Faithful Follower or Fair-Weathered Fan?

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Like a spiritual father that he was, Paul exhorts his spiritual children in Corinth to not be swishy washy in their walk. We read his words in 1 Cor 15:58 where he says, “…be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord”. As he closed this first letter he seemed to be giving them a last nugget of encouragement to keep them from vacillating in their commitment to following Christ.

Some years back when our hometown team was on the verge of going to the World Series, which they did eventually clinched. People came out of the woodwork and jumped on the bandwagon of being a fan. Everyone was buying t-shirts, banners and talking the talk at the water fountain and coffee counter. Everyone seemed to be diehard committed fans all of a sudden. They call these type fans, fare-weathered fans, because they are only committed to the team when it is easy and convenient.

I think many believers fall in this same type category of commitment in their walk with the Lord. You might call them fare weathered Christians. They are committed to Christ and His teachings as long as there aren’t any storms of life or a losing season in their daily disciplines. On the other side of the coin when they are in the midst of over flowing blessings it is easy to jump on the bandwagon of commitment. Yet, Paul knew that the believer was called to stand firm in their faith no matter what comes their way. Jesus said in Luke 9:62, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”. Therefore, Paul also exhorts the believers in 1 Cor 9:24-26 to be like


   Only being committed when it is easy and convenient is being a fare-weathered fan for Christ


the runner in a race that runs to win the race not just to be strolling down the track of life and also to those believers in Ephesus He says, “having done all to stand therefore stand”. (Eph. 6:12) Commitment without endurance is just a desire that never manifests into reality. The followers of Christ must live a lifestyle committed to being obedience to Christ rather than just being hinged with some sort of sacrifice. What I am trying to say is there must be more than just sacrifice. (1 Sam 15:22-23) Commitment is a must for every believer!

In Ps. 132 we read the psalmists conversation with the Lord, where he prayed that God would remember David’s commitment to Him. From the sheep fields to the Kingship it seems that this determined commitment that was birthed in him, grew more and more over time. The Spirit describes his determination and intensity in Acts 13:22, saying, “a man after My own heart, who will do all My will”. The Psalmist briefly reminds God of David’s commitment in Ps 132:2-5 which says, “How he … vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob: “Surely I will not go into the chamber of my house, Or go up to the comfort of my bed; I will not give sleep to my eyes … Until I find a place for the Lord”. David never strayed from this passionate commitment to God, in fact if anything, it increased. Scripture reveals how David wasn’t perfect, but his heart was moved for God and the more he leaned into intimacy with Jesus, I believe God kept pouring His heart into him. In a sense, you could say God was stoking the fire of heaven in David’s heart over the years.

After your gone, how will people remember your commitment to God? What will be written on your headstone? Have you given Him opportunity to increase your burning passion to the point that your commitment is at the same intensity as David?

 

 

 

 

 

Roll Up Your Sleeves and get it Done!

A1 roll up sleevesWords can’t explain the deluge of emotions that comes over you when you see your daughter walk across the stage of graduation! It’s as if an internal video automatically starts rolling in your mind. The day they were born, the first steps they took and so on. I wish I could say it gets easier, but the emotions just continue as time quickly goes down the road of life.

But, there’s nothing more awesome then to see your children who have your “DNA” begin the journey of life. Now that we’ve wiped the tears of emotions away let’s remember the reality of the process! Dirty diapers, screaming through the nights, acts of devilish fits, deceptive disobedience and last minute school projects after a long hard day at work. Wow! There is definitely work involved in the process


Don’t just sit on your blessed assurance but continue the journey of faith  


of life. They will always be our children and have our “DNA” but without rolling up their sleeves and doing some work they will never develop into a successful reflection of their parents. They must learn how to be a functioning member of our household. Their “DNA” never changes but they are fashioned into a true reflection of who we are as they yield to our guidance.

Paul addresses in his letter to the Romans some of these issues of growing as a believer. (Rom. 7:21-25) They hadn’t been raised up under Jewish traditions yet they came to the new birth through Christ Jesus. He exhorts these gentiles, in Rom 12:1-2 that the process of life in the Kingdom of God goes on even after the new birth. We now have a new DNA and have become children of light instead of darkness. (Eph. 5:8) It’s like Jesus said to Nicodemus we have been “born again”(Jn. 3:3), and now have started a glorious journey as a believer in Jesus! We are now citizens of the household of God (Eph 2:19) through the finished work of Christ on the cross. (Col. 2:11-15) But that’s not all there’s more!

