Yesterday, God brought this image into my mind. The image was my childhood self, standing there with a line of kids of all ages, and adults, all linking arms as we played the game “Red Rover” in the back yard of the church I went to as a small child. It was one of those nostalgic moments that I just sat in for a brief moment, soaking in the warmth and comfort from those times of days gone by. Then it hit me: the game Red Rover is so very similar to the Christian life-reflecting the community of believers, the church, the body of Christ.
We hold hands as tight as possible, but yet with enough flexibility to keep the enemy from breaking through and grabbing any of us and taking us to the other side with him, thereby making us ineffective for the Kingdom of God. If we grasp each other firmly, but yet with enough flexibility, we eventually win over the hearts of those that were originally on the other side.
Yet, if we are so rigid and we think we cannot be broken, we will be the first ones to break. And the darkness will consume us when we are drug back to the other side.
Yet, if we are so loose that anything goes, we will quickly lose ground to the enemy’s tactics and we will find ourselves enjoying the company of the enemy and all his delusions, as we are drug back to his side.
But, if we are honest with ourselves–if we have truly been reborn of the Holy Spirit, with Christ Jesus dwelling within us–we know that when this happens, something is amiss. We understand that we are in the company of those that we should be trying to convey Christ’s love to. And yet we know that through us succumbing to temptation, we have given way to the lies of the enemy, the perverseness of evil. And because of this, they are not able to see Christ in all His Righteousness and Glory within us.
If we are honest with ourselves, it eats us up inside that others could have known Him through our actions and words–but yet they do not come to know Him through us because we have been a stumbling block in their path. We have allowed attitudes, thoughts, and ideals of the world to control us, things that we know are sinful and against the holiness of God.
As believers, we are called to live separate from the world–and yet love the people that are trapped in world’s system. But we are to remain separate (holy, set apart) so that they see Him in us, and can easily distinguish Him from themselves.
Holiness, coming from the Greek word hósios, means “what is sanctioned by the Lord”.
But if we blur the lines and there is no more distinction between Christ in us and the world’s system which they are a part of (and we were, too, before we received Christ), then we have fallen prey to the tactics of the enemy to make us ineffective.
Do you realize why the enemy continues to feed us lies that “this is permissible”, “that’s okay”, “God wouldn’t punish you for feeling this way “… Etc etc? The lies the enemy feeds us are only there to make us weak, to bring down the power of Christ within us and subvert all attention to the world’s system, which is at enmity with God.
((And let me pause and clarify that statement “God wouldn’t punish you for feeling this way”. Satan wants us to think of God in a hateful, vengeful light. And then he tries to twist that lie upside down and backwards and inside out, and tell us in the same token, “God is love, God wouldn’t punish”. Satan is full of lies and half-truths, and they are always changing to keep you and I confused (so long as we listen to them).
God will chasten His children, I’m here to tell you. But it is for our good, so that we can grow into becoming more Christ-like with every step. And yes, God does love us beyond our wildest comprehension. And because He loves so fully and completely, He wants to fill us to completion with Himself, and through that fullness that comes with being completed by Him, He wants to use us to draw others to Himself. Yet, when we are full of sin and the world’s system, we have crowded Him out of our hearts, and people cannot see Him in us. Therefore, He says “be Holy, as I am Holy”. (Lev 11:45).
So, ‘punish’ isn’t the correct term, but rather, let me rephrase it in the light of the Truth: God will ‘chasten’ us, for our good, so that we come out of the life of sin we have gotten ourselves entangled in, and so that we let go of the empty, hollow things of this world, and are able to be filled completely by Him. In this way, others can see Him in us, be drawn to Him, and be saved.
I dare say that when we think of it in this light, it’s hard not to say, “I’m Yours, Lord, here I am, use me!”))
We are not be taken captive by empty words, philosophies–by the world’s system. But instead we take everything captive to the Word of God, to the power of Christ within our hearts.
Let us live in grace, receive others with grace, be full of grace in our daily walk. Yet let us hold tightly to the body of Christ, and hold even tighter to the Word of God.
Love our enemies, pray for those that try to attack that line we are joined in–God’s army.
And through love, righteousness, and grace, let us keep ourselves separated from the world. Let us not let go of the core values of Christ within us. Hold each other accountable to God. And do our best to live at peace with the world–and in the process, allow Christ who is living within us to win over the hearts of those that try to attack us and our brethren–the army of God.