How Much Is Your Life Worth?(Part 3. What Your Life Reveals To Your Neighbors)
Although this article is in a series, it is a Complete study on its own. (3 of 4 in series)
* all [bracketed] words in Scripture verses are mine *
Every person cares what others say about them. We are social creatures needing the love and admiration of people. It is a basic human need. It is a basic human desire. It is a basic human lust. As Christians, we live in a community that is made up of people that know Jesus as their Savior and those that do not. Whether we think of folks in those terms or not, the fact is, that's how God has to look at them; and the world, essentially in Satan's control, reacts to individuals based on that same difference.
"He who has the Son has life, he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." (1 John 5:12)
"If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." (John 15:19)
To illustrate our point consider the fictional hero Superman. People know what Superman stands for: Truth, Justice and the American Way. No one stands and argues with Superman and says, "How do we know you are not working for Lex Luthor?" It is something we know about him. We see his actions. We see his continued character. We hear his words and reasoning when matters are explained. But you are not the famous superhero are you? You have no franchaised name that makes you famous. Christians are only individuals that know Jesus as personal Lord and Savior and have Jesus' Spirit living in them. On the outside there is nothing remarkable about them. They do not glow with a holy aura so that people come to the foregone conclusion that they are above reproach. They are just sinners saved by grace. They make mistakes and sin like everyone else. So, what is different about them? The difference is what is on the inside. Does this remind you of anyone? Jesus was like that. From the outside He seemed like anyone else, really nothing special but when He spoke, "no man spake like that man." There was nothing on the outside looking like He was God on the inside, but He was.
"For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him." (Isaiah 53:2)
"But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty." (1 Corinthians 1:27)
The World Reacts To The Presence Of The Holy Spirit In The Saved Person.
A person that has genuinely cried out to Christ and asked for Him to come into their life is not the same as they were. Something supernatural has happened to that person. In order to get saved, a person must come to the end of themselves and humbly ask Jesus in. Jesus of course obliges, but what happens is not instantaneous sinlessness.
The immediate change that has occurred is that all the sin in them (past, present, and future sin) has now been paid for by Christ and their life is now hid with God, in Christ. The person himself now has to begin the process of learning to put away sins that their flesh still craves because of the ever present sin nature still present in his unredeemed body. The principle of sinning still exists in the person, but a new operating principle has entered their heart and it begins to cut away evil from them. The sins that they used to commit with no shame are not as sweet as they were. Deep conviction from the Lord chastises and scourges them when they sin. From deep inside the mind, a newly begun war wages. It is one of the spirit versus the flesh.
"If you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, not on things of the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." (Colosians 3:1-3)
"For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells: for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that will to do, I do not do; but the evil that I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but the sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:18-23)
When a person is lost the Bible says that person's spirit is dead. Their spirit is not actually dead in the sense that a stinking corpse is dead, but it is separated from God and tied to an an eternity away from God, the source of All Life. In this sense, the spirit of the lost man is dead. The lost remain totally oblivious of God or His influence. This person's "dead" spirit gravitates toward evil and is subject to Satan's temptations and traps. When that person gets saved that lost spirit connected to death is quickened or made alive and is now connected to God. The Bible says his spirit is actually sitting in heavenly places right now beholding the face of our Lord, communing with Him. But this newly living spirit is still in communication with the rest of this man's being as well. Now you see the reason for the war, for there are two opposing forces living in one individual and this "new creature in Christ" must choose the way to go. On one side there is the Holy Spirit/human spirit pulling and coaxing with the "small still voice" of God. And on the other side the flesh and Satan pulling against what is right. The part that is connected to God knows the sweet fellowship and reward of obedience while the other part still desires the pleasures of sin for a season. The thing is, though, now as a genuinely saved man, this person can actually choose not to sin. Before he was saved he was pretty much a slave to sin. This is a big change from the inside out. This war inside every saved person lasts until that person is fully redeemed in his body, by either dying and going to heaven or by being changed in the Rapture as Jesus comes for them in the clouds.
"And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins." (Ephesians 2:1)
"But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14)
"But God who is rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:4-6)
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)
People around the newly-saved see this war begin and then as God wins one battle and then another, they see the person changing on the outside to match the inside.
