Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dare To Be Different

Do we stick out in a crowd, are we different from the world or have we conformed? Do we follow the world's standards in making decisions in raising our children and being a wife, friend or do we follow God's standards?

The reason people conform is usually for acceptance. It's simple. It’s easier to conform than to try to change things. It's hard to be the only fish swimming upstream from what everyone else is doing. But God has called us to be that fish; to be different from the world and to follow His standards.

Satan is the Prince of this world and he is opposed to everything that God's Word says. So he will try everything he can to get you to not read the Bible. He doesn't want you to know what it says because if you do, you will not go with the flow. You will dare to be different from the world and will stand up for what God says is right.

We are in the last days of this world and now, more than ever, is the time to allow the Word of God to become the final authority in our lives. 

It's hard to know right from wrong if you don't know the Word. If you don't read the Bible you can be caught up in accepting what the majority is doing as being right; but what does God have to say about the values of today? Do they line up with what He says? Have you noticed that values have declined to the point where everything that goes against God’s word is accepted, and the principles of the Bible are being rejected? I have.

I have heard Christians tell me that once two people have had sex, they're considered married in God's eyes and that it's okay for them to live together unmarried because the act of sex makes them married. Our country recognizes 'common law marriages' but God doesn't. The ones saying this were not new Christians. They had been saved for many years but didn't spend time studying the Bible or seeking God's way of doing things. They accepted the sinful behaviour because the world accepts it and they tried to justify it so their conscience would be appeased. 

As Christians, our success is based on whether or not we choose to walk on God's pathway or to conform to this world’s system, which leads to death and destruction. 

Just because something is accepted by a majority does not make it right. The only proper standard of what is acceptable is the Bible; and it is time to start taking it seriously. 

Satan knows his time is short so he is frantically bombarding the minds and hearts of people of all ages by suggestively packaging sin—presenting it in such a way as to make it seem okay. Sexual immorality, for example, is being fed to the public through all sorts of media: television, newspapers, the Internet, and music. If you view them long enough, these images may begin to seem acceptable and even appealing to you. We can become desensitized and confused if we are not careful. 

Just because something is accepted does not make it acceptable in God’s eyes. For example, all forms of sexual activity outside the covenant of marriage are wrong. Hebrews 13:4: Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled; but God will judge fornicators and adulterers. 

Galatians 5:19   Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication (sex outside the bonds of marriage), uncleanness  (guilty of committing a sexual sin), lasciviousness (showing a desire for, or unseemly interest in sex).

Many of the things the world accepts are actually vile in God’s sight. Romans 1 tells us that God shows His wrath or extreme anger against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. God doesn't just pat us on the head and condone our sinful ways. He expects us to do things His way, to be different from the world.

Romans 1:18-32: for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 

Rom 1:32: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. 

It is more important now than ever before that we read the Word of God and apply it to our lives. The world that we live in is a confusing mess. We are being constantly bombarded with ideas and values that are contrary to the teachings of the Bible. But we have to hold true to the Word. We have to dare to be different than maybe everyone else around us. We have to follow God and conform to His way rather than twisting Scripture around until we are comfortable with it. 

Hebrews 4:12: For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 

The bible says the Word judges, exposes, and analyzes all things. Therefore, as believers, we should let the Word be our judge of what is right and wrong. If the Bible says something is wrong, then it is wrong and we should have nothing to do with it. We can't use excuses like 'Oh God will understand', or 'well that was only for back then, not for now' or millions of other excuses that people use to condone their sinful behaviour and pretend that it is acceptable to God.

We must be holy because God is holy. But holiness is not what you wear, but it is “being of one mind with God.” God says in His Word that if we are not holy, we will not see Him.
Hebrews 12:14: Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 

When we adopt the world's values we become an enemy of God and miss out on the blessings He has for us.

I want to encourage you to not allow the desire to “fit in” blind you to the truth. It's hard being the one making waves. It's not easy to walk on the narrow path when so many are on the wide path that leads to destruction. Satan wants to deceive you into believing that his way of thinking and doing things is the way to go; however, fitting in with his crowd will cost you dearly: instead of receiving God's blessings we will receive His curses. You might say, 'wait a minute, God doesn't curse us' and again I say to you READ THE WORD. Do you know what the Word says or do you THINK you know what it says? There is a difference and that difference is important.

There is a cost for committing sin.

Deuteronomy 28:15-68: But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: 

Due 28:16 Cursed shall thou be in the city, and cursed shall thou be in the field. 
Deut 28:17 Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. 
Deut 28:18 Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. 
Deut 28:19 Cursed shall thou be when thou comes in, and cursed shall thou be when thou goes out. 

