Friday, August 7, 2015

The Distant Christian

Good Day Truth Seekers,

It is an honor to share something with you that the Lord has laid upon my heart over the past few weeks. Often, in my life, when the Spirit begins to speak to me, He has to do it repetitiously until finally I take hold of what He is communicating. Allow me to illustrate what I'm saying. Let’s pretend I am driving down an unfamiliar county road and I notice a sign that reads “Reduced Speed Ahead”, followed by the new speed limit sign, which is then followed by the “s” (winding road ahead) sign. Ultimately, the moment comes in which I see the importance of yielding my attention to the fair warnings I previously encountered. I had neither reduced my speed, nor did I obey the direct sign that told me the new speed limit. By time a see the “s” sign, it is almost too late. As I enter the curvy section of the road, I panic and do what comes natural; I let go of the wheel and ditch my car in an attempt to save my life...all while screaming “God Help Me!!!”

Well, perhaps the tail end of the fictitious story is a little ridiculous but if you will follow where I am going, you may be able to relate more than you realize.

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of hearing David Markham speak a message that was “on-point” with what the Spirit had already spoken into my own life. David’s told the story of how Peter, time and time again, spoke of the love he had for the Lord. The 26th chapter of Matthew records him saying “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you”. We later read that the soldiers come to arrest Jesus and Peter draws out his sword and with all his might, cuts off the ear of servant of the high priest. Jesus immediately rebukes Peter and heals the servant as they take Jesus to present him to Sanhedrin. Peter then begins to follow Jesus and the guards, but only from afar.  What is interesting about his actions is this; just a few hours earlier he was telling Jesus how he would never disown him, even if it meant death, but he is now following Jesus from a distance. Just close enough so that no one would surely be able to identify Peter as a Christ follower. In David’s message he went on to bring to light the times that we, who are “in relationship” with Christ, are often found to be the same as Peter, warming his hands by the fire and disowning Christ. Maybe, eventually David will have the opportunity to publish his message and you will have the chance to let it challenge you as it did for me. This is when I knew that it was time to listen closely to what the Spirit was speaking. After all, I found myself in the same scenario as aforementioned. This was not the first time over that past few weeks that this has been brought up. After pondering further what the Lord was trying to communicate, this is what I believe him to be saying.

I believe that we all can identify with Peter...much more than we want to. We have all been in a particular time in our life where we have chosen the world, and it’s desires, over the Lord. Unfortunately, this only gets easier to do the more times it happens. At first, you feel the conviction, but after a few times, it really is not that big of a deal to you anymore. Is this not what happened with Peter? The Word says that after Jesus’ death, Peter went back to fishing. Let’s relate. Often we have our transforming experience of salvation, we encounter the Lord, and begin to follow Him closer and closer every day. We are spending time in devotion and letting the Sprit perform It’s life changing work in our lives. But then something happens, we begin to pick up some of the old things we used to do, hang around the old crowd, or in my case, get so busy and caught up in the whirlwind of life that our relationship with Christ suffers. My father-in-law has an acronym for the word BUSY...

                                                   B-U-S-Y: Bound Under Satan’s Yoke. 

Once we create a busy life we are more prone to becoming distant, and when that happens, we become vulnerable to the enemy. Eventually, we will get to a place where we will say in our hearts that we love the Lord, when our lives tell a completely different story. It brings you to a place where you wonder… How Did I Get Here? I know I am saved, I know that I love Him, so why do I feel so distant from the Lord?  Why is it that I find myself being more reactive to my circumstance instead of being proactive by seeing God’s signs of direction? I believe that it always comes back to the basic disciplines of being a disciple: Pray, Fast, Study, and Follow. When I find myself in that distant place, I can always go back and find one or more of these four disciplines is lagging behind. It is difficult to only participate in only one of these and not disregard one, or all, of the others. Prayer and fasting normally go hand in hand, but they both demand that you study the Word. Once you read the Word of God the only thing left to do is faith it out and follow.

You see, we are not that much different from Peter after all, we often find ourselves loving the Lord, but only following Him from a distance. The great news is, not all was lost for Peter. After Jesus’ death, He returns and finds Peter and the other disciples fishing. Once Peter realized it was Jesus on the shore, he jumped out of the boat and swam to him. This paints a beautiful illustration of a great reunion of a man who was distant and leaves all he has to be back, hand in hand, with his Savior. Maybe you have read this and can relate; you are not where you once were in regards to your relationship with Christ. I can assure you, you are not the only one who has felt distant. The great news is that all you have to do is pick up where you left off. I encourage you today, if you have found yourself Bound Under Satan’s Yoke, take a step back and realign your priorities. It might save you from having to ditch your car in a panic.  

Be Blessed and Thank You for reading.


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