Let's consider the example of Johnnie. Before Johnnie got saved he used to cut loose with his friends and was a match for their spirit of sinning. Then Johnnie got saved and something happened that Johnnie is yet to fully understand. When his friends ask him out, Johnnie finds himself hesitating, a "small still voice" inside him is saying "don't go, things have changed." But let's say this time Johnnie decides to go anyway. He participates with his friends and with each drink or each dirty joke or whatever sin he commits with which he used to have no problem; now he is not having an uninterrupted good time. His friends see the conflict inside him and it makes them uncomfortable. Something is different about Johnnie and they can feel it. The difference is the presence of the Holy Spirit beginning His work in him. This work will continue Johnnie's whole life and seeks to remake him into the image of God's Son, Jesus.
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:2)
"Then He [God] said, 'Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD' And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice." (1 Kings 19:11-12)
When non-Christians see you living your life, when they get to know you, what conclusion do they come to about you? Do they see you striving to please God and fighting your sin? Is your life something they understand or is it something that sets puzzles them? Are you someone that the world admires or are you considered in the same light as was Jesus when He was here? What the World thinks of you is a good gauge to determine what kind of life message you are writing in eternity.
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into His death.? ... For he who has died has been freed from sin. ... Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body; that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God." (Romans 6:1-2, 7, 11-13)
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)
When we speak of the world, to whom are we referring? Exactly, what is this "World" in which we Christians are a spectacle, and why should we care?
In the ages past, Lucifer let sin twist his mind, and one day he had an idea. The idea was to do harm to something precious belonging to his enemy, the Lord God. He knew that in the end, he himself would not become God as was his heart's desire. So he hatched a plan to disrupt and win loyalty away from God so that in those few lives he would be treated as god. In this little way he would be like God.
"You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources for he is a liar and the father of it." (John 8:44)
"How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exult my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mouth of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.' Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit." (Isaiah 14:12-15)
Knowing he couldn't hurt an all-powerful, all-knowing God, he would implement the only course of action available to him. He would aim for a target for which God cared deeply and strike there. He would introduce the then-innocent creation to sin. He would become their leader and guide them to aim at what he felt was God's "vulnerable" areas. So he used the beautiful voice given him by the Father that had loved him and convinced one-third of the heavenly host to betray God. Then he turned to the human family and beguiled them with sin so that they decided to eat of the forbidden fruit. Ever wonder why the Spirit says of Jesus that he was "a man of sorrows" and "acquainted with grief?" It is partly because Satan struck a blow aimed at three things: God's Heart, God's Love, and God's Reputation.
"His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born." (Revelation 12:4)
"Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" (Genesis 3:1)
"He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him." (Isaiah 53:3)
He knew he would not win the war he started with God, but he was satisfied that the pain he inflicted could give him some short term satisfaction, some short term worship, some short term chaos - and that would have to do. Doesn't it seem sometimes that life is a game that is being played all around you? That sensation is real. The game that is being played all around you is a war game. Skirmishes happen on two different battlegrounds with real consequences and real casualties. One battleground is invisible to us and the fighting is amongst spirit forces in heavenly places.
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12)
The other battlefield is the one we can see. There are two generals, battle lines are drawn, and two opposing motivations drive each side of the war. One General believes in integrity and loves the people under His command. He will not turn aside from His principles nor what He has said He will do for any reason. The other general is not so principled. He is playing some insane game that effects in a real sense all who line up on his side. He cares only for himself. He believes in no ideals, fights for no "greater good." His only objective: to cause as much distraction and engineer as much destruction as possible, while heaping to himself worship until his Enemy, Jesus Christ, stops him. The insanity is that he knows he is going to lose. He knows that events are unfolding even now that set up his own destruction. But Satan continues to play the game. Possibly he has no choice and is divinely mandated to do certain things so that all will be fulfilled. I personally believe that he allows himself to believe he is winning something if his schemes cause enough damage and hurt. He works hard on each phase, labors to exhaustion (remember, he is not omnipotent), only to see each plan undone by God's omnisapience. If that is the case, can you imagine his growing madness and frustration at always failing? A delightful thought indeed! What an incentive to do God's will at all times!