Paul Exhorts the believers in Rome not to just sit on their blessed assurance but to continue the journey of faith. He says in Rom 12:1-2, “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”. It is Continue reading

Cutting Corners will Always Catch Up with You Later

Atlanta Braves v Chicago White SoxStranger things have happened, but the story we read in Gen 16 can definitely be counted among that category. We drop in on a story that started much earlier with the God of the universe putting a divine stamp or call on Abraham and his wife Sarah. God had called them out from among their own people to a land that they had not been and then downloads a promise that they are going to be blessed beyond measure (Gen 12:1-3), as well as, their own personal family to be numbered as the stars of the sky (Gen 15:5). In Gen 16:1-2, 4 we read, “…Abram’s wife, had borne him no children…” which at this point had been some time from God’s initial promise.

In verse 4 we are introduced to Sarai’s impatience as she tries to help God fulfill His promise. As nice as that might seem, helping God out can get one in a bigger mess


Sweeping God’s Commands Under the Rug of our lives will only trip us up Later   (tweet)


then you might want. Sarai offers her Egyptian maid to take her place and conceive a child for her husband. Let me just say, men that’s when you step up and say no my dearest wife, never! But on the contrary Abram agreed and soon Hagar the maid became pregnant and the turmoil has never ended.

Through cutting corners and not allowing God’s perfect plan to be manifest, they birthed a son named Ishmael that until this day has produce conflict against God’s plan and agenda. In the same manner most of us have stepped in and tried to “help God out” as if He can’t do it Himself. When we do this we often cut some corners and even sweep the very commands of God under the rug. Everything might look good and clean from the outside but in all actuality it is filthy and sooner or later Continue reading

Determined to Reach the Summit

605374893Have you ever tried to climb a mountain and felt as though your heart was going to pound through your chest? If you’re like me the answer is more times than I’d like to remember. One of those times was when I was returning back to my parent’s ranch, which is settled in the midst of the beautiful Rocky Mountains. I had decided to climb one of the peaks that I had conquered many times growing up. Whether it was self-deception or a shortage of oxygen that made me think I was in shape enough to start


The ultimate prize of every believer is to achieve the prize of the upward call of God, through Christ Jesus.    (tweet)


out in a full stride, I will never know. I guess you could say I was feeling rambunctious and over confident until moments later everything within me began to scream for me to quit! The more air I needed the less I was getting. My heart was thumping in my chest so loud I thought it would explode.

I quickly had an epiphany of the possible health trauma and looming defeat of not accomplishing the summit, so I adjusted from a sprint mentality to a marathon mindset. Taking one step at a time while focusing on shorter distant goals in front of Continue reading

Run Your Race of Faith as to Win

164172477The moment the gun goes off the sprinters bolt out of their starting blocks with one thing in mind, to be the first to cross the finished line. Many times, the finish can come down to several runners pushing with everything they have to thrust themselves past the others to win by inches. Paul exhorts believers to run the race of faith with victory in mind, not to just participate but to win. (1Cor. 9: 24-26)

Yet, so many people get drawn into the catastrophe of just existing and not finishing strong. Many have lost their tenacious spirit to push for the prize of victory. The wind has been taken out of their sails by a society that says, “Everyone Gets a Trophy”. I totally understand that we need to encourage and mentor the younger by rewarding and giving praise. But we also need to encourage them that whether it is in the natural or spiritual, hard work, endurance and discipline will help them achieve the prize at the end of the race. No one likes pain and agony. But for the sake of finishing as a winner the athlete goes through discipline of getting rid of things that will hinder their success.

The Christian also must endure to finish their race. It takes work and much persistence to keep going forward and not quit. In Heb. 12:1-2, the author writes “…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…”.

As followers of Christ we often allow bad habits and wrong actions to trip us up through our journey just as the athlete. Paul exhorts the believers in Col 3:8-10 to, “put off the old man with his deeds”. In other words to get rid of any anger, lying, filthy language and the list goes on. We must be willing to cleanse ourselves of any conduct of our former lifestyle without Christ and anything that would hinder us from finishing the race.


                  Stop nonchalantly going through life and begin running your race of faith to win for the King.   (tweet)


Jesus Himself at the end of His earthly ministry prayed to the Father in John17:4-5 saying, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” We also see at the end of the apostle Paul’s life he wrote in 2 Tim 4:6-8 to young Timothy saying, “the time of my departure is at hand…I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Paul ended his race achieving the victory in which he says he would receive a reward by God. Let us have that same mind as we run our race of Faith.

It is an act of worship and brings glory to God when we live our life pleasing to Him. In 1 Cor. 9;25 it says, if those in a race run for a earthy prize how much more should we run to win a imperishable crown from Christ. In Rev. 4:10-11 we get a glimpse of the twenty-four elders that cast their crowns or rewards at the feet of Jesus and say, “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor “. They give their heavenly rewards back to the Lord as worship to Him.

As believers when we finish our race victoriously it is evidence of our love and worship for God. So I encourage you to stop nonchalantly going through life and begin running your race of faith to win for the King.