As Lecrae Says it, are we Outsiders or Insiders?

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Before you read this post check out Lecrae’s song outsiders here

Also, if you aren’t a follower of Jesus Christ this post wont exactly pertain to you, but you can continue reading if you would like.

Something that really breaks my heart is seeing a fellow believer of Christ not living in a way that pleases God but rather in a way that dishonors Him. I’m not talking about not sinning. I’m talking about making a conscious choice to disobey God’s Word and showing little or no remorse and sadness when sin does take place. Lecrae has it down in this song “Outsiders”. I just love his bold passion for Jesus Christ and speaking truth. He doesn’t care what people think about him, believers and nonbelievers alike.

What we as Christians and followers of Jesus need to realize is that we will never impact this world if we are insiders rather than outsiders. If we want to experience abundant living like Christ offers us we have got to start living as outsiders, set apart from the ways of this world. The definition of an outsider is a person who does not belong to a particular group. If it appears as though we belong in this world based on the way we live then we simply don’t get it. Sadly, our Christian culture can be so watered down and distant from the truth of Gods Word. Because of this so many Christians are living lives absent of joy, faith, and peace and are having little, if any, impact on others for Christ.

Do you think God is any less sad over believers who fail to obey his commandments than lost people who choose not to accept him as savior? 1 Peter 1: 14-16 (NKJV) says “as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” What has happened to Christ’s call for us to be holy? We are so desensitized to this world that we are willing to lower our standards. Instead of judging ourselves based on God’s Word we try to find someone who is just a “little worse” than we are so we can justify our actions. We have one person to be comparing ourselves to and that is Jesus Christ. We will never achieve true holiness as Christ did, but we sure as heck better spend our lives striving to. Anything less than this is a direct act of dishonor to our savior who rescued us from darkness and death.

The moral standards of Christians today is downright confusing. If we want to make a difference we have to be different. Its as simple as that. And I’m not talking about going to church and reading the bible. That’s all great of course, but if aside from that you are no different than the world then honestly what’s the point? Being different means not getting wasted every weekend, not entertaining ourselves with pornographic shows and movies, not laughing at perverted jokes with friends, not being hateful to people who are different, not making our goal in life to achieve more wealth and possession. Do the people around you have any idea that you live a totally different lifestyle than they do? Because they should. If not, its probably because you don’t.

This isn’t some self-righteous post; I’m talking to myself the same way that I’m talking to you. This is about speaking the truth of God’s Word. A truth that I believe really needs to be spoken in the midst of this watered down generation. We, as followers of Jesus Christ, need to stop just reading the Bible and start living it. James 4:4 says “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” We have a choice to make. Do we want to be God’s friend and servant, or his enemy?

Think about those people you know who are continuously showing the love of Jesus everywhere they go and impacting this world for eternity. How do they live their lives? Like the world? I highly doubt that. These people know what it means to live abundantly and we will too if we make the decision to give up our love affair with the ways of this world and live in obedience to God’s Word. What you will find when you make this choice is that it really isn’t much of a sacrifice at all. The real sacrifice is living for the world rather than God. A sacrifice of joy, peace, abundant living, and being close with the God who created you and loves you, who made the ultimate sacrifice in giving His son for you. Don’t shame His sacrifice any longer by claiming to be His follower while being an insider rather than an outsider.

Do People Know I’ve Been With Jesus?

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Acts 4:13 (NKJV)

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

This verse provokes me to ask myself a simple question. When people see me do they realize that I have been with Jesus? Obviously I haven’t physically been with Jesus as John and Peter were, but I have the privilege every day to be in the presence of the Holy Spirit. When people see me do they know this? If I can’t answer yes then I need to ask myself why and come up with a solution to this huge problem. You see, the problem is, I truly want people to see Christ in me but oftentimes, for one reason or another, they don’t. As I’ve pondered this I’ve come up with a few reasons why the people around me may not know that I’ve been with Jesus. Maybe you can relate.

Simply put, because I haven’t been: This honestly happens to me all the time. Maybe this sounds familiar to you too. I get so fired up about Jesus. I’m spending so much time in the Bible and in prayer and loving every minute of it. I mean I can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit everywhere I go! And then all of a sudden I just stop. I truly cannot figure out why but I just go on a hiatus. And guess what happens? The joy and excitement that I was experiencing diminishes. Even my husband can tell. He will often say, “hey, have you been reading your Bible lately? Because I can tell.” Well okay! Hah. Who I am when I’m focused on Jesus, when my goal is to be close to Him, is totally different than who I am when I’m not. If I’m not spending time with Christ the people I’m around will not be impacted, it’s as simple as that.

