Living Life in Christ – 1
Choices… our free will gives us the ability to make choices under the limitations of a sovereign God. If we narrow things down to the root, any decision we face can be one of two types in our hearts: a righteous one or a wicked one.
Now, biblically speaking righteous doesn’t mean good-doer or right-choice-maker. Righteous means listening to God. (Got that tidbit of info from Bible College.) Yes, God speaks to our heart because God is relational, but for the moments we can’t hear from God. or God already made it clear through something He did before, we have the Word of God. When we make daily choices, doing our best to honor God, then we’re making righteous choices.
Wicked is pretty straight forward. I don’t remember the Bible College definition of this term, but making a wicked choice is deciding something against the very heart and/or nature of God. Often, if not every time, wicked choices line-up with the nature of the Enemy.
Any time someone makes choices for themselves, those choices are most likely wicked in nature because God is not selfish. If anything, God is selfless and He calls us to be selfless too.
In the Book of Isaiah, Israel was judged for having a filthy form of righteousness. God compared it to the equivalent of used tampons. Israel in the day of Isaiah, was a nation very far from the heart of God. They may have practiced their Jewish laws and traditions, but they worshipped pagan gods too, and in their worship to pagan gods they broke the Ten Commandments and the other 613 laws again and again. They decided what to do with their lives and they made selfish choices. Yet, in their wickedness claimed they were God’s people.
Below is a scripture that portrays that righteousness offers security. [Within the historical context of the following scripture, Judah (a split kingdom from Israel) faced invasion from Assyria as judgement on the wicked in the land. In prior scripture the wicked would be judged accordingly, and in the given scripture underneath, the righteous could rest assured they would be okay.]
Isaiah 33:15-16 New International Version (NIV)
15 Those who walk righteously
and speak what is right,
who reject gain from extortion
and keep their hands from accepting bribes,
who stop their ears against plots of murder
and shut their eyes against contemplating evil—
16 they are the ones who will dwell on the heights,
whose refuge will be the mountain fortress.
Their bread will be supplied,
and water will not fail them.
[Scripture reference copied and pasted from biblegateway.com]
Even today, many believers say they believe in God, and they may even go to church. But we took a glimpse of their thought life, and we analyzed their daily lives like sport footage, no one would know they were a believer unless they said they believed in Christ Jesus. How many times did Paul paint the picture that it was okay to live in the world, but it was more important to not look like citizens of the current world system? That we should live by God’s precepts and appear as foreigners in a strange land.
It doesn’t matter if we know the Word and live by it alone, if we’re not living life like Christ. What do I mean by this? When Jesus walked the planet, His students knew Him as a teacher and as a friend. Sinners flocked to Him. The filthy-righteous religious leaders thought Jesus was a devil and/or a false teacher. Yet, we can judge Jesus’s words and His life by God’s law and we won’t find Him guilty of breaking one (I think… did Jesus break the observance about the Sabbath, but then again, as God… He could change things up, right?) And in Jesus’s own words He was all about doing the Father’s Will.
I will admit I am guilty of clinging to God closely expecting Him to make life better according to how I want my life to be better. I too often need to turn on the worship music to get a pick me up. I sit and veg on streamable TV selfishly. I opt out of an act of kindness because I don’t like the person I would be helping. All of those things are pointless and selfish in the end and in no way honoring to God. They all really lack a Fear of God.
Recently, I had to make tough choice. I’ve been working on a novel series for a little over a decade and I decided I needed to throw all my work on it away. There were amazing allegories that illustrated Christ and living biblically, however, it was under a cluttered mess of New Age Parallels and Witchcraft-like Practices. Too many themes could not be reconciled with God’s precepts.
Now, I don’t believe everything has to be written with Jesus in it, but my point is… why not write things with Jesus Messiah in it?
Shows and movies reference the Universe, or Buddha, or some form of Eastern Religion all the time. All these fictional stories and characters have belief systems portrayed allegorically or literally. and it is all okay. Why aren’t people bold enough to infuse gripping stories with mentioning God at least once?
