Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I'm declaring my independence day!

2 Timothy 3:12
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

Ephesians 4:14
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

I'm tired of it. I'm sick and tired of it. This life is very hard-especially living for God. Life is hard enough, but it seems that when a person decides to give their all for Jesus, the naysayers come out of the woodwork.

Living for Jesus is good and honorable. It is holy and righteous in the eyes of God. It all sounds fantastic to the young Christian. When the preacher/teacher begins to discuss living for God, the young child of God gets an almost euphoric feeling. They see things as rose colored and wonderful.

Then, when they begin- through prayer and effort- to implement the changes in their life that the scriptures declare they need to, it's "Katy bar the door" from their "friends" and "loved ones." Then comes the battles.
They begin to hear things like:

                              "Do you think you're better than us?"
                              "That's not how I raised you to live."
                              "It's not necessary to live that way."
                              "Don't you think you're taking this Jesus stuff a bit too far?"
                              "Well, Jesus loves us all and we don't all have to live that way."
My personal favorite is when you've never said a word to the person about how they live. All you've done is change how you live. Then, they get mad at you? Ever heard this one? "How dare you tell me that I'm living wrong!" The truth is that your lifestyle is stepping on their toes without you ever speaking a word.

I've been living for God for nearly 22 years, now. I've made many mistakes in that time. I've stumbled and fallen along the way. I've hurt some folks along the way- unintentionally.

I've worried and lost sleep sometimes over the opinions of people that I love and friends that I care about. I've suffered from that very human disease- trying to win people's approval. Let me tell you that this has added more than a few gray hairs to my head.

Folks will share a scripture that they think contradicts what God has shown me, and I go through a time of worry. Am I wrong? Did I mishear God? I begin to pray and search it out. Sometimes, I discover that I was wrong and my understanding changes. Other times, I discover that the person who gave me the scripture was wrong in their understanding. I then gently try to explain the correct understanding- usually to an increasingly angry person.

This causes more stress to me. If the word of God tells us how to live. If the word tells us something different than how we've been living, don't get mad at the messenger. We need to change our lifestyles to adapt to the word of God. Not the other way around.

I'm tired of the finger pointing. I'm tired of the nay-saying. I'm tired of worrying about the opinions of others who have no heaven or hell to send me to (no matter how much they may personally wish me to go to either place).

Therefore, today- as we celebrate the July 4th holiday- I'm declaring my own independence.

No more will I concern myself with the opinions of others. No longer will I worry about the finger pointers and Pentecostal fruit inspector's alike. Let the chips fall where they may. As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord in word and deed. If folks don't like how we live, that's their prerogative. If folks don't like the way we look- don't look. Don't like what we say? Don't listen. Have issues with what I write? Don't read it.

Hard times will come. But, we will stand- stedfast and unmoveable. Nay-sayers will come and go, but we will stand for Jesus. It's not that I don't care about you, it's that I care about Jesus MORE than I care about you. I'm not trying to run anybody off, but if I have to choose between Jesus and you, I choose Jesus- every time.

It's a free country and you have a right to move on down the road if you don't like my house (or writing, or Facebook page). I'm done worrying about you. I'm free. Why? Because "he whom the son hath set free is free indeed."