Proverbs 13 2-13-21

People who claim to be Christians but act like lost people give true followers a bad name. Maybe our standards are too low…

5 The righteous hate what is false, but the wicked make themselves a stench and bring shame on themselves.

The problem is that we have a lot of people who have been inoculated against the Gospel. An inoculation is a dose of a dead strain of a virus that keeps us from getting the real thing, as in the flu. The same thing can happen with the Gospel. A prayer for salvation without a pledge to live for Christ is an empty prayer. Jesus doesn’t call us to be sinless, but to follow Him. He promises that our sins will be taken care of, but it’s not the main reason for His sacrifice on the cross. He died and rose again so that we could have Him come and live in our hearts! Once He is there, He is LORD. If a person had no intention of ever letting Jesus be Lord, then “Houston, we have a problem.” Consider this event:

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” Mark 10:17-23

This would-be disciple had a problem: he loved the good life too much. He loved his stuff. Jesus knew his heart and called him on the one thing that was an idol to him. Jesus does the same thing with us. The cost of discipleship is whatever we treasure most. Are we willing to give it? If you are reading this post, then you probably already have. What we need to know is that Jesus comes to us every day and asks the same question, “Will you give Me all?” Every day, we must answer, “Yes, Lord!”

If all professing Christians would answer, “yes,” to Jesus every day, then we would have no problem winning the world to Christ. A relationship with the God of the universe is that attractive! All we have to do now is, through the way we live our lives, hold up a mirror to all of those who profess Christ, but don’t really have Christ living in their hearts. The Holy Spirit will have to show them the truth; we are to live the genuine life regardless of those around us.

The best example of our plight is the Parable of the Weeds:

24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” Matthew 13:24-30

We will always have impostors; the Lord will sort them out at the Harvest. In the meantime, let’s make sure that we are committed to Him, that our children are committed to Him, and those we disciple are committed to Him. We ALL need a personal, intimate, and ongoing relationship with Jesus!

Abba, may You protect us from wolves in sheep’s clothing. There are those who are deliberately so, but there are also those who truly think that they are saved, but are still part of the dark side. Help Your children to discern the truth about those who follow You and those who don’t. Help us to raise the bar of discipleship so high that only those who depend upon You can reach it, which is the whole point (us depending on You). Guard Your Church, Lord. Amen.

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