We are living in a very impermanent and changeable world. Nothing that we see is going to last forever. The ambitions, the desires, the passions of the people of this world who are immersed in time and the things of the flesh are all going to pass away.
But as the children of God we need to be careful not to allow our lives, to be impacted by the changeable and impermanent world. This is a challenge that many are battling with at all times.
We do believe that the world will continue to change, but the will of God stands firm, enduring and unconquerable. It will never change. It can never be changed or altered.
Don’t give in to popularism in your Christianity
Apostle Paul once cautioned the Galatians about the danger of the changing world impacting their faith. And we do live just like them today in a culture that is driven by popular opinions. The Galatians at that time were seeking to be relevant within their corrupt world’s system, while reaching out to win the lost for Jesus at the same time. But in their attempts to win the lost, they found themselves moving away from the original message of salvation which they had received.
Paul told them:
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!”
Galatians 1:6-9 NIV
There is the danger for many in the western world today, to compromise the gospel which they had received. Many are ascribing to popularism in the form of the gospel, which is being preached among them. Is the Church in the western world going to succumb to popularism? But we do acknowledge that God’s way is pure and straight forward.
The Devil is throwing everything that he has at the believers today, so as to limit their influence on the world. But it’s too late for him. He has been exposed with his tactics. He is doomed to fail.
And as Christians there is no need however to change what we believe, even when the whole world around us is changing. Jesus Christ will always be the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). As Christians we do owe no man apology for what we believe. Jesus Christ is always Lord.
But when a child of God is seeking to live like the people of the world, then that Christian is indeed alienating himself from God. For it’s impossible to be scripturally correct, while at the same time embracing the works of the Devil. You can’t serve two masters at the same time (Luke 16:13).
Yet there are those who are compromising the teachings of Christ today for the sake of popularism. This attempt to seek the world’s approval instead of God’s, weakens the power of God among them for miracles, signs and wonders.
You can’t live in two worlds at the same time
James (the younger brother to Jesus) puts it this way:
“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
James 4:4 NIV
If there is anyone who knows Jesus very well from childhood, until He stepped full time into the ministry. It was James. James got it right. He had witnessed first hand how the ministry of Jesus had evolved. He knew his brother (Jesus) well enough, to understand that He could not be pushed around by popular views. And he boldly categorized today’s Christians, who are trying to appease the world in this manner, as spiritual adulterers.
In fact he (James) had on one occasion challenged Jesus in the early stages of His Ministry, to become relevant to the Jewish world. James and the other blood brothers of Jesus actually wanted Him to befriend the world.
The scriptures says:
“After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him.”
John 7:1-5 NIV
In other words the brothers of Jesus (including James) would have had no problem with the message of Christ, if He had sought to please the world at this time.
Jesus immediately responded to the request from them:
“Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee.”
John 7:6-9 NIV
Jesus was not prepared to play into the hands of the world. He was not seeking relevance with them. He was seeking relevance with His Father in Heaven. He was not prepared to dance to the world’s sound beats about Him.
After James and His other brothers had left for the festival, Jesus made His own move but on His own term:
“However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret.”
John 7:10 NIV
Evidently Jesus was not prepared to dance to the public sound beats. He went on His own term. He never allowed the world to dictate the course of His Ministry. He was not seeking to be relevant to their way of thinking. Jesus knew that everything coming from the crowd was evil. And since He would not embrace their views, they hated Him more.
Some of Jesus’ greatest teachings were made at this festival. The world sought to be relevant to Him, when they heard His teachings and saw His works. He never tried to live in satisfying the world and His Father at the same time. He would never had pleased God, if He had tried to live in the two worlds at the same time – the Kingdom of God and of Satan.
If He never sought to live in both worlds at the same time; why should you? As Jesus remained steadfast on His Father mission, the world started longing for Him.
The scriptures says:
“Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, “Where is he?” Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.” Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders.”
John 7:11-13 NIV
It was when they had given up on the hope of Him ever showing up, that something that they never expected happened:
“Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?”
John 7:14-15 NIV
They were amazed at His teachings, because He was different from others. That’s what happens when we seek to please the Father alone, instead of relying on the world’s opinion about God.
You have to be different to make a difference
What James pointed out in his letter (James 4:4) affirmed Paul’s letter to the Galatians also. You can’t be a friend of God, if you are seeking to be relevant with the world.
Jesus once said:
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Matthew 6:33 NKJV
He never said to seek the world first, but God’s Kingdom. God’s Kingdom takes precedence over every other things in this world. Eventually the stupidity of the world will pass away. But God’s word and His Kingdom will still remain forever (Matthew 24:35).
