Are you a Genuine Believer?

I recently read an article that stated “The task at hand, for every genuine believer, is to recognize evil so that it may be either shunned, or engaged in battle and defeated—wherever it is found.” This got me thinking about the “task” and the aspects of it that make it difficult. The word “genuine” immediately jumped out right before “recognize” and finally the word “battle”. These three elements are our clues to accomplishing the task set before us.

First things first, be a genuine believer. This quickly reveals that not all who profess to be believers are genuine. Some are hypocrites, those who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. They are not the real deal but masqueraded as believers. The bear a resemblance to believers but don’t pass the test of time. We have to be not only those who profess to believe but genuine. We have to be authentic. We must prove to be true when tested.

I was on a bus yesterday with a bunch of church youth, some from the country and some from the city. We were headed to the Madison Youth Ranch to put in a work day and to visit with the kids there afterwards. As we came into Madison on a damp morning, we passed a large group of buzzards on the ground near a house trying to dry their wings. I was looking for a carcass knowing they were vultures and the nature of a buzzard. When a young girl from the city behind me holler out excitedly, “look, look, everybody! Look at all the chickens!” When I regained my composure I marveled that someone could fail to recognize a buzzard and mistake it for a chicken.

The second key term is to “recognize” evil. It is imperative for a believer to recognize evil. Genuine believers must be able to distinguish evil from that which is good and acceptable. We must be able to discern its presence in all the ways and places it hides. We must see through all its disguises. We must know who sets the standard, who determines what is good and evil and know it is God, not man.

The Apostle Paul says. “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15–17—NKJV)

Last we must be daily aware that as genuine believers, each day is a battle so we must enter it prepared. We need to be ready to resist evil and its temptations when we encounter them. We must be wise concerning the scriptures so we can discern evil when we see it. We need to have the word of truth hidden in our hearts to speak out against it so others may take heed. We need to put on the full armor of God, every day so that we may stand and fight the battles that come because the “days are evil”.

If the task at hand, for every genuine believer, is to recognize evil so that it may be either shunned, or engaged in battle and defeated—wherever it is found. And you are not about the task at hand… Maybe the question comes down to this – are you a genuine believer?

What are you longing for?

What are you longing for?

We all have longings, we all seek for that which we believe will fulfill us is some way, so the real question is what do we long for?

Some long for a sense of belonging and purpose and try to fill that void with a job or career that they hope will demonstrate that they are vital and needed and serving a good purpose in life.

Some long for retirement having discovered that career didn’t fill the void and hope that in retirement they may find rest for their souls and time to pursue things they believe will satisfy their soul’s longings.

Some long for changes in the world and seek purpose through politics and activism believing they can force change to reshape the world and culture to their liking or to reflect their values and beliefs.

But we eventual find that none truly satisfies the soul, they may make our lives easier or give us a false sense of security, of value or purpose but underneath a quiet longing remains. Peter reveals God’s desire for us and what will give our lives and souls the satisfaction we seek, lasting value and real purpose. And its not what you might think.

1 Peter 2:2-10
2:2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation-
2:3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
2:4 Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and
2:5 like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

 

Peter directs us to long for pure spiritual milk, the living word of God and reveals our truest purpose in life – to grow into salvation. This he says is what we were created for, wired for; this is what our souls so desperately seek. And it has been given in love and is feely available to each of us.

Come to Him! Once you have tasted and seen that the Lord is Good, you will forever crave more of HIM and only HE can satisfy your longing soul and open your eyes to the purpose in His will for you, what He created and gifted you for in His Kingdom. And rest assured He did create a place and a purpose for you that is good and worthy and fulfilling.

The key instructions here are 1: “crave or long for”, 2: “come to Him”,  and then 3:” let yourselves be built into”.

Let yourselves be built into a spiritual house. Open your hearts and minds and surrender control to Jesus Christ and let Him use you. Let Him grow you Let Him place you. Let Him direct your steps and ways. Let Him build you and the church into a “Spiritual House” to serve His purposes not ours. Godly purposes such as becoming a “Holy Priesthood” and offering “Spiritual Sacrifices”. These, Peter reminds us, are the things that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

So what are you longing for today?

Seeking the Risen Christ

Nothing says “I Believe in the Resurrection” more than a heart that is fully committed to seeking Him. Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

Yes, Christ died for OUR sins on a horrible cross and took the nails that were meant for us because of our transgressions. But 3 days of sorrow gave way to JOY on Easter morning – HE AROSE. In God’s plan, in God’s timing, in God’s love, Jesus lives- defeating death and breaking the bonds of sin that held us captive. So how does one respond to this great love, to this awesome gift given to us by a God of grace?

Believing? Yes certainly we must believe. We must faithfully acknowledge the gift and the actions of God who reveals his immense love for us. It is only right that we be thankful and let God know his gift was ever so appreciated. We must remember and reflect on what would make him choose to take our place and love us in spite of our faults. But this action taken by God to open the door to us for a relationship with Him demands more than acknowledgment of His Great Sacrifice. It demands a response.

Deuteronomy 4:29 “But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”  Psalm 27:8 You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”  So how should we respond? By Seeking Him and the relationship He offers with all our heart and minds and soul! How should one respond to anyone who loves us? By loving them back. How much more, how much greater should that response be when the act of love we receive is Life Saving! God loves us. God loves YOU! He showed us His love and commitment and He desires that we love Him back. John 3:16 “ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Seek then the one who loves you with all your heart and commit yourself to Him. The signature of a seeker is revealed in the Gospel of John as one who loves me AND one who obeys my commands.  John 14:21 The one who obeys me is the one who loves me; and because he loves me, my Father will love him; and I will too, and I will reveal myself to him.”  When we truly seek Him it is a response of Love. And Jesus tells us if we truly love Him we will obey his commands. This loving obedience to Gods commands is the key that opens heavens doors to us and allows us to enter into the throne room of the King.  Our love demonstrated in faithful obedience to His Word scripture says brings not only the Love of Jesus the son, but the love of the Father and a promise – He will reward us by revealing himself to us. He will reward us by inviting us into an intimate relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. How awesome is that? Don’t just believe He existed. Don’t just believe He died on your cross. Have faith He LIVES –  Seek the Risen Savior.