It is much easier to sit and listen than to make effort to search God's word and wait upon Him.
People, including Christians, seem to become overwhelmed by the things which do not really matter to their spiritual life. They seldom go down into the "deep" things of God and skimp on the most important issue of discovering the truth of God's word.
They may not be taught to study God's word thoroughly for themselves. They seem to blindly accept that which comes from the pulpit... because the Pastor should know...
Their heads are stuffed with the world news, TV soap operas, blaring noisy music, worrying about global issues more than about the condition of their soul and the things of God. Many come home after the church service and are right away involved in worldly affairs.
And therefore they live a life of defeat, depression, mishaps and misery.
How else can it be?
On the other hand I wonder, are they taught God's word or a personal opinion? Is the pastor presenting God's word with conviction and fire, or is it just to fill the half hour preaching time?
Christians who have come out of denominational churches have most likely searched the scriptures more intense, because they may have questioned the doctrines/teachings of the church they did attend, and tend to search God's word to find the truth of the matter. Such are lovers of TRUTH.
From there on they usually are more alert and watchful, therefore are more up to read and study God's word.
Others who have not noticed any deception may stay with their denomination because they just accept what is taught without checking God's word for the truth, as long as it sounds good. And some may even stay for the social activities; entertainment, corn roasts, Christmas dinners etc. and not for their spiritual welfare
Following Christ, studying God's word, denying the old flesh, taking up one's cross, forgiving the neighbour, blessing the enemy, looking after widows and orphans, are things that DO NOT come natural to anybody. What comes naturally to ALL is SIN and rebellion.
Therefore one needs to submit to God and allow Christ to change them from within. After which one becomes willing to walk in obedience through the indwelling and the power of the Holy Ghost.
You better believe it, but the Holy Spirit does not dwell in them that have not committed their lives unto God, or who are not serious enough to study God's word and search for His truth, although they may attend all the church services! Therefore those cannot change.
Really, it does not come natural to submit unto God and to keep the old nature into the grave. We need endurance to follow Christ and this takes the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and practising God's Word.
One has to ask himself how can I come to know my God and Savior better... how can I dedicate and commit my life to Him... how can my life glorify God and benefit my neighbour... is my calling to live for myself or should I lay down my life for others... Is God pleased in the way I present His Son, Jesus Christ?
A true follower of Christ is not SEEKING excitement in miracles, healings, Gifts of the Holy Spirit or anything which may stir the flesh.
WE DON'T NEED TO DEFEND THE WORK OF GOD, NEITHER PROVE HIS ATTRIBUTES.
BUT.... He will confirm our walk with signs and wonders, as His word tells us. NOT seeking signs and then follow Him. Nevertheless, His promises are Yeah and Amen and so are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit!
I speak from personal experience, that through life's trials we get the opportunity to come to know the Father in a profound way, while others curse Him for the same trials.
I believe this to be a matter of being able to humble oneself before God, or otherwise to stick up the head in rebellion.
I have continually before me my own lifespan and can only think of how short it is and how long eternity last. To me it has become obvious that following Christ and to love God with all my heart, mind and soul and "missing out" on the worldly pleasure is worth it ALL, to gain Him more.
I believe that if one truly desires to follow in the footsteps of Christ that they need to sacrifice their life. I mean the old "self", the "me", and keep it buried in the grave, and truly begin to walk in the NEWNESS of life.
This is the hardest thing to do, since we are continuously confronted with the old nature. BUT it is not impossible, thank God. With Paul I can say:
"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Followers of Christ have to set their mind on things above, sanctifying themselves and literally shut themselves off from this world ; throwing a few things out of the house, burning that which does not belong in a Christian home and breaking down their "altars". Preparing themselves, similar as Noah did by moving into the ark to avoid the "flood".
I must say, that not too many may be willing to go that far, because they are still clinging onto a half "decayed" ME. Staying in such a condition is like sitting on a teeter-totter... moving but never getting ahead in the things of God.
If we follow Christ in all sincerity and humility we will live a life of victory, and we will see His promises fulfilled, we will experience the power to overcome through the Holy Spirit, we will be able to withstand the powers of darkness, we will find healing for our body, we will see miracles and wonders, as were in the days of Jesus. Jesus Himself says that we shall do greater things than He did.
Nevertheless, this is not what I seek, but what will happen as one stays focussed on the SOURCE, while giving ALL the glory to God. AMEN AND AMEN!!
No matter how we are raised or in what spiritual environment we have grown up, we can and have to make a choice if we want to follow God's truth or the deception of man, once we have been confronted with the Gospel of Christ.
This means that whosoever stays under the deception is not a follower of Christ.
Abide in Him and He will abide in you!
Paul stated ... For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
The above shows the battle between the flesh and the spirit, with which we all have to deal... Yes... even the true believers in Christ. Walking in the footsteps of Christ is a continuous battle between evil and good, the flesh and the spirit. God's word doesn't say for nothing that we have to put on ALL THE ARMOUR OF GOD and be FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT, because this is the ONLY way we can walk in obedience to His word and pleasing unto Him.
If one's walk is effortless and comes natural... watch out!!! for the Bible says something different, rather states the opposite.
We have to remember that denominational churches have no privileges with God, they are not even recognized by Him. God searches the heart and the intentions thereof. They that are written in the Book of Life are those who have followed the Lamb wherever He goes. NOT they that belong to a church.
As a matter of fact, I belong only to Christ Jesus, since He is the One who bought me and paid the Price for my soul. I have no choice! HALLELUJAH!
I thank God that over the years He has brought me thus far by His grace and mercy. Therefore I shall praise Him with all that is within me, for ever and ever. AMEN!!
It is worth to keep trusting God against all odds. It is surely worth to endure in all things, concerning God. It is very profitable to hang in there and lean 100% on His word. It is worth ALL and EVERYTHING to comply with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, because doing all the above enables our heavenly Father to fulfill His promises 100%.
May you receive endurance to stand until the end (and for me the same), I pray.
For the Glory of God, I'll serve my neighbour.
Minister Dr. Trudy Veerman.