Wednesday, April 18

All or Nothing Christianity. Where is it these days?

“Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus . . . has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 9:17, ESV)
Here Ananias obeyed God against his "better judgment" and went to help Saul (later Paul) to regain his sight. (Remember Saul in his Pharisaical zeal had been a persecutor of the church). But now he had quite literally been blinded by the light of God from heaven as he was on the road to Damascus to persecute more Christians. From this time forward Paul's driving principle altered drastically. "For I decided not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2). That was, as I said, his driving principle. I fear for far too many of us in the realm of Christianity, this has become an unreal expectation, or at least an untested or ignored expectation! We can quote the right verses, even nod our heads to orthodox teachings, and yet, for many of us it could not be honestly said, "Jesus Christ is his driving principle." I fear that we tend to quote the verses, but end up "consulting" God instead of obeying him implicitly. Notice that I said IMPLICITLY, "without qualification," or "absolutely." Oswald Chambers put it this way:
The abiding characteristic of a spiritual man is the interpretation of the Lord Jesus Christ to himself, and the interpretation to others of the purposes of God. The one concentrated passion of the life is Jesus Christ [emphasis mine]. Whenever you meet this note in a man, you feel he is a man after God’s own heart.
Never allow anything to deflect you from insight into Jesus Christ. It is the test of whether you are spiritual or not. To be unspiritual means that other things have a growing fascination for you [mine again].
‘Since mine eyes have looked on Jesus,
I’ve lost sight of all beside,
So enchanted my spirit’s vision,
Gazing on the Crucified.’
Chambers, O. My Utmost for His Highest
It seems that what I am finding in ministry (nothing new frankly) is that many so-called believers exhibit a life that treats God and the church like a second opinion, where their compliance to His will is still in their own hands to either follow or reject. Jesus never presented the gospel in such a manner. Ananias did what God told him to do. Why? Because God told him to do it! What more need be said? We treat "Thus saith the Lord" too often as an opinion. As Ted Koppel once said to the Duke graduating class in 1987, "When Moses came down from the mountain, he did not bring with him 'Ten Suggestions.'"

If Ananias had not lived the God-driven life, he would not have helped Saul become Paul. And if Paul had not lived the God-driven life then . . . !! We don't want to even think of what that would've looked like!

Does every other opinion but God's have an increasing fascination to you? Does His will mean more to you than life or death? That's where we need to be, not vacillating between opinions. God help us!

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