Sunday, January 17, 2010

Causes and Crosses, Bread and Jam for Jan. 17

What would you do for your cause?
 I've not been one to take strong stands on issues but this is changing. If you believe in something, then you ought to be able to stand behind it with word and actions.  The world does so without batting an eyelash. They receive applause and some even receive awards. Not so with a biblical cause (for the most part). In fact, you will not receive an award, at least not a desirable one, here on earth.

When you stick your head into a dark cave to shine the light of truth, be prepared for what you awaken in that cave. It might be kind of scary. Oh, and don't expect to hear an echo right away. 

 Of course, if you stand for a cause, you will need to know how to do it with tact, skill and courage.  Colossians 4:6 tells us,  "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer every man". 

If your cause is a righteous cause, then you will at some point suffer for it regardless of how kind you are in your approach.
It is instinctive to react with shock or disdain when you receive opposition to a truthful stand but the Bible says  to "rejoice and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven, for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." Matthew 5:12-13.

We live in an age where our Christian liberty is far-reaching. Christ came to give us liberty. We are no longer condemned by the law; we are under grace. Is freedom an excuse to sin?

Romans 6:1-2, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?"

The post modernism of our era has left both positive and negative effects on the church. On the upside,  the church has grown in it's ability to love and reach out  to the "seeker". Christian unity and individual liberty have increased. On the other hand, gradualism has ensnared many to take on worldly philosophies and practices. A sort of "Christian" consequentialism, pragmatism and relativism have become normalized in the church, too, causing those who stand for truth to be labeled as "legalists", "divisive", and "arrogant."  Note: these wordly philosophies can be right wing or left wing in expression. Consider pro-lifers who murder abortion doctors or on the other hand, Christians who think it is okay to ignore biblical mandates and use worldly methods to gain more acceptance in the world.

While I do think Christians need to guard against pride and self-righteousness, I  also believe there are times when we are called to stand for what is right. Of course, there are areas where we interpret things differently from one another.  This is when we take out the plum line for measuring all "truth"--the Bible. What does the Bible say about the subject area of discussion or the cause? Is it right to do wrong in order to advance your cause? If you have done wrong, and your cause advanced, does this justify your wrong-doing?

James 4:17 holds the answer, "The one who knows to do good and doesn't do it, to him it is sin." Another famous quote whose author is unknown says, "It's never right to do wrong to do right."

So, how do we stand for a cause and make sure our motives and actions are right? Pray! Read the Bible for answers and then act in faith, not wavering. "...Whatever is not of faith is sin." Romans 14:23b. ( While you are here reading this verse, go ahead and read Romans 14. It helps identify how we are to use our Christian liberty.)

While it is true that we should not intend to be divisive nor to offend our brothers and sisters in the faith, it is also true that we are called to be lights in this dark world.  

Matthew 5:13-16  "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven".

 While it may be easier to act as people-pleasers than to "take a stand", we are called to "come out and be seperate". ( 2 Corinthians 6) I've decided that the cause of Christ and the truth of the Word are worth standing for, no matter what the cost.

We are in the world but not of it. (John 15:19) Although we should love the people of the world, we have to be careful about making friendships/partnerships with the world (1 John 2:15). Jesus calls us to to take up the cross, deny ourselves and to follow Him. Sometimes this will be painful. You may lose friends and irritate family. You may lose popularity or even monetary return for your business.  Are you willing to suffer as Christ and his disciples suffered? I have not always been willing. It hurts.  I don't want to be an outcast. No one does. I want to be liked.

Many people are willing to stand for a cause. Some will even do undignified things to further awareness. They don't care who they offend. The cause is worth it.

 What are you willing to do for the cause of Christ? Are you willing to be an outcast and an alien? Are you willing to stick your neck out on the line when the line might become an opportunity to put it in a laughing stock? 

Jesus said this in Matthew 10:32, "But whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father which is in heaven".  

Watch this video about the the struggle we have to follow Christ. See if you are willing to take up the cross and follow Him.


BeckyJoie said...

Sometimes I have no control over the font the blog editor uses on my posts. It didn't show up in the edit mode as half in bold. Hopefully this doesn't detract from the message.

JoJo Tabares said...

Oh I love this video! Thank you for posting this. This is a powerful message and one that many pastors have tried to share with us.

And thank you for posting this as a reminder to me to stay strong. I have put myself out as a target many a time in the last few years and have seen hecklers of all kinds. I often feel weary in doing what the Lord calls me to do but this has been one more powerful message to me to take up my cross and allow it to strengthen me so that I will have what I need when I reach the end of my journey.