If you are in the D-M-V, and you are “Chasing God + Purpose” like we say over here on The Dithering, then there is no place else for you to be on the First Wednesday of every month than the Alfred Street Baptist Church “Come As You Are” young adult Bible study at 7:30 p.m. Last night, Pastor Wesley spoke on what it means — and looks like — to be a Christian in this world. Using 1 Peter 2:9-12, he showed us who Christ wants us to be on this earth:
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
The words to focus on are:
1)Chosen: God hand-made, and hand-picked YOU to do His work. Knowing your limitations and your struggles, He still chose YOU to be His followers and His vessel for bringing other to Christ. You are God’s special possession, and with Him you have the power to live a holy life for Him.
2) Royal: Christians ought not be common. You ought to see a Christian out someplace and know that person is a Christian because they don’t look, talk, walk, act like every other person in the place because the King of Kings lives within you and has changed you from common to royalty.
3) Holy: Christians ought to be like God; pure, sanctified, “set-apart.” We’ve already been told we’re special to God, so we should act like we are special and different by God’s grace!
4) Foreigners/ Exiles: This earth is not our home; We are to “be in the world, but not of the world.” We ought to be exiled; there are some places folks should not want us to come, because we would “ruin the fun,” simply by being holy. We shouldn’t fit in in certain places. If people can’t tell you are Christians, then there is not enough Christ in you. We must end “Chameleon Christianity”: the ability to blend end seamlessly in any environment or situation.
5) Abstain: We need to learn to say no, not just to other people, but also to ourselves and the things that we want that we know God doesn’t want for us.
6) Honorable: “Live such good lives,” that others around you who don’t know Christ will want to know Him simply because they have seen the work that He has done in you. You don’t lie, you don’t steal, you are not envious, you are honorable — just as Christ intended for you to be.
Pastor Wesley also spoke on the Three reasons “Chameleon Christianity” is so popular:
1) We haven’t developed the discipline of denial. Being saved is easy: “confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord,” and you’re saved! LIVING like Christ is the Lord of your life is another story. That is the hard part. But Christ did not live an easy life, and He told His followers, “take up your cross and follow me.” Just like Christ bore His cross, we each will go through trials and tribulations, and will constantly wrestle against our sinful nature. But we must develop the discipline of denial — saying NO to our ungodly desires — if we are to let Christ be the Lord of our lives.
2) We are addicted to acceptance. Everyone wants people to like them, and everyone cares about what people think of them, but when you become addicted to the acceptance of other people, that is when you’re in trouble. Your behavior, your thoughts, your attitude, and your life become dictated by what other people think of you, or what you fear they’ll think of you. Christ has ALREADY accepted you, and His acceptance is worth more than any broken person’s acceptance. Break free of that and see how your life will change (for more on how to get free from the addiction of acceptance, click here.)
3) We fear failure. People don’t want to let others know they are Christians for fear that they’ll be held to an impossible standard of perfection. I was recently on the radio speaking about the spiritual dangers of pre-marital sex, and I thought of backing out of the interview because of this fear that I’d be exposed as being imperfect. What if I didn’t live up to such a high standard? What if I got tongue-tied and couldn’t answer the questions? But Christians are called to “boast all the more gladly in weakness,” because when we are weak, that’s when Christ’s perfection, glory, and strength shines through us. Some folks would NEVER come to Christ if they didn’t first see who you used to be in comparison to who you are today! Most of all, if we were perfect, we would not need Christ to save us. His death and resurrection are not in vain! We are all called to be the imperfect vessels through which God will shine.
Pastor Wesley then told us the 3 ways we ought to show we are Christians: our 1) conduct; 2) character; and 3)conversation.
a) Where you go: There ought to be some places you no longer have a desire to go. Some places ought to be unattractive to you. Social events, the club, house parties, any place where drugs, alcohol, and sexual desires are encouraged ought to be places where you have no desire to be because God’s holiness isn’t there.
b) What you do: Once you become a Christian, you ought not do the same things you used to do. Romans 12:1 says “I beseech (beg) you therefore brethern by the mercies of God that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice to God, that is holy and acceptable.” You who bear the name of Christ: Don’t embarrass the family name! In your sexuality and your socialization, be holy in both places. If you can’t ask God to help you do it — DON’T DO IT!
c) Who are you with: Birds of a feather flock together. If you are the strongest Christian in your circle, you need to expand your circle. Get around more people who are chasing God and who will encourage you in your walk with Christ.2 Corinthians 6:14 says
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:“I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”17 Therefore,“Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
That doesn’t mean abandon unbelievers, but you should be rubbing off on THEM, and not the other way around. COME OUT and be separate.
2) CHARACTER : Too many Christians have the worst attitudes, and are the rudest, nastiest of people! This is not the character of Christ, and we throw dirt on His name when we claim to be Christians but don’t exhibit Christ-like behavior. Galatians 5:17-25 tells us what our character ought to be:
17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
If we operate in love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control, there is NOTHING in hell, no power of Satan that can defeat us! That is awesome. Let your character reflect the character of God and inspire in others a desire to know who this Christ is who has given you so much peace and joy in every circumstance.
3) CONVERSATION: We can’t profess to love God and curse out our neighbor. James 3:5-10 asks “how can the same mouth speak blessings and curses?” We’ve got to watch our mouths, avoid perverse language, and actively speak the name of CHRIST. Anyone can talk about “God,” because most people don’t find that offensive. But our God is Christ Jesus. Everyone should know whom you serve and whom you love.
Pastor Wesley ended with this important reminder from Matthew 5:13:
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
He also broke down to us what Christ meant by salt and its usefulness on Earth:
1) Valuable: in that time, salt was a currency that had great value. You ought to have some value as a Christian. You ought to add value at work, at church, and in the lives of everyone you come in contact with.
2) Flavor: Have you ever put salt on a watermelon? It draws out the sweetness in the fruit and makes it taste better. As Christians, we ought to make life sweeter for folks.
3) Preservative: Before refrigerators, salt was rubbed on meat to preserve it and delay the decay. As Christians, corruption ougth to cease because our salt is in the room. You ought to delay the corruption around you.
4) Irritate an Open Wound: This doesn’t mean we are to intentionally irritate people, but salt ought to rub a person with an unholy spirit the wrong way. Your presence ought to convict the spirit of some folks. That may be the only way some people get right.
5) Create a Thirst: People long for water after they’ve had an encounter with salt. Your presence in someone’s life ought to motivate someone to find out more about Christ and long for His Living Water. You ought to be making the people around you thirsty for more of what you have: Jesus Christ.
For the next 30 days, pledge to be Salty for Christ, living a life that is holy, pleasing, and acceptable to God! Follow Pastor Wesley as he tweets about the #30DayChallenge on Twitter!
Vote DCDistrictDiva.com “Best Faith-Based Blog,” and The Prototype Series (http://www.dcdistrictdiva.com/?cat=7) “Best Blog Post Series” HERE!