Monday, 5 November 2007
I am persuaded
"For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."2 Tim 1:12(KJV)
We are still in the same thread of discussion from my previous posting. Paul said that He knew the Lord and he was persuaded that God is able. He said that he was sure and confident of the fact that God is able to keep His own. What made Him to have this kind of confidence to the extent that it became a driving force in his life? He knew whom he had believed.
Sometimes when you see some people and the casual and presumptuous way they live their lives, you begin to ask yourself, what are they living for? While some leaders do not know what they are living for anymore, others are living for the wrong purpose. What drives your life? What is your persuasion in this life?
We have seen and read about people who started well, vibrant, trusting and serving the Lord but after some time to begin to loose their grip from the truth they once held so dear. What will make somebody who was persuaded once about this faith to draw back?
1. "Another gospel". During the time of Paul, he mentioned of those that were preaching another gospel different from what he was teaching the churches. He warned the churches never to listen to those folks who their concentration was their belly and this world. He warned them not to listen to those that will tell them that it does not matter to live casually. The Lord Jesus Christ in the book of Revelation said He would judge some teachers who encourage brethren to eat foods sacrificed to idols.
Our 'prosperity preaching' today is not helping matters at all in our commitment to God. It centers on the material and focuses us to this world and all it has to offer instead of on God. It encourages us to use God to solve our problems. The preaching is no more the man God uses, it is now the God man uses. God is presented as a tool to use and not God to obey and worship. If the 'tool' (God in this case) does not work, you get angry and probably change it.
'Another gospel" focuses us on results and blessings instead of on the Lord. Success is defined by the material and not by how much it brings pleasure to the Lord and receiving His commendation. "Another gospel" re-orients our understanding and erodes the idea of servanthood from us. We are taught to live as kings and not as he who serves. A minister sees himself as a lord and ministry becomes an arena where we accumulate wealth, seek fame and rule. This has brought discouragement to some who were once living faithfully and committed to the Lord. It has put pressure on believers and caused many to compromise in the area of integrity and holiness. Discipleship and servanthood are made to sound archaic. We must remember that the Bible says, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." 1Cor.15:19 (KJV).
2. Love for the pleasures of this life. This has some relationship with the first point we raised but it is independent in the sense that it can start in a man's heart for a lot reasons. When we love the pleasures of this life, it will not be possible to willingly obey and sacrifice in the name of the Lord. We make a god around pleasures. We cannot serve both God and pleasure. We cannot be committed to enjoying pleasures and at the same time be committed to doing the will of God. The foolish rich man Jesus told us about in Luke 12 said, "...my soul...take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry". In this kind of state, it will be very difficult to sincerely say, "I am persuaded".
3. Familiarity and contempt. This is a situation where we live in all kinds of dangerous assumptions. Because we have been in the Lord for many years, we become too familiar with Him to the extent that we no longer fear Him. We think we can do anything and go free with it. We assume that we have known God so much that we do not need other brethren counsel. We begin to see ourselves as the source of blessings and knowledge and the only channel through which they are released. We can treat our spouse and children without commitment, any how we want and think that nothing will happen. We just live the way we want. We assume we are not accountable to anyone in the areas of our sexual life and finance. When you listen to some people manipulate the Bible so as prove that fornication and homosexualism are not sinful without any reverence and fear, you will understand the extent of damage familiarity with God can do to a man's life.
Any preacher or teacher who has lost this strong persuasion and conviction cannot accomplish anything in kingdom business and cannot lead others to a point of conviction. That is why there is confusion today in most churches.
For you to maintain your fire and continue being 'persuaded', you must believe and live for the truth. Hold the truth of scripture dear to your heart. Reject any teaching that focuses you on this world. We do business in this world as strangers who are on transit. We will pass on one day and leave behind us all the issues of this life. No matter our estate, poor or rich, let us handle this world with care, not as people who have come to settle, but as people who are on a journey. Let us love the Lord with all our heart, spirit, soul and might and continue to fear Him.