This may sound cold, but I’m not too interested in winning the lost through what I write. Now, I want to win the lost through how I live, but I would much rather encourage or inspire believers to pursue Christ more passionately and sincerely then win the lost through Christ with what I write. And that is mainly because I want to help oversee someone grow and mature in Christ. When you become born-again, the Enemy sets up snares to steal you away from God again, and having a mature believer by your side until you’re strong enough to press forward on your own can be helpful. I want to be there to help disciple new believers. To me, it makes more sense, to inspire someone else already born-again to mature in their faith, so they can go and make more disciples.
Now that I dropped a decade-old novel in the making, I am working on one I am certain will honor the Lord’s precepts overall. I, of course, would appreciate our prayers to stay steady and finish this story onto completion.
Fellow saints, you for real don’t need to be perfect, but you must make the tougher choices. If you’re going about it the right way though, you’ll have joy knowing you’re putting a smile on the Father’s face and regardless of what you go through or what people think, you will rest easy because you take joy in honoring God.
But if making the choice that best honors God feels like a burden or you’re depressed in doing so… I suggest you re-evaluate that choice with these questions:
- How closely does that choice line up with God’s Word not just your church’s doctrine?
- Is the choice critical enough to impact your well-being spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally?
- Is the choice something you can be certain God wants you to do, or is the choice something you know people who mentor you and your ministry group says you ought to do?
- Lastly, but just as important, does the choice support this notion that if you don’t do it, no one else will do it?
For a really long time I got on this kick, that if I don’t fulfill my call and my destiny, then a bunch of people will miss out on the Gospel because of me. I supported this thought because I was like, “If Abram didn’t hear God, and leave his homeland in pursuit of a promise-land, where would we be?“
The Bible supports God always finds someone to do His will, even if who He called initially fails. It may take longer and realistically people may miss out because of someone’s disobedience to God, but God chose to have us partner with Him in redeeming souls. He decided to make us His messengers of the Good News and He wanted our lives to be the letters people read to witness that He is real and that He is GOD. But just like God will remove you from your position when you sin against Him, He can call another while you remain inactive for whatever reason. My question to you though, if you know what God wants you to do with your life but you’re not doing it, what is stopping you? STOP. Anything you think or say is most likely just an excuse.
Our righteous choices should reflect the Psalmist (most likely David in this case) when he said, “Your boundary lines mark out pleasant places for me” (Ps. 16:6a). We shouldn’t feel discouraged or defeated in anything God is leading or asking us to do. We get enough of that from life’s circumstances and the enemies set against us.
Yes, Jesus went to the cross and He bore our sins. He died for us. But the only reason Jesus had to do that was because of the Enemy, way back in the Garden, duped humanity into a sin-nature. God decided the cross was the best way to redeem humanity, but Jesus went to the cross with joy set before Him. He knew His sacrifice would reconnect countless people to the Father and restore them to their true nature.
Even if what God is asking you to do, may lead to the Enemy launching a full scale attack against you, the reason God has you doing it, is for a greater purpose you may not see the full picture on this side of paradise. We are not to seek comfort for a pleasurable life. We must be content in God, so rain or shine, peace or persecution, in life and in death we can endure because we have one purpose and that sole purpose is doing the Will of the Father as we live our lives in Christ.
Thanks for reading this first installment of this new segment. Let me know how this encouraged you by commenting on this post. If you want to point how this didn’t encourage you, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t hesitate to share this with someone you believe would benefit from listening to this.
Also, if you haven’t listened to Jesus Stories the 3-Part Series on Restoring. I highly recommend you check it out. Paige Harp’s story is a great example of making the tough choice to listen to God and not to man’s standards. You can check out a link below, if you’re on a cellphone, by pressing the three dots, or if you’re on a computer, the RSS Feed link should be on the right, on the sidebar.