I know you're probably thinking 'but that is the Old Testament and I follow the New Testament', well let’s go into the New Testament:
Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Remember, in the garden, God told Adam not to eat of the tree of good and evil, but he did even though he was warned he would die— the result of disobedience is death. Adam was suppose to live forever but he disobeyed God's orders and so he was taken out of all the blessing God had for him and Eve, and their life ended in death.

We must remember that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God, don’t be deceived. "Be not deceived, for God shall not be mocked, for whatever a man sows, that shall he reap. For he that sows to the flesh (doing whatever it feels like doing and it usually not things that are pleasing to God ways) shall of the flesh receive corruption, but he that reaps to the spirit, shall reap life everlasting."  

Romans 12 tells us that holy living, which is acceptable to God, is only reasonable service. It makes sense to do it. 
Romans 12:1,2: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 

Rom 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 

Romans 12:2 says it all doesn't it? We must constantly renew our mind. We were born in sin, have had sinful thoughts, have been surrounded by a sinful world with its own set of values, so it is no wonder the Word of God tells us to renew our mind. We need to make sure our thoughts, actions and values line up with God's. How do we know if they do? By reading His Word and seeing how He thinks and what is important to Him and by changing the way we think and do things to be more like Him. 

We are to be different from the rest of the world.
Exo 23:2: Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment: 

By keeping God’s ways it will keep us from breaking them…Although we live in a sinful world it doesn't mean we have to be sinful. We can choose to do what is right. Not what the world says is right and acceptable but what God says is.

If Jesus was hated for speaking or showing the world of the sins they were committing, you will not be popular with them for speaking the truth either. Have you ever noticed that as long as you join the people doing as they do, you are their friend but if you stand up for God's ways of doing things, then you are no longer welcome in their circles? It will cost you to do things God's ways. You may lose friends. You may stand out and be ridiculed. But God will bless you and help you.

The Bible says we are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers, what do God's ways have with the ways of Satan or the world? What has darkness to do with light? We are to be set apart. People should know we are different and that we belong to God.

Before we knew God we did things the way the world does but now that we have been made a new creation, the old man has passed away including all the ways we used to do things.

We are never to forget that being friends with the ways of the world will make you a enemy of God-(James 4:4)

When we are saved we don't do the things we used to do before we accepted the Lord as our personal Saviour. We are changed. We want to please God so we do things His way. The more we read the Word, the more God will speak to us and direct us and help us follow His pathway. Satan knows this too, that's why he will discourage you from reading the Word. 

The Word of God tells us to not love the world or the things in the world and if we do, then the love of the Father is not in us. Yes, we live in this world and we are part of it. But we don't belong here, our citizenship is in Heaven. This time that we spend here on earth is just a short time in comparison to eternity and what we do here will determine where we will spend eternity. If we do things God's way and commit our lives to Him, we will spend eternity with Him but if we choose to 'have a form of godliness and deny the power thereof' and hold hands with the world, then we will spend eternity separated from God in Hell. Maybe you are reading this and you think, 'whoa wait a minute, that's a bit harsh', but again I tell you READ THE WORD. 

Maybe after reading this you have begun to realize that your standards and values are not lining up with God's and you want to change. Pray like David prayed in Psalm 51:10: Create in me a new heart, and renew a new spirit within me.

God will answer that prayer and help you live a victorious life. 
Eze 36:26: A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

The Word tells us that we are to go out into the world and reach out to the lost at whatever cost to us. That doesn't mean that we condemn the world, because God didn't, but it doesn't mean that we condone their sin either. We need to call sin what it is and not gloss it over, but we need to share the Gospel (GOOD NEWS) with love and compassion. We need to show by example that God's way is best for all of us. If your life is showing a great change since Jesus came into your heart, then they will sit and listen to you. But if they don’t see any difference from the way you use to live, then you know why they won’t listen to you.

Before you can reach others, your heart must be pure and your life must reflect this pureness.

Look around you; are you teaching your family and those around you, that it is alright to conform to the world's ways and also live for the Lord God? 
The bible says there is only one way to Heaven and that is through the cross where Jesus died for us and by living our lives in such a way as to reflect Him.
There are two roads to eternity. One is straight and narrow and leads to Heaven and the other is broad and wide and leads to destruction. As Joshua once told the Israelites, I tell you today, "choose this day whom you will serve". Dare to be different.

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