If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23 NKJV.Have you ever noticed how many believers side with the world when another Christian is outright passionate and vocal about Jesus Christ? Many side with the world, anxious to tell another believer that they're too passionate, even to the point of being strange, and they they should tone down their faith. Everyone claims to believe but when the rubber meets the road, many people are ashamed and embarrassed of those believers who are on fire for God. They are embarrassed and afraid of being associated with that person all because the world thinks that it's a little bit too much to be passionate for God, although it's okay to be passionate about other things.
I'm seeing more and more Christians who have been watered-down and are lukewarm these days. It's becoming more and more common for one to think that we should shut up and keep our faith on the down-low so that we don't offend anyone. Those who don't cower down are labeled and criticized, even by fellow brothers and sisters in Christ for "coming off too strong". Frequently, I see people who seem to be staunch believers until their faith is challenged. They cower down when given the opportunity to take a stand beside a fellow believer against the world's accusations.
I've been seeing so much of this and for a long time I let it discourage me. But I've read and prayed and been refreshed with the truth. And the truth forces me to ask: If you believe in Him and that the Bible is His word, how can you say that it's wrong to live and speak passionately about the Lord and Savior who brings so much joy to your soul? If you've ever experienced His joy and peace, how can you remain silent?
It's a sad day when Christians can't stand together, equally zealous and willing to serve the God of our hearts. But the Bible tells us that this is to be expected. We shouldn't be surprised. The Book of Revelations speaks of Christians like this, who are so caught up in the world that they look, speak and act like the world because they're not on fire and they're not cold---they're lukewarm. They're watered down in the world from trying to live too much in the world that they compromise His word and His way, to try to please both the world AND God.
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Revelation 3: 14-16 NIVI didn't say it, I just repeated it. So if you're offended, I encourage you to pray about it.
I almost don't believe my ears at times. I kept hearing my fellow Christians advocate that a believer should simply love others by hugging and serving and but that we shouldn't say too much because we risk offending someone. Don't dare mention the truth because we risk upsetting people, right? Read the Bible ...Christ offended many. He was, the most controversial man of all time, and He was controversial because He went against the flow of things not just in His actions, but also by speaking the truth. Granted He spoke lovingly, He spoke frankly and He didn't cower down in shame because someone got offended over the truth. If we believe He came to set an example for us to live by, why do we question this so often?
Let's face it, the truth hurts. And it hurts even the most God-fearing, on-fire Christians as much as it does the lost at times. I hate to face ugly things about myself, but as a believer I must be willing to receive the truth and to share the truth with others. And if I can't receive it, how can I share it?
He tells us in clearly to expect this, and not to fall for it. Here are some guidelines and scripture references that make it clear that we don't have to cower down in the corner--and that we can do something.
- Speak and Live Boldly. Proverbs 28:1 says, "The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, But the righteous are bold as a lion.
- Speak the truth in love. "We must no longer be children, tossed to and for and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ." (Ephesians 4:14-15)
- Expect resistance. Matthew 10:16 says "Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." Matthew 10:22 says, " and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved."
- Don't be discouraged by those who refuse the truth. "If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town." (Matthew 10:14)
- Don't be offended by the truth when spoken to you. Matthew 11:6: "And blessed is the one who is not offended by me."
In case you haven't noticed, we Christians are losing to society's ways. The reason for that is that we've, as a whole, adapted to the mindset that we should be quiet and cower down. This mindset contradicts His word, which tells us to speak boldly. We have every right to be bold, because He is real to each of us who believe. We also have the ability to be bold simply because we believe in Him and His ability to deliver us.
We don't have to adapt to or believe everything society tells us to. Although society (and some fellow believers) try to instill the fear of offending others in each of us, don't buy it. It's meant to keep us quiet and paralyzed and to stop the growth of the Christian faith. It's a lie planted by Satan and we should know better.
Look around you, non-Christian religions are quite passionate and zealous. Why can't we be? Why shouldn't we be? We know our Lord is THE LORD. It's only wrong because the world thinks it is and they think this simply because the truth hurts. And if there was no truth to it they wouldn't be so offended, would they?
We don't have to compromise our faith to survive in this world. We don't have to adapt the beliefs and become watered down and less passionate. But that's a choice we each have to make. As for me, I will answer for me someday and each of you will speak for yourselves. Those who are against Christ will someday proclaim He is Lord just like the rest of us, and by then it will be too late. I encourage you to set yourselves apart. Make it clear who you believe in and serve your purpose with passion and zeal. After all, that's what He called us to do.
I hope you each hear, "Well done, thy good and faithful servant." I hope you never quit.
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Revelation 3:19-22