“For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth.” ~Philippians 3:18-19 (NLT)
“So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.” (1Cor 1:23) That was Apostle Paul’s position a really long time ago and I think it holds true today. You can try and have a conversation about Isaiah 53 with our Jewish friends but you will not be received well, then try and share the love of Christ with a co-worker and get shut down as a Jesus Freak (happens to me once in awhile). Kinda makes me wonder if people really wanna go to hell or they’re too stubborn to get off the multi-lane highway to it because it’s just easier to go with the flow of traffic. In any case Christ is a stumbling block in their roles for easy living.
For us as Christians our roles can be simply defined in the words of A.W. Tozer, “A real Christian is an odd number anyway. He feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen, talks familiarly every day to Someone he cannot see, expects to go to heaven on the virtue of Another, empties himself in order to be full, admits he is wrong so he can be declared right, goes down in order to get up, is strongest when he is weakest, richest when he poorest, and happiest when he feels worst. He dies so he can live, forsakes in order to have, gives away so he can keep, sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, and knows that which passeth knowledge.” WOW! Kinda makes Christians sound like a bunch of weirdos doesn’t it? Well, truth be told I was weirdo before salvation, so what does tell ya? Anyway…
When I got to pagin’ through chapter 10 of Chuck Swindoll’s study guide “Laugh Again” I found this to be a particularly interesting statement. “Leaving heaven-bound people in a hell-bound world is not a simple over sight on the Lord’s part.” Ya got that right!! On the contrary it’s all part of God’s strange strategy to use us “weirdos” for a bigger purpose and that was revealed to Jesus’ disciples at The Last Supper.
First, that we can have inner peace in the midst of outer pressure and pain (read John 16). Christ never promised us an easygoing way down the road, there’s gonna be pain and suffering but we’ve been given a peace that not helps us erase the pain but to endure it. (easier written than done for this Freedom Fighter writer)
Second, we are insulated by divine power, yet we are not to live an isolated existence. (Turn to John 17:11-15) To quote Swindoll, “This sinful world isn’t something we are to avoid by cloistering ourselves behind sanctimonious walls of self-righteousness.” Actually we go out into this world, by faith, and shine that light in the darkness where that dude with his tail and pitchfork rules over the lost. Maybe throw a little salt into their food!!
And now thirdly, we may be unique, but we must be unified. This all Upper Room stuff now. (John 17:16-17, 21, 23) It isn’t a bad thing when one of us gets used to bring someone into the Marvelous Light but that is only of God’s strategy. What God needs us to be is that Lucy Van Pelt fist that scared the willies outta her brother Linus, with the exception of the index finger. That needs to point to the Father who loves us through the sacrifice of the Son.
So what of the enemies of the Cross? Well we’ll get into the next time I am with you but look back at what was said to Jesus’ Disciples that night that He was to be betrayed. Chapters 14-17 ain’t nothing but red letters in my Bible and is very clear to me that Jesus had something that He wanted to impart not only to those 11 that were in The Upper Room but to us as well. So much so that He ends His prayer time like this, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20-21) If you can’t AMEN that, then maybe we need to talk about it because I’ll take abiding in Him on the slow lane that calls me Heavenward than stumbling through the fast lanes that lead straight to hell any day.
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) is married (Kathy) with two adult children (Kevin and Karen) and serves on the Deacon Board at Trinity Alliance Church in Cologne NJ
The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 71; Proverbs 10
Daily Quote:“To many Christians, Christ is little more than an idea, or at best an ideal. He is not a fact. Millions of professed believers talk as if He were real and act as if He were not. And always our actual position is to be discovered by the way we act, not by the way we talk.” —A.W. Tozer
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”