I am more excited today in my Christian life than I have ever been!! At our church last Saturday, we had a conference called "Transformed", and I don't think I have ever been to a more aptly named event! It was put on by an organization called "The Way of the Master" and you can find a link to their website in our favorite links on the left. One of the speakers, Kirk Cameron, many of you will remember as "Mike Seaver" on the classic sit-com "Growing Pains".
For the most part this was an evangelism conference, and I was most definitely challenged to be more bold in sharing my faith, but even MORE so, I was challenged to live a HOLY life! I believe that the church in America today waters down the message about the horribleness of our sin, and emphasizes the message of God's love and forgiveness. Don't get me wrong, our God is infinitely loving, and His forgiveness knows no bounds, but we treat our sin as if it is no big deal. We continue on in sins that we consider "acceptable". We criticize the drug addict, while we stuff our faces during Holiday dinner. As if drugs were more sinful than gluttony. We explode in anger, justifying it with pithy little sayings like, "That's just how God made me", or "God's still working on me, it's a process, of course..." Well, yes, we are not going to be perfect overnight, or quite honestly, until the day we try on our glorified bodies. However, how long are we going to hang on to the same old sins? How long before we realize that we are offending to Creator of the Universe with our lame excuses? One of the conference speakers, is named Ray Comfort. In addition to speaking at the conference, Ray also preached the sermon on Sunday morning at our church. He gave the following illustration (I am paraphrasing, as I don't have a transcript): "A young boy lived in a house on a lake with his father. He asked his father one day if he could go fishing on the lake. His father told him that he didn't want him to take the boat out by himself on the lake, as there were many alligators in the lake, and he didn't think it was safe. The father told the boy, that if he wanted to fish from the dock, then that should be fine. The boy happily agreed, grabbed his pole and bait, and headed over to the dock. After fishing for a while, the boy got a little bored. He felt that it just wasn't as fun when you weren't out in the boat. He thought that it would be more exciting out in the boat, with the alligators swimming around him. Besides, he would be completely safe in the boat! So he got in the boat, and pushed off from the shore. He was having a great time. He was having fun fishing, and every so often, he would see one of the huge alligators swimming near him. Everything was great until one of the alligators swam too close to the boat, and his tail hit the side, capsizing it! The boy immediately panicked and screamed at the top of his lungs. The father, hearing the noise from the house, ran down to the lake, and without hesitation, leaped into the water, and pulled his son to safety. As the boy struggled to calm himself down, he noticed something alarming... His father's legs were a mangled mess! An alligator had clamped down on his legs while he was pulling his son to safety. Blood was everywhere. Now, how would you feel toward this young lad, if he then stood up and said..."Look, Dad, I really appreciate you pulling me out. That was pretty scary! But it WAS really fun out on the lake, and the alligators WERE exciting to see up close. If you don't mind, I'm going to head back out in the boat. See you later!
You would say that this kid has no appreciation, or understanding of his father's sacrifice. He might as well have ground his father's blood into the dirt.
Guess what... That is EXACTLY what we do, when we knowingly continue to sin after accepting Christ. It IS a process, but the process should be more of God revealing new sin to us over time, not taking years to give up the one's we know about!! For my entire Christian life, I felt sorry for my sin because I knew that I shouldn't do it, but I never fully realized what I am saying to God every time that I sin. I am saying that his sacrifice doesn't mean much to me.
James 4:7-10 (NLT) says: "So humble yourselves before God, Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up in honor."
My challenge is this: Let's hold each other accountable. Let's get rid of the logs in our eyes, so we can see clearly to help remove the specks from other's eyes. Let's take seriously Matthew 5:48, "But you are to be perfect, even as your father in heaven is perfect." Cast off the sin that so easily entangles, and race to get the PRIZE!!
PRAISE THE LORD!
HE IS RISEN!!
HE IS RISEN!!