Bible Ballistics: Vol. 10 No.14 Daring To Be Different???
My husband and I took a trip to be with my brother in his church yesterday, and we were listening to some music as we drove. One of the songs that played as we traveled really spoke to my heart and resonated with the truths of the word in my heart, and I’d like to share a few thoughts about it today. The song was “I’ll Dare To Be Different”, by the McKameys, and it struck a chord in my heart!
There is a time in my remembrance, when people who claimed the name of Jesus, people who were born again, were most often found to be different from the world. Sometimes they were different in their appearance, but you almost always saw a difference in their behavior before the world—in their character, in their speech, in their treatment of others and often in their habits and companions. But today, we have accepted a “Gospel” of ‘inclusion’—anyone can just use the name of Jesus to get a ticket to heaven, but there is no cost or demand of that person to repent of obvious sin or to “be conformed to the image of His Son” (See Romans 8:28-29)!
When God calls someone to Himself, He calls us to come “Just As I Am”, but He loves us too much to leave us there—in fact Jesus came to save us “from” our sin—never “in” our sin!
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
We are called to follow Jesus, and that will always demand a change, because before we come to Jesus, we were going our own way—and that is never God’s way! In fact that is why repentance is essential—repentance is turning around, going a different way.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6
That’s what sin is, missing God’s mark, going our own way, falling short of reflecting God’s glory—but sin has a high price! Apart from the blood of Jesus—the only thing that cleanses us from sin—we can’t be saved from death.
“But if we walk in the light,
as he is in the light,
we have fellowship one with another,
and the blood of Jesus Christ
cleanseth us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin,
we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:7-10
This is why Jesus said we can be salt and light—because we can’t “be” light unless the “light of the world” dwells in us! It is that “blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin”, which enables us to live a holy life before the world as well as before God. But if we never face our sin, why would we ever need a Savior? Only when we recognize our sin and turn to Jesus will we be able to live a life that is transformed by that very “blood of Jesus Christ” to reflect His love and glory to a lost and dying world. Yet it is only in dying to “self” and living a life sacrificed to the will of our Lord that we can make a “Jesus” difference in this world. Compromise is cheap and easy, but standing fast in the “evil day” is a work that demands our all by the power of God.
It is Jesus Christ Himself — “the truth”– who saves, delivers, and changes the hearts and lives of lost sinners into ‘saints’! Yet transformation isn’t just putting a new coat of paint on an old barn—it’s a change of nature and character that only the sacrifice of Jesus—His blood– on the cross could accomplish and deliver! And it shows!!!
“I beseech you therefore, brethren,
by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies
a living sacrifice,
acceptable unto God,
which is your reasonable service.
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,
will of God.” Romans 12:1-2
Oh, that we could truly return to a place of true worship of God—and I’m not talking about music, but a life lived in devotion and obedience to the will of God each and every day. A life that “is” a song of the love of Jesus before the world in all we do—not just on one day a week! It ‘is’ a life lived as “a living sacrifice” unto the One who gave His life for me! What less could we give for the One who gave it all that we could have life and miss death and hell for all eternity—for all who will believe and follow HIM!
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23
And if “all have sinned”, then all need a Savior, we all need someone to pay the debt that we can’t pay—and only Jesus has done that!
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
Only Jesus can deliver us from this penalty of sin, and just as the simple John 3:16 says, God loves us so much that He was willing to send Jesus to come and die for us, that we might have “eternal life”—starting now!
“For God so loved the world,
that he gave
his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish,
but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Without Jesus, we can’t be truly different. Lots of people can be “different” for a time, or for a reason, or to impress others; but what’s inside will eventually come out! What’s inside of you/me? If it’s not Jesus, then Jesus won’t be seen in you/me! For without HIS Spirit within, we aren’t HIS! And without being “HIS”, we can’t do HIS work, for HIS kingdom! And HIS is the only Kingdom that is an eternal one! It’s all about HIM, not me, but He will work in us!
“I am the true vine,
and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in me
that beareth not fruit
he taketh away:
and every branch that beareth fruit,
he purgeth it,
that it may bring forth more fruit.
