Last night as I was reading in the New Testament, specifically Philippians 3:9-10, I saw that God's plan for our true freedom is really quite simple. However, it comes at a cost because we need to fully participate.
The word says in 3:9 that we first come to faith in Christ and are clothed with his righteousness.It isn't something we earn. It is freely given. We are given that righteousness so that we might know him personally. The Greek says it is an absolute " knowing that we know that we know". The second is that we experience His power. This isn't just any "power" but God's miraculous power through the Holy Spirit.
It is the same power Jesus demonstrated when He walked the earth. It is also a power that is to used only when the Holy Spirit moved, not like some of the TV evangelists and prosperity and word of faith preachers proclaim. Folks were baptized in the Holy Spirit in the early church and the same gift and power exists for today, despite what certain segments of evangelical Christianity say and teach.
The third step in the process is the least popular and almost never taught. We all want God's blessings, but we are reluctant to share in the sufferings He promises those who follow Him. That Greek word for suffering means hardship and pain. We don't experience that in America. We have no clue what it is really like but that is changing. Political correctness and pressures on the church to conform to non-Biblical social mores are intensifying. This is part of the Holy Spirit's sanctification process as He refines us and the dross is removed from our spiritual walk.
Home Bible studies are being shut down because of zoning laws, churches are forces to grass over gravel parking areas to provide "green belts" and an excuse to prevent congregational growth. It won't be long before the government steps in to remove tax exempt status because churches don't toe the political correct line regarding homosexual marriages. It's coming.
Christians are not yet being jailed for their beliefs, but the pressures are mounting.
The question is, what is our response? Do we keep silent and "meek"? Meek really means disciplined not weak and wimpy. Do we take a stand at work for our beliefs even when it is unpopular? Do we vote in our elections to let our voice be known? How does what we actually do match up with what we say we believe? I admit there are times I am guilty of being a hypocrite and need to repent. There is a cost to be a follower of Jesus, yet we are promised that if we follow Him and suffer as He promised us we would suffer we will attain the ultimate prize-- arrival at the resurrection of the dead and life with Him forever more.
This isn't easy believeism. It costs each of us to follow Jesus. Darker days are coming for us, despite what the name it and claim it positive confession types are preaching.
Are you ready to make your stand?
Is there any evidence in our individual lifestyles that could actually convict us of being Christians?