Quote for Today
“Whenever we are off our watch, we lose ground”
“Whenever we are off our watch, we lose ground”
“If any man serve me, let him follow me;
and where I am, there shall also my servant be:
if any man serve me, him will my Father honour”
The central theme to which Jesus kept directing His disciples was relationship to Him. The great deception of religion is that men and women serve an organization, a doctrine, a teacher or even worse themselves. Here Jesus points to the essential cornerstone of true service unto Him: “let him follow me”. It is in following Him that we become separated unto Him. The “cross” of the individual believer is simply defined by a life of following Him. While many are willing to do strenuous religious observances, fasting, long prayer meetings, conferences and seemingly good works the issue remains one of following Him. The cross of Christ was in doing the will of the Father. In this place of true servitude the Son glorified the Father. It is in our being “yoked” with Him that our lives will in truth glorify the Son. Knowledge of the scriptures must give way to relationship with the Son. Knowledge alone of the Son will never make a person free nor bring about the true experiential knowing of Him within the human heart.
Throughout the scriptures we see that many stopped following Him because of the cost of the Way. The Scribes and Pharisees had no problem with long prayers, religious observances and the rites and rituals of the religious system but they failed to follow Him. In following Him they would have come to the crossroad of serving self or serving God. It is here that the truth of one’s heart is revealed. In this day of the great Apostasy the hearts of many are growing cold and unresponsive to Him and His Word. The forms of truth are retained but the active daily following of Him is replaced by the love of this world, by the busyness of religious programs, and in living a life of self-interest; this culminates in a life that no longer follows Him. Freedom from self with all of its wretched ways and miserable ends can only be found in the following of Him. To truly follow Him requires a forsaking of self. Religion is the “opiate of the masses”; it offers the appearance of a thing without the substance of the thing. It offers the sayings of Jesus without the required obedience to His words. It calls Him Lord but affords its adherents the means to escape actual obedience to Him by the soothing of the conscience with the very words of scripture. Early in Jesus’ life Satan came with great power and temptation by quoting the scriptures so that Jesus might seek to “save” His life supernaturally for all to see (Matthew 4:1-11). Jesus refuted such temptation as He was not here to fulfill His will. His purpose was to fulfill the will of the Father.
There can be no true serving of Jesus without a life of actively following Him. It is evident that we are in the time of the great falling away. It is a very subtle and deadly affair of the heart when men and women cling to the words of Jesus without the following of Him. The subtlety of such a life is called deception and it is the way of spiritual decay and death. We remain static while He moves on in the will and the glory of the Father. We hear many say that God does not answer prayer. The wonder of His presence is lacking and in most places not even expected. We have become accustomed to the forms of religion without His presence and power. It is not because He has forsaken us; it is that we have ceased as a people to “follow Him”. He declares to the Church at Ephesus:
“But I have against you
that you left your first love…”
The verse preceding this one states “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience…” The works continued but the love faded. The forsaking of their “first love” (pre-eminent love) was so critical to their place in God that His judgement upon such a people was the removal of His presence from their midst. The reason for the cooling of the heart of His people is the result of iniquity abounding.
“And because iniquity shall abound,
the love of many shall wax cold”
The Greek word translated iniquity here does not fully imply gross sin. It speaks of lawlessness in that instead of obeying the commandments of Jesus we subtly set them aside declaring that we are now under grace. It is through the horror of this deceptive teaching that we are seeing the fervent love of many growing cold and indifferent. It is we who have forsaken the good and right way. The church has embraced teachers who bring in damnable heresies that turn His people from following Him to the serving of self and other things. We call Him Lord yet we set aside His commandments to obey the traditions and teachings of men. WE HAVE MADE THE WORD OF GOD OF NON-EFFECT! It is our own doing and God’s remedy is repentance and the return to our primary love.
“”This people honors Me with the lips,
but their heart is far away from Me; and in vain they worship Me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Isa. 29:13 8)
For forsaking the commandment of God,
you hold the tradition of men”
God has a simple answer for this generation and this time. It is the simplicity of obeying His commandments and following Him.
“If ye keep my commandments,
ye shall abide in my love”
The teaching of a grace that absolves His people from obedience to the commands of Jesus is a lie and deception of the devil himself! If we do not repent we will stand in the judgement of God as they who once knew the truth and turned away. This is the picture presented to us in the Parable of the Sower where the soil which grew weeds of the cares of self and this life and choked out the precious seed. This truth is presented throughout the New Testament to those who started out well yet grew cold and indifferent to Him in the end.
“For if by a full knowledge of the Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ, they have escaped the defilements of the world,
and again being entangled they have been overcome by these,
then their last things have become worse than the first.
For it was better for them not to have fully known
the way of righteousness, than fully knowing to turn from
the holy commandment delivered to them”
2 Peter 2:20-21 (LITV)
Let us find Grace in this day to finish the race which is set before us. Let us not grow weary in our following of Him for we shall surely reap if we faint not.
“And it came to pass…
at the time when kings go forth to battle,
that David sent Joab, and his servants with him,
and all Israel;
and they destroyed the children of Ammon,
and besieged Rabbah.
But David tarried still at Jerusalem“
This is the prelude to a very dark time in David’s life. Sin does not suddenly overtake a man; it is usually a result of neglect of our own vigilance to “keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 1:21). These things occur when we take our eyes off Jesus. We turn aside from the daily warfare and we seek rest and comfort for ourselves. David was to have been out battling against the enemies of God. Instead he sent Joab and others out while he “tarried” at home. While he “tarried” he encountered temptation in the form of Bathsheba and he fell. The repercussions of this incident impacted him for the rest of his life. These things are written for our instruction whereby we are warned to be sober and alert that we may finish our days in the victory of His Life in us. We dare not relax from vigilance for our enemy is always seeking those whom he may entice and draw away from the life of faith.
”Be sober, be vigilant;
because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion,
walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”
We must keep our eyes upon Jesus and seek out true and living fellowship with others in order to exhort one another to live Godly lives in Christ Jesus. The life of a true child of God is one of being a soldier in His army, constantly on duty, never taking leave of our post in the course of daily life. The call is high, the prize is great and our enemy is ever seeking our downfall. How easy it is to “tarry” from the battle, to become lax in the call to diligence and discipline. We all know from experience that a little “leaven” in our lives will contaminate the very manna of God. Our lives become compromised in lukewarm living where we go through the motions of a religion but in reality are denying the power of God to bring His Light into the world in which we live. A compromised life is an impotent life. It is a life with right words but powerless to bring change into the lives around us.
It is to the vigilant that the promises of God come. It is in standing at our post fully engaged in the “fight of faith” that we reap the rewards from Him. We must stand faithful even in the night watches. The monotony of life tends to lull us to slumber and voices that speak of futility allow the sleep of death to overtake us. It is in the morning watch of each day, where we rise up to drink in of His life, to touch His heart and remain alive unto the things of the Spirit, that we find grace to remain faithful. Faithfulness is simply being full of faith for the task to which we have been called. Blessed are they who find themselves filled with the same heart that beat in the Son:
”…wist ye not that
I must be about my Father’s business?”
Even at the age of twelve Jesus was singular in the life that he lived. His Father’s business was the preoccupation of his heart. If He is alive and dwelling in us that same heart beats within us as well.
Let us trim the lamps of our hearts to keep the life we live simple and confined to the one great purpose, to do His Will. We must remain vigilant against the subtleties of this temporal life to be about our Father’s business.