3 Now ye are clean
through the word
which I have spoken unto you.
4 Abide in me,
and I in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit
except it abide in the vine;
no more can ye,
except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine,
ye are the branches:
He that abideth in me,
and I in him,
the same bringeth forth
for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:1-5
So we arrive at the conclusion that being different isn’t an issue of ‘me’, but of ‘thee’! ‘Not my will, but thine be done’, is the mindset that we must embrace! It is the call that Paul gave to the Galatians, and it’s still the call that we must answer today!
“I am crucified with Christ:
nevertheless I live;
yet not I,
but Christ liveth in me:
and the life which I now live
in the flesh
I live by the faith
of the Son of God,
who loved me,
and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
But what’s to be different about us? Is measured in terms of men or of God? Of course it’s God’s standard that we are to seek to meet—the standard of a heart right before God, not a dressed up ‘pig’, trying to win a county fair. We can wash, clean up, fluff up and parade the pig before the judges at the fair—we can even win first prize! But when we get that pig home, she’s going to head right for the mud! Why? Because she’s still a pig! And when we try cleaning up our own “act”—that is all that happens—an “act”! Jesus doesn’t just dress up “pigs”, He transforms lives—He makes us new in HIM! He puts His Spirit within all those whom HE saves—no Spirit=no Jesus!
“So then they that are in the flesh
cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh,
but in the Spirit,
if so be that the Spirit of God
dwell in you.
Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ,
he is none of his.
10 And if Christ be in you,
the body is dead because of sin;
but the Spirit is life
because of righteousness.” Romans 8:8-10
Jesus brings that which was dead in sin, into new life.
“And you hath he quickened,
who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past
ye walked according to the course
of this world,
according to the prince
of the power of the air,
the spirit that now worketh
in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all
had our conversation
in times past
in the lusts of our flesh,
fulfilling the desires
of the flesh
and of the mind;
and were by nature the children of wrath,
even as others.
4 But God,
who is rich in mercy,
for his great love
wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead
hath quickened us
together with Christ,
(by grace ye are saved;)”. Ephesians 2:1-5
Because God loves us so much—He reaches out to those (all of us) who are dead in sin!!! We are under the penalty of death, and only Jesus can and will save us and give to all who come to Him, eternal life—new life IN Jesus—Jesus IN us!
So my question is, “Who am I living for?” Am I still living in sin, doing my own thing? From where do I get my strength? Am I depending on the ways of the world or the power of Jesus? When I’m in need, where do I go? Do I run to a wine bottle, a bottle of pills, food, sex, shopping, gratifying the flesh in some other way, running to and with the world? What is your “comfort-food”, so to speak? Do you have to be like the world to find your satisfaction, peace and/or gratification? When people look at us, do they see Jesus or something—anything—else? Are popular culture and fads more important to you and me than “holiness” before our God? Or are you drawing closer and closer to the King? Do you bask in His presence, or does thinking on spiritual things and the Word of God make you uncomfortable? In fact what does make you “UN”comfortable, the things of the world or the things of God? Ouch? Do I measure what goes into my heart and mind by the Word of God or the Neilson ratings? Do I listen to things, or watch things that are offensive or even blasphemous to my God? Does the world reign in my home or the One whose shed blood “cleanseth us from all sin”? It is an evil world around us, and we must be diligent to know God’s Word so we can order our steps according to its principles.
New or old? What life are you living? May we simply ponder the words of Paul, who dared to be “different”, to be “a new creature” in Jesus. It cost Paul a lot to follow Jesus, what price are you willing to pay? Or have you already decided that you don’t want to “stand out” or “Dare To Be Different”? Choose wisely—we are accountable to God!
“Therefore if any man be in Christ,
he is a new creature:
old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God,
who hath reconciled us to himself
by Jesus Christ,
and hath given to us the ministry
19 To wit, that God was in Christ,
reconciling the world unto himself,
not imputing their trespasses unto them;
and hath committed unto us
the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ,
as though God did beseech you by us:
we pray you in Christ’s stead,
be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us,
who knew no sin;
that we might be made the righteousness of God
in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 Amen and Amen!!!