Can you remember going down to the edge of a creek or stream and sticking your toe in at various points to test the water? It always felt cool because your body temperature was so high. So, you kept walking around at the thought of the cold water and decided it just wasn’t worth it. So, you went home without swimming a stroke.
Have you ever done that? I have. But I finally saw that I was missing all the fun of swimming and decided never to do that again. I learned just to back up, run and dive in. It’s cold at first and takes one’s breath away, but then you adjust very quickly and are able to enjoy the water!
This parallels the way some Christians have done with the religion of Jesus Christ. They stuck in their toes here and there and realized that some real demands would be made of them if they went out where it was deep. So, they kept walking around and sticking in a toe occasionally – attending some services and skipping others, giving a few dollars each week but keeping most of their money for their needs and self. They never did get a real delight out of any of these, things but they kept on doing them for a while. Eventually they began to feel a chill – having decided that religion is a drudgery rather than a delight, and they decided they would quit all of this nonsense. Now they are lost forever.
Maybe you see yourself at some stage of this process. Maybe you are missing all the fun of true, pure religion and are wondering if it is worth keeping on with these things. I assure you that there is no point in keeping on at that low level of spirituality. This kind of superficial involvement in the Lord’s kingdom will not save you! And, besides that, you are missing out on all the pleasures in the Lord’s kingdom that faithful service holds.
So, back up, get a running start, and dive right into things. Quit holding back on the Lord. Attend every service, sing every song, pray every prayer, learn something from every lesson and every sermon, and give until you have to sacrifice something. Go far enough out for the fun of Christianity and you will never turn your back on the Lord.
“And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 10:38-39
Our favorite unknown author — COPIED
COME OUT OF THE STANDS
We are in the middle of college and professional football, then basketball, then baseball, and now soccer as well. We cheer on our teams; we rejoice when a touchdown, goal, basket or home run is made. It has been said that there is one man that who could play every position perfectly, make no mistakes, never makes an error . . . but there is no way to get him to lay down his hot dog, come out of the stands and play the game. We all know that person. They are always ready to tell us about how the play should have been played, and how they could have done so much better. But it is SO much easier to talk a perfect game than it is to play one.
The Hebrew writer compares the Christian life to a race, and we are to run it and not just sit in the grandstand looking on. “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
According to Hebrews 12 why should we be involved, and what should motivate us?
Consider the ones who went before us, and what they did to please God!
They got rid of the things that would hold them back as they run the race – specifically the sin.
Run with endurance – They did not quit. We cannot as well.
Keep your eyes on Jesus. Follow him! Realize that he set the great example of keeping our eyes on the goal. He looked for the cross. He prepared himself to endure the cross. He despised the shame – and because he did this, he reached the goal of sitting down at the right hand of God!
The world will always tell us that we can’t make it! It will always try to drag us back into agreement with them. It will do all it can to keep us from our goal of being with the Father. We are to be participating in the race! We can’t be onlookers. Sitting in the grandstand being critical of those who run does NOT entitle us to the prize. The church needs you – there is plenty to do.
Unknown Author — COPIED
A preacher in the Midwest tells of a woman phoning him and expressing her dissatisfaction with a program of the church. He invited her to come to his office and talk the program over with him. She accepted the invitation and brought to his attention some of the things that were needed and could be done. He gratefully acknowledged her wisdom and her ideas. He then said, “This is wonderful that you are so concerned and interested in this. You are the very person this congregation needs to head this program. Will you take the job?” Her reply was just as immediate, “Oh no, I don’t want to get too involved. With my club work and the hours I put in on other things, I don’t have time. But I will be glad to advise you any time.”
The preacher’s answer was classic and well put. “Sister, that’s the problem now. I already have 400 advisors. I need someone who will work.”
Every Christian needs to get involved in working for the Lord. Today is not too late to start . . . how about you? What about your involvement? GENUINE CHRISTIANS DO NOT WANT TO GO TO HEAVEN ALONE!
No one reading the New Testament objectively can deny that God has a unique plan for every Christian during his life on earth. In accordance with His eternal purpose, God desires that every believer be a functioning member of the church. These believers mutually care for one another, and consequently, build one another up in Christ. This reciprocal edification serves as a catalyst for evangelistic outreach.
Paul states this plan most clearly in his Ephesian letter. Christians are to “speak the truth in love.” And as we do, “we will grow up in all things unto Him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:15-16).
A minister is a servant. Every member should become a minister. It is at this point that we often fail. The church has unlimited sources of potential in the God-given abilities of its members. Too often these abilities go untapped because of the lack of understanding by members of their resources, the failure of church to effectively use its members in the work of the kingdom, or the refusal of the members to use their God given abilities for God’s service.
Satan also has a plan. His desire is to render us ineffective in the service of the kingdom. And unless we are “steadfast, immoveable, always abounding the in work of the Lord,” Satan’s cunning deceitful ways are successful. Observe the lack of workers and the quality of second mile service in the kingdom and state that it isn’t so.
Satan uses a multiplicity of tools, but his ultimate aim is to divide and conquer. The tragedy is that we sometimes become his most effective weapons. Cynicism, apathy, gossip, and backbiting are all effective diversions from the empowering grace of God.
We are at war! Battles are won or lost in the decisions of our lives every day. Whose we are is as important as what we are! We hold the consequences in our hands! What will we do?