Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Loyalty and Honor



 The Lord has been doing so much in my life lately!  Not only has He taught me more in the last couple of months than I thought I could have learned in a couple of years, but He has placed a lot of opportunities before me as well.  

One thing in particular that He has ironed into my heart, is the issue of loyalty.  

We get so caught up in our works.  We think that if we as young adults, can just do everything right, life will just fall into place for us.  In essence, we live our lives driven by works.  We idolize marriage and family to the point that we neglect the Gospel to a disgusting fault.  We develop a horrid attitude of superiority and arrogance when we think that our being stay at home daughters, or wearing only skirts, or attending a family integrated church, or being home educated, or not going to college, etc., etc., makes us *better* or *holier* Christians.  The bad thing that happens to us when we fall into a works based lifestyle, is that we end up in idolatry and worshiping our local church and family above our Lord and Savior.  

Jesus tells us that our loyalty is to *Him* first...  

"Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth.  I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  And a person's enemies will be those of his own household.  Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  And whoever does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."  -Matthew 10:3439

"If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.  Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.  For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?  Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'  Or what king going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?  And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.  So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be My disciple." -Luke 14:26-33 

Jesus is trying to tell us that if we choose anything above Him, we have no business being His disciples.  He is saying that if we are not willing to sacrifice *everything* for Him, being a selfless follower of Him would be practically impossible.  But what is so unique is that He gives us the example of loving our families more than Him, because He knows our families are (usually) the most important things to us.  In a nutshell, He was saying that if we weren't willing to give up our most prized thing in life, then we would have no idea of what it meant to belong to Him.  

So why have we idolized our families more than we take up our crosses and serve Him?  Why do we put honoring our parents above serving our precious Savior?  Because we ought to be honoring our parents *by* serving our Savior!!  If we love Christ first and truly most, then we ought to be able to honor our parents and still hold Christ first in our lives!  The highest honor we can give to our parents is living a life that is consumed with proclaiming the Gospel and serving Jesus Christ!!  It is a sad day we are in, because we have chosen a lifestyle over the Lord.  We have brushed the Gospel under the rug and told God that we love our families more than we love Him.  God has witnessed us erect the golden calf we have dubbed our "lifestyle" and has watched us bow our faces down before it, rather than bow our faces down before Him in service.  We have shook our fists in His face and said that we don't care what He has said, we are going to love our families and our local churches, and our lifestyle's more than we could fathom loving Him.  We have built our tower of Babel, and called it God's way for us.

What have we come to?  

Look at Jesus' attitude towards His own family:

"While He was still speaking to the people, behold, His mother and His brothers stood outside, asking to speak with Him.  But He replied to the man who told Him, 'Who is My mother, and who are My brothers?'  And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, 'Here are My mother and My brothers!  For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.'"  -Matthew 12:46-50

When we become addicted to a way of life that makes us feel like we somehow have the market cornered on holiness, then we have established a high-place in our lives that needs tearing down.  We start living based off our works and we start forgetting what it means to live a life in the face of God.  It is a heartbreaking occurrence that we desperately need to repent for.  All you have to do is ask yourself if you think you are better than the girl who might not have the same definition of modesty as you do, or if you think you are purer before the Lord because you didn't attend public school or you haven't ever dated.  You see, we have trained our minds and our hearts to function off a a fuel that is called legalism.  We get high when we discover something new that feels radical and zealous... but the motive of our heart is the tell-tale sign of whether this new find is healthy for our spirit or not.  Is it something that is going to make us feel like we are more worthy of the redemption we claim to possess?  Or is it something that presents glorious new opportunities for the proclamation of the Gospel?  

We cannot add one single thing to our salvation!  

So why do we try to?  Why do we think that God saved us because we had "potential" or we weren't as dirty as some other sinners that we are acquainted with?  Why can't we grasp the concept that the blood of Jesus Christ is all we need to make us clean?  If He has saved us, then we belong to Him and nothing can pluck us from His Hand... even our failure to dress as modest as a group or sect of people would tell us to.  

When we fall into allowing other people to tell us how to live our lives instead of just living by God's Word, then we have fallen prey to not only potential cults, but a dangerous game that can lead to a world of hurt and a massive amount of pride.  

I want to end this post with a strong caution to you unmarried young women out there...