Many Christians today are seeking things for themselves only. They are seeking healing, financial prosperity, spouses, children and the list goes on. That’s why they do go to Church, or even claim to be Christians. Watch out for them among you. Is their love for Jesus really sincere?
Very few are really concerned about the things of God. These people want everything from God, but they are not preoccupied with the things of God. There is nothing wrong with having your needs met by God, if that’s your way of seeking Him. But your primary concern should not be just about yourself, but about God and other people. That’s a Kingdom of God mentality. If you have the mind of Christ, you will first be seeking the things of Christ.
And if you don’t know what the things of Christ are, which you ought to be seeking? Then start serving Christ and the people with your faith and love wherever you are now. You will only discover those things if you are truly involved in serving Him. But don’t let people push you into being like someone else apart from Jesus. You serve God by doing what Jesus did on the earth.
Is Jesus the center of your life?
It is regrettable to see how the popular cultures and opinions of today’s world are continually influencing, the spiritual lives of many Christians who are ascribing to them. Many are more concerned about how to make money, than they are really concerned about the Giver of all things. We know that God wants to give us all things. But we must put Him alone above all those worldly desires.
There are a lot of Christians today whose next door neighbors do not even know that they do go to Church. Their testimonies of Jesus are unknown to their next door neighbors. So people don’t even know them as Christians, because their lifestyle is more aligned to the things of the world, than God’s before their neighbors
The only things that their neighbors often identifies them with are their favorite sport teams, the food that they like to eat most, the latest places to do shopping, their hobbies and so on.
Most of these people living next to them are seeking God’s help daily, to resolve the issues of their lives. But their Christian neighbors who do have the answers, are not even sensitive to these spiritual needs.
They will talk about every other things in the world with their neighbors, but they will never say one word about Jesus. They do have a testimony about Jesus, but they are alienated from the reality of Him living in them. So they can’t talk about Him to others. Is Jesus the center of your life? Or the popular things of your world?
You can make a difference
And the root cause of this is not from the pews. There are those who have given their pulpits over to some of these desires of the world. Note that the Preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ does has the primary and ultimate responsibility, to proclaim the word of God; not in pleasing those on the pews, but in pleasing God alone. The eternal mysteries of God should never be brought so low, that it gets being tailored to fit into the opinions of men.
That’s exactly what some are doing today from the pulpits with the declaration of the gospel. They fear those on their pews, more than they do fear God. They have become the slaves of men and not of God. These Preacher will stop at nothing in compromising the message of the cross, because they are more afraid of loosing church members. They are more motivated in serving God with the fear of men, rather than faith in God.
However we do know that Jesus cares about the world more than anyone does. He cared for it while living like you and me in it; but He never allowed the world to run His life or Ministry for Him. He went everywhere healing the sick, saving the lost and delivering those oppressed by the Devil (Acts 10:38). That’s why God was with Him. He never put His personal or family issues above that of God. That’s what made Him different from His world. And that’s how you can make a difference in your world also.
Do you know that Jesus had issues just like everyone of us today? But He never allowed the issues of His life to take Him away, from doing what the Father told Him to do. And if you really want to be like Him, you’ll have to be obedient to God in the same way as He was on the earth.
There was a time when Jesus received the news of the execution of His cousin, John the Baptist (Matthew 14). It really hurt Him to hear that news. But the news never prevented Him from continuing His mission on earth.
The scriptures says:
“When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”
Matthew 14:13-14 NIV
Jesus had to withdraw from the crowd, because He was hurt by the death of His cousin. But in the midst of His grieving Jesus was still seeking to please the Father. He was still healing the sick. The compassion of God in Him was more powerful than the issue that confronted Him. And you have the same compassion in you also, when you accepted Him into your life. But are you allowing Compassion to work through you to the world? Or are you being moved by what everyone else says or does?
Jesus could had gone to bury His cousin first, before healing the sick people who came to Him. But He never allowed that to prevent Him from doing the will of the Father, because those things can be taken care of by others. Are you allowing the divorce, unpaid bills, sick relatives or failed relationships to prevent you from putting God first?
“…Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
Matthew 8:22 NIV
Are you more concerned about your cares of the world, than of the things of God? The harvest is plenty. We all have a duty right now to put on our sandals and “go ye” as He commanded us to do. Don’t allow those issues and the cares of this world, to take your focus off the things of God’s Kingdom.
There is a huge harvest in your neighborhood right now. You go by them daily. Harvests of souls, healing and deliverances. They are all around you. You are probably thinking that you don’t know that much about the scriptures? You don’t really need to know much about what to do. You do have a testimony. That’s all that the world is waiting to hear from you. Don’t let anything stop you. Share your testimony about Jesus with them.
“ .. Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
Mark 16:15-18 NIV
Now step up and step out. Let’s get to work in bringing the King back again.