God’s goal is not your comfort and your financial security. God’s goal is that you “know” Him. That you “walk” with Him. And that you “reflect” Him.
“In the earlier days, when Christianity exercised a dominant influence over American thinking, men conceded this world to be a battleground. Man, so our fathers held, had to choose sides. He could not be neutral-for him it must be life or death, heaven or hell!…In our day, the interpretation has changed completely. We are not here to fight, but to frolic! We are not in a hostile foreign land; we are at home! It now becomes the bounded duty of every Christian to reexamine his spiritual philosophy in the light of the Bible. So much depends on this that we cannot afford to be careless about it!” (Tozer, 2008, May 26).
There are some serious questions we need to ask because the truth is, until we are willing to face the truth about the lies we may be believing, we will never discern the voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives or regarding our culture and how we should respond to it!
This short devotional speaks into the issue of “choosing” to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord even though not all will agree, and not all will understand. And facing the truth about the truth is essential for us:
And in the same way that those of this world treated Jesus, so will they treat us, because, as Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you…I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me” (John 15:19-16:4).
And of course there is this promise in these last days, as Paul said to Timothy, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). It doesn’t say every promise is positive. Also, Jesus points to this reality, when He says: “I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one… [Again, he reiterates this truth, so that we should expect to not be liked by this world, when again He says]..They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them [set them apart for yourself] in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:14-17).
However, with this news also comes comforting and confirming news that we can be sure we are His. For He says: “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15: 7-10, emphasis mine)…AND…“Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full”…and finally, He says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:23b-24, 33).
And so here we are back to the issue at the beginning of this post. We can choose to serve Christ our Lord or choose to serve the god of this world, but not both. There is promise of hardship and persecution that comes with standing for the truth. But there is great peace, joy, comfort, and abundant blessing that comes from our gracious Father who will be sure to give a listening ear to us when we pray! And as a small side note: He loves to show off and bend over backwards for His children who will simply TAKE HIM AT HIS WORD!!!
And with that, the Lord will be sure to make your life a testimony…as He has mine. Stand firm and expect the Lord to give His ear to “hear”!
And finally, meditate on these verses which speak of the one who is willing to testify to the greatness and faithfulness of the LORD:
"Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
I cried to him with my mouth,
and high praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me!" (Ps. 66: 16-20)
"…you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works. (Ps 73:23-28, emphasis mine).
I want to leave you with something to ask yourself, because it will make all the difference regarding you and God and walking in His favor. Seriously ponder this question. Can you honestly confess that this is the desire of your heart: “And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever”…How you answer this will speak volumes. IF He is not your ultimate desire then ask Him to make it your ultimate desire, He will not reject that request!