A church on fire, is God’s desire (Joy Fountain Church)
Our January issue is on how Satan lies to new believers after they are saved, and discusses some of the tactics that he uses to get Christians away from Christ. One of the topics that we didn’t cover was how people who gave their life to Christ can behave so worldly that you wonder if they even gave their life to begin with.
The truth is that only God knows our heart. Some people feel pressured in one way or another and give their life- but their heart isn’t in it. God wants our heart, and gave us a free will. If we can’t repeat the prayer of salvation with our heart and mean it, then we may not be saved. However, most times people will say the prayer of salvation and really mean it, but they aren’t taught that Christianity is a lifestyle. It is not something you just do on Sunday, but what you do and walk in every day.
If you read your Bible, you cannot help but be transformed on the inside by God’s word. God’s word will convict you on the inside of anything that is contrary to Him. The Bible will heal you in your deepest places and repair the brokenness deep within our souls. It fills us with the love of Christ- something that people in the world search for all their lives and never find. God’s word, in short, changes your life and becomes part of your life whether you realize it or not.
Churches that are alive, vibrant, and on fire for Christ will also teach you according to the Bible. God created the church with the purpose of equipping the saints for both the individual’s sake (the church should instruct us on how to live victoriously), discipleship (becoming a fully devoted follower of Christ), and to go out sharing the gospel with others (changing lives). Churches that are alive breathe life into the congregation. The Holy Spirit’s presence is alive, present, and permeating the atmosphere. There should be the presence of life. If the church is alive, it’s members will not remain the same- their lives will change- and that is how you will know that God is at the center.
The description above paints a beautiful picture as to what God’s design for the church was, yet what we often witness can we quite different. The reality is that being a pastor is a great responsibility. Only those that are called to the office carry the anointing and grace for it. Without the grace, if the grace lifts, or when people begin to do things on their own strength, we begin to witness burn out. Then, often, God’s presence is not felt. Also, if a church is caught up in religion wherein the members are not being fed by God’s word, not growing, not maturing, and not being equipped to go out and minister to others, it becomes void of life. When a church focuses more on keeping traditions or rituals and takes its focus off of God and equipping His children, it dies. It becomes lifeless.
While there is comfort in tradition, and nothing wrong with it, in and of itself, if the purpose is not God centered, His presence is removed. There is no room for the Holy Spirit to enter in. Also churches that deny the existence of the Holy Spirit do not experience life either and rob their members from experiencing all that God has for His children.
Dead churches have people who are empty on the inside and filled with unresolved issues. They hear messages given every Sunday, but what is being spoken is not being planted inside of them. Many don’t understand how chapters in the Bible pertain to them because they aren’t being shown how to make the transition into their lives. Some are bored with the message because they don’t see the relevancy. In short, they aren’t being fed and don’t grow. They are more in the world because they haven’t been properly taught the Word.
Many churches as well have conformed to the world due to the immense pressure of both politics and an immoral society. They believe the lie if they bend just a little that they can fill the sanctuary, and the bending causes them to break. God never intended for His bride to conform to the world. When churches conform, they are being stained and tainted. They are no longer pure because they no longer teach the truth. How can you impact Christ when you don’t teach His Word honestly and without shame? People need to hear the truth because there are too many lies and deceptions out there.
If you want to change the world, you need to be true to the Word. The light of Christ doesn’t have a chance to shine in people when they aren’t being taught God’s Word so that it becomes a way of living, or because they are ashamed. This is where we see Christians fall away that are newly saved.
It is not because they didn’t mean it when they gave their life- they did- but no one has walked with them or mentored them for what comes after. The world loves you when you conform to it’s dysfunction, but hates you when you shine the light of Christ because it doesn’t understand it. The world, which is Satan’s dominion, rejects the light of Christ so often new believers if they are not strong enough will revert back to their old ways. They fail to be the example of what God wants them to be.
It is tough to be in the world and not be of the world because you stand out as different. Those that are not prepared for it and not embrace it as a good and powerful thing for change tend to get embarrassed and fall away. Their close friends begin to make fun of them for being what they perceive as weird-different and a sense of conformity back to the old way begins to take a stranglehold on their life. If they cannot resist or don’t have a Christian to help them, they will fall away. While they profess to be a Christian, there is no fruit. They are embarrassed of the gospel because walking in God’s light causes their friends to ostracize them. They need to feel included and cave to the pressure.
New believers need to know what to expect, but not be frightened by it because it’s part of the process. The reality is that some of your friends will follow and be saved. Others will fall away, reject you, or persecute you. However, truthfully, they aren’t rejecting you- they are rejecting the Christ in you. Christ being in you is the most wonderful thing that you can experience because it always leads to victory in all areas. People around you will see you change and rise- although they will not understand why. They will want what you have because it is effortless- and they are the ones putting in all the effort in their own lives with little positive result. That is when they will ask you what you are doing, and then you can share. They will be drawn to you because you are different.
Being “different” empowers you to change lives and make a lasting impression. Conformity doesn’t enable you to stand out- it makes you blend into the crowd, or sometimes worldly behavior makes you the subject of a joke. People don’t want what you have because they already have it, and often don’t really want it. The world is littered with broken people who want something better but don’t know where to look. How can you make a real change when you are just as fragmented as they are?
The worse thing you can do is to be embarrassed of God’s Word. This is where Satan wants you because it separates you from God. It is not something God is doing to you, but something you have chosen to do to God. It is deadly for a new believer because God’s truth for their lives is being stolen before it’s really begun. The person will never know what God created them for, they will never know the depths of His love or His healing power, they will never know their purpose, and they will live a shallow existence with shallow relationships. The void they experience in their lives can only be filled by God- not the world, and not by man. Their future is being stolen from them.
If you are a new believer, find someone who is able to mentor you. They will be able to help you navigate through the challenges that Satan will put in your way and help you to withstand the temptation. They have been there and walked the journey you are embarking on. They will be a tremendous support to you and help you to live the life of victory that you were created for. Doing it on your own is very hard, and needs extreme determination because the world will try to suck you back in. Surround yourself with good Christian friends and you will be victorious.
While the world may reject you now, in time, they will be seeking after you. Following Christ will give you want they want without the dysfunction. Allow your heart to remain soft, not bitter, and you will see the greatest victory up ahead. God never fails as long as you never give up.Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 Faith Filled Family
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