“I love the way y’all say things without hesitating. You aren’t afraid to speak the truth, even if it hurts or is embarrassing. I think that a lot or people today don’t want to stand up for this kind of thing.”
This quote came from one of the students to whom we ministered during the “Be Prepared” tour. He also said that many people today appear to worship God in church and during religious activities, but then go home and engage in immoral activities on their own time. This student even wondered if these people are actually Christians. It was obviously very upsetting to him.
It makes me think of Matthew 7:13-14, when Jesus says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.”
Yes, the gate to life is narrow, but I think we tend to forget that the road to life is also narrow. We cannot simply pray a prayer and then leave it at that. We must repent and turn from our wicked ways. This is where it gets tough.
Years ago, I had a very good friend whom I still love very dearly as a brother. He said he was a Christian and lived life with his friends and family. One day, however, I caught him in a lie, followed by more lies. I confronted him about his dishonesty. He admitted that he had lied not only once, but also numerous times before that. I forgave him, and we moved on. Later I caught him in more lies, so I asked another brother in Christ to accompany me when I confronted this man. He again admitted his guilt. I told him that I forgave him and that we would just move on from that point. All was forgiven; however, I told him, “Always tell me the truth from this point on, even if it is very difficult to do so.” We continued our friendship as if the lying had never taken place. This peace lasted about one month, until I sensed that he was lying again. I confronted him about it again, but this time he grew defensive and stated that I was just paranoid. He began to ignore me and failed to return my phone calls or e-mails. This totally confused me because I thought that we had moved on from these lies.
Obviously, he was continuing his path of lies. However, he no longer seemed remorseful about his actions anymore. Thus, I had to deal with a very difficult situation and make some hard decisions.
I share this story with you because at that time I was also questioning whether my friend was even a Christian. I asked myself and God, “How can he be a Christian when he is definitely not walking the narrow path as Jesus Christ has told us to do?” I was consumed with this situation and bewildered over how it could be happening.
After much prayer, meditation, and counsel from wise brothers in Christ, I was freed by God from this situation. Praise God that He allowed me to think this through and see clearly. I forgave my friend and tried to make things right with him (as Jesus taught), even though I was wronged. However, because my friend did not like what I believe are the God-given standards by which we are to live, we don’t talk much anymore, which is a difficult, but probably, a good thing. Praise God that my family and I are now free to do what God has called us to do. I don’t need to worry anymore whether this person is telling the truth or is lying again. My family and I now focus on Christ.
Everyone, God is the judge — not us. It is up to Him as to who is following the narrow path and entering through the narrow gate. So the burden is on Him, not you or me. Later Jesus says in verses 21–23 of Matthew 7, “Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
So, I guess the question for all of us is this: Are you truly following Christ in everything you do and not being a hypocrite?!
For further reading, check out an old book by Andrew Murray called Absolute Surrender, and read Matthew 7:15–29.
Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, April 11, 2009 0 comments
While on the “Be Prepared” tour on the west coast, Silverline and I were able to stay with a wonderful couple in Phoenix, AZ. Silverline took two days to record a few songs with their new label, VSR, while I took a few days to write, pray, and seek the Lord. I was a little skeptical of being able to do much ministry while we stayed there, but God reminded me that if we are willing to do His will, He will work through circumstances for His greater glory.
Many people came over to the house on a Sunday evening to celebrate a birthday in the family. Little did we know how God had prepared to use that time for ministry! Around 8:00 that evening, we began a praise and worship time for anyone who wanted to join us. Soon we were praising our Lord and Savior by singing as the Holy Spirit led, with each person singing whatever he or she felt led to sing. Sometimes we all sang the same song, but other times we all sang something different. It was an incredible time of worship.
After worshipping, we prayed for about an hour for our friend, Adam, to be healed from his enlarged spleen. Please pray for his healing. Then our hostess asked us to pray for a young man who was there worshipping with us, whom I will call Tim. She did not tell us what to pray for, in order to allow the Spirit to lead. As we began to pray, some of us laid hands on Tim. As we prayed, a recurring theme began to emerge from each person praying — fear and confusion. I was a little confused myself because I supposed that Tim needed physical healing.
As we continued praying for this young man, we became more certain that we were hearing the Spirit correctly. As we prayed, Tim began to cry, with head hung low and shoulders hunched over. After about 20–30 minutes of prayer time, we all felt that we could do no more, that the prayer time was finished. Tim just stood there with his eyes closed, weeping. We all sat down quietly to allow Tim to do business with God. After about 15 minutes of silence, Steve, Silverline’s guitarist, told him, “Tim, there’s nothing more we can do right now. You need to just give it over to God. Only you know what to do now.” Tim remained in his hunched position for another 5 minutes, and then. .. it happened. Tim fell to his knees and began to cry profusely. He decided to trust God and not himself anymore. Something broke in the spiritual realm and we were now able to pray over Tim again. This went on for the next 40 minutes. I didn’t get to bed until 3:00 the next morning.
How about you? Are you dealing with fear and confusion? Is there something you need to surrender to the Lord? Is there an area in your life that you have not submitted to God? Are you dealing with pride or selfishness? Then give it over to God. Pray right now. Ask God to help you submit to His will and fulfill His calling for your life.
God continues to move greatly on this tour. Lives are being changed! People are being freed from personal junk and are becoming free to live out their relationship with Jesus Christ. Many people are also beginning to recognize that they are stuck in religious, ritualistic institutions that had good beginnings but have somehow developed into institutions of men. Praise the Lord that people are becoming free in Christ! Yes, people are being saved. But many are also realizing that beyond salvation, they need to be discipled in order to grow. Both students and adults are stepping up! Praise God!