Please do not think you are superior because you didn't go to college, get a job, wear pants, or any other thing you can add to this list.  None of those things are things that are prohibited by God!  I don't want you to be robbed of God's blessing and the peace that can dwell in your heart, because you think that your lack of doing the above things makes you more of a godly woman than the godly girl who does do them.  

Please do not sit at home, taking on the role of wife (which the scripture says not to do until you are actually married) just *waiting* to be married!  That is not living... let alone living to the glory of God.  USE YOUR LIFE!!  Use your life for Him!!  He has given you such beautiful and precious years and they only last a little while.  Don't waste them making every decision with a potential marriage in mind... make your decisions with your Savior in mind!  Do what you can to tell the whole world that He is Lord and that He reigns from His throne in Heaven!  Do what you can to minister to the lost that His blood was shed to save sinners!  Do what you can to help those who have never heard the Good News, or to help the orphans, widows, poor and suffering!  It is so beautiful and glorious!  The Word of God says that an unmarried woman lives a different life than that of a married woman and we need to start acting on that!!  

God has done so much in my life in the last few months.  He has taught me more than I could ever fathom!  But the biggest thing He has done is made my heart be at total peace!  I trust God more right now at this phase of life, than I have in a verrrrrrry long time!  I feel so at ease and so happy!  And I know this can largely be attributed to the fact that He has cast off my bonds of oppression and showed me the legalism that had imbedded itself in my heart... the legalism that I cultivated and let in.  He showed me the dangers in my loyalty being to a movement or even my own family, above being to Him.  He broke me, and took another area of my heart that was stoney and turned it to flesh.  I cannot tell you how real my freedom in Christ is to me right now!  Joy has made a wonderful home in my heart and it gets bigger every.single.day!  

We are free!  

So let's go do something with that freedom and tell the world that life in Jesus is worth dying for!  
 

4 comments:

Laura.lea said...

Amen! Prayed for you as I read this post. :-)

Jean Marie said...

BEAUTIFUL, LOVE! Even more than that - AMEN. Life in Christ is FREEDOM to serve Him wherever He leads us.....and that is whether I'm a little grease monkey, working with my daddy in the garage fixing one of our cars, or whether I'm pursuing the dreams God has laid on my heart - The Lord will lead us in PEACE, and that is how we know it is true.

Praying for you, Shelby. Love you!
~ Jean Marie

Joenne Courtney said...

Jesus said, "I came to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already set ablaze! But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how it consumes Me until it is finished! Do you think that I came here to give peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on, five in one household will be divided: three against two, and two against three.

They will be divided, father against son,
son against father,
mother against daughter,
daughter against mother,
mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law,
and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law." Luke 12:49-53

So, why do we think, that Jesus came to bring us perfect little families, who are just content to be at home, enjoying each other? There is good that comes from division! It means that people need to hear the Gospel, even in our own homes. What could be worse, than to find out after spending years and years raising your children, that you taught them everything about the Bible there was to know; taught them modesty and propriety and courtship and how to be submissive wives and good mothers; the young men to be great leaders of their families and to be good husbands; and to do everything just perfect, so they would not ever have a problem in the world -- only to find out, that they were never really saved, but knew all the "right things" to do and the "right doctrines" to believe and the "right works" to perform!! You suddenly find out, that you taught them "works", instead of "grace". Children are not born knowing the Gospel, and it is a terrible thing, when people put their trust in their own teaching or baptism or lifestyle, or whatever other "works" they perform, and just consider or hope their children are saved! The above statement by our Lord, demonstrates that He is sovereign over Salvation, and He does not guarantee that just because children are raised by Christian parents, that the children will be saved! Parents need to be presenting Christ and His Gospel to their children, not just lifestyles and propriety and healthy living! I have spent several hours each day, from the time my children were very small, reading the Bible to them and explaining God to them and praying for them and teaching them to pray. That is all that has ever mattered to me, was that my children knew God in a personal way and loved Him enough to obey Him; but more importantly, that my children would submit themselves to Him fully and allow Him to lead their lives and that God would know them.

Great article and happy to be included with you, in that freedom!

Erin GardenAndGrub said...

Wow. Beautiful. I found your blog through Immer Waschen - and all I can say is what an inspiration your words are. My faith and trust in the Lord is something that I have struggled with, and it easy to at times disregard his teachings with all of the distractions that bide for our attention in the world. Thank you for sharing!
-Erin