The World at Satan's command hates believers just as it hated Jesus. A believer's life stands as a statement to the World. What should your life declare to the World around you?
"If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, a servant is not greater than his Master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me." (John 15:18-21)
1. Your Life Should Declare You Unusual, Peculiar.The World is in bondage to sin and Satan. There is a hole in their heart that only God can fill. You, as a redeemed individual, are indwelt by God the Holy Spirit. He is a tangible force in your life, one that the world can sense just by being in the same room with you. The unsaved can feel His presence in you. The way you speak is not the "normal" (like them). You increasingly talk all that Jesus stuff and you don't sound phony when you do it, that's disturbing! You don't party and enjoy sin as they do. You seem to have a spiritual side that is eerie and strange to them.
"Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." (Titus 2:14)
"I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world." (John 17:15-16)
If your life has this effect on people then you know why. If it does not, then I would start off by examining my salvation experience. Was it genuine or did you just mouth words with someone? Did you approach God with the willingness to throw all your life into His hands? Or, did you think to give God a try with half-hearted humility? We will go over at the end of this article how to ask Jesus into your heart. Check and see if that is how salvation happened for you. If it did not, please consider receiving Christ today. He only allows genuine believers into heaven.
2. The World Should Be Able To Feel That You Honestly Love Them. Love for all people of the World is possible and originates from the source of love, God. "God is love," and His presence in the Holy Spirit makes it possible to love anyone, unconditionally, no matter how unlovable they may be. All a Christian has to do is not allow the Holy Spirit to control them and immediately the supernatural love also leaves. It is plain to every believer where love originates. It is the love of God in the believer that draws men to Him for witness.They just have to check out this strange person who acts so peculiarly. When the Christian allows the Spirit to control his life, his love is as unlimited as God's.
"Beloved let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1John 4:7-11)
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
Does the world around you see your love or do they see you as miserable, argumentative, confrontive, abrasive? Christians are to boldly speak of their Savior but they are not to do so without the love of God moving in them. Without the love of God only judgementalism remains. The conviction that they should feel is one from the word of God and not from the messenger of that word.
3. The World Should See You As A Living Epistle. If you do not know what an epistle is, it is a letter, a missive, a clear communicated message. If one lives a Godly life then the World should be able to see Jesus in it. Your good works, your behavior, and witness may be the only Bible that many people ever read. We are a spectacle to the World. When we speak to people, we should be able to hear Bible verses "sneak" into the conversation. They should fit in so smoothly because you have made the words of God your bread on butter, dining on them everyday. Also, without speaking a word, people should be sensing something about you that arouses their curiosity.
"You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men." (2 Corinthians 3:2)
We will be an asset for God's kingdom or a liability. Which are you? Write your life's message well, the World is watching.
As was mentioned earlier, it may be that when inspecting your life you find that perhaps the experience you had with salvation is not genuine. Or maybe, you never have ever taken that step and come to Jesus for the salvation of your soul. Either way, now is a great time to consider your salvation because eternity is a very long time and there are no second chances after this life.
"And it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment." (Hebrews 9:27)
First, examine your heart and you will see that your heart has been crying out to you for some time now. You, at those moments, came to realize that you are a sinner and you do not know what will happen to you when you die. Perhaps you have witnessed the death of a friend or family member. Perhaps you have experienced that harshness of life or the beauty of life and wondered what will happen when this life ends.
A person that comes to Christ must first realize that they need a Savior. They have to sense that when they die there is a sin debt that must be paid.
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
Jesus came to earth, God in human flesh came to die for you. He died and gave His life's blood to pay for the sin of all mankind.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
"For whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13)
Do you believe that Jesus came to die for you? Do you believe that He was buried and in three days rose for you? If you d, then you can cry out to Him and tell him that you are willing to trust Him to lead you and that you will follow Him turning from your sin. Pray this:
Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and I have have lived my life my way. I ask You to forgive me of my sin and save me. I believe You came to earth clothed in human flesh to die for me. I believe the gospel that You were buried and You rose on the third day. I turn to You now to lead me in this life and I trust You with my eternity. I throw myself into Your arms, because You are the only way of salvation. Thank You for saving me. I pray this in Jesus holy name. Amen.
Others in this series of independent articles: