I am troubled in my spirit. There is something we need to face before our Lord calls us home. We are in the midst of a battle, a Holy battle for the lives of those in our family and those we work with and those we see on the streets. In this battle we must have the ability to stand strong; to be able to conquer the sin in our lives; to walk boldly in an uncompromised position.
Our Lord has given every one of us passions and desires, and He wants us to enjoy the path we have chosen to follow. This makes sense, after all, how is He supposed to use us if we are constantly grumbling, complaining, unhappy, sad, or running the race at half speed? He gave us the ability to choose the path we follow, so if we choose to follow Him, then we must accept the fruit of that choice.
John the Baptizer warned, “I baptize you with water so that you will change the way you think and act. But the one who comes after me is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to remove his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing shovel is in his hand, and he will clean up his threshing floor. He will gather his wheat into a barn, but he will burn the husks in a fire that can never be put out” (Matthew 3:11-12).
Oh, how we hate hearing a message like that! We want to hear how our Lord will love us and pat our hand and ignore our sin. But this is the sticking point, the sharp needle, the cutting edge of Christ’s words and the message of the Cross. If we are truly Born Again, filled with the Spirit of God, we should possess more than anything the desire to go after Christ, and go after him hard! We must follow Him with the heat of passion and longing because weak-willed, lukewarm and lackluster disinterest is not sufficient to pull us through the trials of our life.
In Revelation, the Lukewarm church is ‘spit‘ out of Christ’s mouth. Not, comforted and told that we just ‘missed the boat‘ or need to ‘try harder next time.’ There is no second chance, none, for a person that fails to follow after their Lord. Once we taste the sweet fruit of Christ’s grace and repent, we are required to run after him, and not to faint or grow weak. In fact, that is what Paul directed us:
We can’t allow ourselves to get tired of living the right way. Certainly, each of us will receive everlasting life at the proper time, if we don’t faint or give up (Galatians 6:9)
Well, J.B. Philips rendered that even stronger:
Don’t be under any illusion: you cannot make a fool of God! A man’s harvest in life will depend entirely on what he sows. If he sows for his own lower nature his harvest will be the decay and death of his own nature. But if he sows for the Spirit he will reap the harvest of everlasting life by that Spirit. Let us not grow tired of doing good, for, unless we throw in our hand, the ultimate harvest is assured. Let us then do good to all men as opportunity offers, especially to those who belong to the Christian household (Galatians 6:7-10)
It might interest you to know that the Greek word faint doesn’t just mean to collapse or stop, but to stop simply running. From Strongs, we read, “Faint is the Greek word eklyō and it means: “to weaken, relax, exhaust; to have one’s strength relaxed.
Well, Scripture commands us to get passionate, to find our calling, and go hard after Christ. We fail on any these accounts; we eklyō. As my Pastor says, “Lukewarm don’t cut it!”
But sadly, as Tozer once wrote, “The fact is that, we are not producing saints. We are making converts to an effete type of Christianity, that bears little resemblance to that of the New Testament. The average so-called Bible Christian of our times is but a shallow display of true sainthood. Yet, we put millions of dollars behind ‘movements’ to perpetuate this lower form of religion and attack the man who dares to challenge the wisdom of it.”
I highlighted Tozer’s use of the word, “Effete,” because it is not a word we hear much in our common language anymore. It actually means to “have lost character, courage, strength, stamina, or vitality.” So evidently, Tozer’s comments are more accurate than you thought.
But here is the reality we must face: Jesus declared I would prefer you to be either hot or cold. He is not interested in any wish-wash, in between behavior. As I learned in all of my computer training, all binary code breaks down to a 0 or a 1. It is either one or the other. More to the point, in the Scriptures, obedience is digital. The only thing that is analog is learning.
When we came to the Lord, we entered a world that is either yes or no. It is never something in between. As Winkie Pratney pointed out, “The guts and the glory of the gospel are tied directly to this kind of expected surrender.” When Jesus spoke, He expected them to leave everything and follow Him.
He said there are only two roads to travel. One leads to heaven and the other that leads to hell, and that only a few would take the straight and narrow road. While many would head for the broad way (See Matthew 7:13).
No one in history was born, who was like Jesus, lived like Jesus, talked like Jesus and loved like Jesus. Not even His enemies could find fault with Him.
He still defies comparison, because there is nobody else you can put in His class. Period. He not only claimed to be God, but showed His kingdom every way you can ask, to anyone who really wanted to see it. When you come to Jesus, He won’t give you options or alternatives, just a core decision: “Follow Me.” If you do, you are a disciple. If you don’t, you drop off the map forever.
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With these Morning Messages, I take you on guided tours to, as Bunyan described, the Celestial City. At times we linger at corners familiar and unseen. And explore the depths of our faith along the way.
The trail is long, but there’s no hurry. Though we do need to stock up on supplies for the way, and that’s where I need your help. If you enjoy these messages, please consider becoming a contributing member of this tour group. It will be very much appreciated.