A child of God asks themselves three questions. The first is "Do you love God above all?" According to 1 Corinthians 16:22, "Let him that does not love the Lord Jesus be accursed." Without God we are without hope in this world. The default condition is God's righteous judgment for sin which leads to death. However, God sending His own son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin condemned sin in the flesh that we may be made the righteousness of God in Him.
Many people followed Jesus as the "rock star" of his day. They wanted to see a miracle and the power of God in manifestation. They were not committed to follow Him because of a broken and a contrite heart, because they were lost, without peace, without purpose, without direction, and without hope. Jesus needed to separate His true disciples from those who followed Him just to be "entertained."
Jesus taught His disciples and raised the bar when He said, "Unless you hate your father and mother, brother and sister, you cannot be my true disciple." Compared to the love of God, everything else must take second place. The first commandment is "Thou shalt have no other Gods between your face and my face." Those who do not follow Him get used to "living in the darkness." However, the darker the night the brighter the light shines. There is no greater time than now to live in the light of the gospel of truth. Jesus said, "In this world as my disciples you will have persecution, however, be not dismayed for I have overcome the world." Living the more abundant life means that you need to have your doctrine and your "right” believing in order according to the Word of God. How you respond to life's challenges depends on where your heart is. Persecution means that there is a price to pay for aligning our hearts with His heart.
The culture continues to marginalize those who stand for the righteous standard of the Word of God. In many circles, to quote scripture is defined as "hate speech" worthy of prosecution. “Political Correctness” is the devil's ploy to silence the truth of the Word of God. The adversary can put up with anything except the Word of God rightly divided on the lips of a believing Believer. We must be willing to die to self in order to live for Him. We must also be willing to suffer persecution in order to declare the righteousness of God, in Christ, in us. As God said to Joshua before he entered into the promised land: "Therefore, be thou strong and of a good courage for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest."
Let's continue Michael's message on the next post.
In Christ, Brian