Monday, July 20, 2015

Examine Yourself: Are you a Christian or Follower of Christ?


How do you know you're saved? by Paul Washer


"Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves..." 2 Corinthians 13:5a

Are you a Christian or a Follower of Christ?  You may be asking, "Aren't they the same thing"?  Let me answer that for you - NO they are NOT the same.  

How do you distinguish one from the other?  How do you know whether you are a Christian or a Follower of Christ?  

This video will answer your questions. Please watch! I came across it on Facebook and I was ready to scroll past it because I was confident of my answer:  YES, I'm sure that I'm saved!

However, I felt a pressing to listen to this message by Paul Washer.  As I listen his words pierced through me - dividing my soul and spirit.

"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." ~ Hebrews 4:12 NIV

"The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?" (Jeremiah 17:9)



TRANSPARENT MOMENT:   

"I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind,..." (Jeremiah 17:10a).   Only the LORD knows the depth of the heart and what lies within it.  We may be deceived.  However, God is not.

I have to admit that although I knew my heart had become calloused, I refused to acknowledge it. You see, I allowed the "little foxes" to spoil the vineyards of my worship, prayers, study of the Word and communion with the Father.  These foxes were  busyness, disappointments, offenses, unforgiveness, and pride.  They slowly ruined my vineyard that once bloomed with passion and bore good fruit :love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control.

I found myself trying to live off the residue of a fire that once burned fiercely for the LORD.  Slowly compromise crept in.  Whereas before I spent hours with the LORD in worship in my secret place, I substituted listening to worship music as I spent hours on Facebook.  I was satisfied with writing my prayers in my journal rather than speaking them to Him.  The things I would not speak, I began to say (criticism/judgment) .  My eyes looked upon things I would never had looked on television. I uttered my love for Him continuously, yet I neglected and kept Him from those areas in my life I was struggling with because I was not willing to do what I know He will have me do.

Ministering online has taken the place of ministering face to face with the lost.  I was operating with head knowledge - void of Holy Spirit's anointing.  I recognized the difference yet I was not willing to catch the little foxes. I let them roam in my heart especially the one called pride.  Pride numbed me to my heart condition.  It justified itself.  That is until now.

When I watched this video, I wept through it all.  It exposed the things I was not willing to see.  Holy Spirit conviction swept through my heart, setting up traps for those little foxes - catching them before they do further damage.  I repented wholeheartedly! Now it's up to me to replant seeds of His Word, cultivate my relationship and nurture the vineyard of my heart so they my produce the fruits of the Spirit.

I no longer want to sit with envy of someone's else fire for the LORD, I want my own flame to burn! I want to burn again with passion that will compel me to live the holy life He desires for me to live and do the things He has called me to do!  I don't want to be a Christian.  I want to be a FOLLOWER of Christ - living the life He led and anointed me to live: "The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, (Luke 4:18)

May our prayers today be "LORD, Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom."  (Song of Solomon 2:15)  an May this song become our heart's cry for our own fire that burns for you. In Jesus' Name.  Amen!

One last note:  It doesn't matter how many years we've been a Christian.  What matters is that we become true followers of Christ in all things - living holy unto the LORD - applying the Word and operating from a place of relationship not religion.  We possibly cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24).  We either live for the LORD or live for the devil.  There is no in between.

If your heart has grown weary or hard through the years, repent and return to your first love!!

Let us be who He created us to be and do what He created us to do for His Glory.  This is not the time to slumber.  It is a time to awaken and awaken others!

"Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD." ~ Lamentations 3:40

"Let his flesh become fresher than in youth, Let him return to the days of his youthful vigor; Then he will pray to God, and He will accept him, That he may see His face with joy, And He may restore His righteousness to man.…Job 33:25-26