Because I’m not doing things that require Christ’s strength: Maybe I have been with Jesus but I’m just not being obedient and stepping out in faith. This was common during Jesus’ ministry on earth and its still common now. Think about it, Judas was with Jesus. did anybody know based on the way he was living his life? Absolutely not! Spending time with Jesus isn’t enough. We have to be willing to step out in faith and live boldly for Christ if we want to reflect His light to those around us. If we want people to know that Christ is living in us we have to be willing to live in bold obedience to His Word. The verse paints a clear picture. Peter and John were not formally trained to be doing what they were doing. They were acting based on Jesus Christ’s strength rather than their own and people could see it. Do you ever feel Jesus calling you to do something bold but you ignore it because “it just isn’t your strength?” Its time we get over that! True freedom comes when we embrace Christ’s strength and trust that He will do a great work through us. This is when people know that we have been with Jesus and when lives change.

Because I’m a hearer and not a doer. James 1:22 tells us “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” This might seem like the same thing as the last one but it’s somewhat different. To me, being a doer of the Word and not just a hearer is about living in daily obedience to Gods Word. For example, if I read that I should edify people with the words I say and instead I tear people down I’m being a hearer and not a doer. Or if I know that the Bible teaches me to love my enemies but I’m bitter and hateful towards them I’m being a hearer and not a doer. What I have found is that when I live out God’s Word, especially in ways that seem to go against the norm, like the previous examples, people notice. To be honest this has always been a big fear of mine. Hearing and studying God’s Word but not doing what it says. Do I have all the knowledge but fail to apply it in my life? I want to stand before God someday knowing that I’ve not only heard his Word, but I’ve done it. Do you?

Because I’m distracted by things that straight up DON’T matter: We have got to stop allowing the things of this world to seduce us and keep us from the things of Christ. Honestly this issue right here is probably the culprit behind the other three reasons why people don’t know I’ve been with Jesus. In Mark 4 we read about the parable of the sower and what often happens when people hear God’s Word but don’t go on to produce fruit. Verses 18-19 says “Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” More money, success, possessions, and attention will NOT increase our joy. Producing fruit for the kingdom of God will. This is what happens when people look at you and know that you’ve been with Jesus. They don’t know this by seeing how rich you are, how intelligent you are, how successful you are, how big your house is, or how great your kids are. We have got to refocus our attention on Jesus if we want to be remembered in the same way that Peter and John were, as men and women of God who boldly proclaim Christ and produce everlasting fruit for the Kingdom of God.

Thank you for reading my blog!

Experiencing Joy When the Blessings Don’t Come

bibleThis is such a difficult concept for us Christians to grasp. We’ve been told over and over again that God wants us to live abundantly. That he has nothing but good for us. But sometimes the truth is, if we admit it, it doesn’t really feel that way. I’m not saying it isn’t true! But it simply doesn’t feel like it is. What do you do when you face these times? How do you hang on to your joy and not give into Satan’s lies that God isn’t for you but rather against you or simply not there at all?

A few years ago when my hubby and I were facing some challenging times I remember feeling almost ignored by God. As if He just didn’t want to bless me. Things weren’t going down like I had expected them to and I was really confused with God. Why, if His Word told me He wanted me to live abundantly and have joy to the fullest, wasn’t I feeling like this was the case? Have you ever experienced a time like this? Well I don’t have the perfect solution for overflowing with what our world describes as blessings, but what I can offer is a Biblical solution for living abundantly and having overflowing joy despite your circumstances.

I honestly still remember reading the following verse for the very first time. It was during the times of struggle that I mentioned and it knocked me to my knees.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NKJV)

Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.

The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.

Wow. What powerful verses! What I realized after reading these verses was that even if I never receive anything else ever again the salvation I have in Jesus Christ is worthy of all the joy I could ever experience. I have already been given more than I could ever deserve. When I remember this beautiful truth I am no longer affected by my circumstances. I believe this is what Paul was talking about when he said he has learned in every state to be content( Philippians 4:11). Paul had a heavenly perspective that enabled him to experience the joy of The Lord and God’s strength to endure all he faced. He looked to his salvation in Christ, not to whether or not his current needs or desires were being met. When I do this the joy and strength I experience is unfathomable.

Obviously not many of us are toiling in the fields, praying for a harvest, and herding animals. It might be more real to you if you think of it in a personal way. What is currently stealing your joy and strength? Here are some examples: Though my financial struggles never change, or I never overcome my physical illness, though I may never get pregnant, or I can’t seem to find a job during my unemployment, yet I will rejoice in The Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Really ponder this and make it personal based on what you are currently facing.

The bottom line is, even if salvation in Jesus Christ is all we ever receive, this is beyond more than we could ever deserve. Understanding this truth has enabled me to experience joy and strength regardless of my circumstances. I can tell you that since reading and taking these verses to heart my outlook on blessings has changed. I no longer feel like God has deserted me when things don’t seem to be going the way I’d hoped. Because no matter what, we have the ability, as Paul did, to be content regardless of the circumstances we face. We can do this by remembering what God has already done for us through sacrificing His son Jesus Christ, rather than focusing on what we don’t have or what isn’t going our way.

if you don’t know Jesus Christ as your savior He is always waiting with arms open wide to accept you as His son or daughter. Personally I believe the only way to have true joy in a world full of pain and disappointment is through Christ. Give Him a chance and you will quickly see what I mean!