Actively sharing our faith with others is something most of us shy away from. But today, let’s look at this Scripture and how sharing our faith with others will benefit not only them, but us. For anytime we share the word of God we are releasing its power and as Isaiah 55:11 tells us, “My word will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” So think of it this way, as we share our faith with someone we are reminded again of the goodness of Christ Jesus, His great love for us, and how much He has done in our life. In other words, our faith is built up every time we share it…and that sounds like a win win situation to me.
This morning I was reading a very insightful blog from a dear friend about truth. Her Website is called Cantstealmyjoy.com by author Bekah Bowman, and the title of the blog was “Put on Truth.” But how difficult has it become now a days to discern truth, especially in these past chaotic months of the COVID 19 pandemic and world-wide protests? The voices are very loud, coming at us from all sides, each claiming to hold the truth…but who do we believe? As Bekah’s blog points out, we need to go back to the foundational truths of God, and that means getting back into His word. For without knowing His revealed word, we are left open and vulnerable to confusion and deception. But when we have a solid knowledge of God’s word, the outside noise isn’t nearly as loud, for we have the certainty and trustworthiness of the emphatic word of God to guide us. Or as Psalm 25:10 says, “All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of His covenant.” So, if you’re searching for the truth today amidst all those voices vying for your attention… first start in the bedrock of God’s word, the Bible, to learn for yourself what is genuine and true.
The last time our Church Body met was in March. And while we have a weekly online service…it’s just not the same. This past week our Pastor sent out 5 questions for everyone to answer, and one of them really struck home for me. The question asked in what ways had we experienced loss during the COVID 19 pandemic? The word loss got me thinking about the stages of loss – shock/disbelief, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression, and finally acceptance/hope. Now while I haven’t lost a friend or family member to the Corona Virus, or lost my job or business in the aftermath…I’ve watch in stunned sadness as millions of people have. So in a way, this profound loss can not help but effect me too. And when you couple this feeling of loss with a pervasive sense of uncertainty, I’m only left with dryness…a desert within my soul. But God’s remedy for this arid condition is simple…His Word. For just as Ezekiel spoke to the Valley of the dry bones and they lived…so my soul can be made alive through His Word.
Show of hands please…how many of you are over and done with COVID 19 and just want it to go back to normal? As the weeks drag on, my indifference has increased with each boring day…my lack of concern or interest in things leading only to more apathy. So when I read these Scriptures today, I said to myself, “This must be what it feels like to be ‘out of season’.” I don’t feel like sharing the Gospel Message with others, or reaching out with encouragement…but that’s not what I’m being told to do here. For my feelings have nothing to do with it, and I need to be ready, willing, and able to share the love of Jesus whether I feel like it or not. That’s what being prepared in season or out of season means. It all boils down to this…we are to fight the good fight of faith (I Timothy 6:12)… which means struggling daily with our thoughts and feelings in order to be a tool for God to use.
Elsewhere in Isaiah, God laments, “O My people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path.” (Isaiah 3:12) It’s almost like the blind leading the blind…with all of them wandering around in the dark. So how can we guard ourselves from this? The answer is discernment, wisdom, and sound judgment, based on personal knowledge of God’s word. No one will be able to lead you astray if you know the truth, and no one will be able to turn you from the correct way if you acknowledge that only Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Jesus wasn’t being disrespectful. He was simply showing the difference between His blood family, and His spiritual family. Elsewhere in Luke we can find Him repeating this notion when He says, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” (Luke 11:28) When we become a Christian, we are adopted into and become part of the family of God. And part of being in this family is listening to the word of God and then applying it to our own life…practicing until it becomes a habit.
Even now it’s sometimes very difficult to discern whether a Word from the Lord we hear is accurate. At face value it may sound good…especially the warm, fuzzy ones that predict peace, prosperity, and a new Cadillac in every garage. But to separate truth from falsehood we have to weigh these words in context with all prior revelations from the Lord. Is it consistent with God’s word? And when put up against the truth already received from the Lord, does it measure up to its standard? When we filter all we hear through these notions first, we’ll be less likely to accept the words of someone who’s overstepping their boundaries and taking smug and arrogant liberties with God’s word.
On many occasions Jesus told someone to “Follow Me.” Some did, but many did not. First off, we humans don’t like to be told what to do…we don’t like rules, especially rules on God’s terms not ours. But also, our selfish and controlling self wants to put “Following Jesus” in a neat well-defined package…like only on Sunday mornings in Church, while the rest of the week we’ll live for ourselves. But when Jesus says, “Follow Me” there is no room for negotiations…for He is God and we are not. That means we are to follow Him in faith, trust, and obedience, not the other way around…for it’s His agenda and His mission, not ours.
“Following the Word of the Lord…” Though sometimes, that still small voice of the Holy Spirit is almost drowned out by the incessant noise of the world. Romans 8:14 tells us that, “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” But following the Word of the Lord takes practice… it takes listening carefully, and obeying immediately when prompted, without hesitation…for when we stop to debate if it’s of God or not, we’ll usually not move on it…and His work stops there. By attuning our ears to that still small voice of the Holy Spirit, we are being led down the correct path of life and accomplishing God’s work for His glory.