Call to Arms: Selfless Living

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The fact that God allows us to take part in the dynamic of building His kingdom is an incomprehensible facet of His master plan. All of us are called in our own unique ways, in consideration of the special skills or calling we have been gifted, to use these gifts in the manner that God has put in our hearts. [Read: 1 Corinthians 12:12-27]. We are forever thankful to God that He has chosen us, and that we’ve been ordained by the King of Kings (Creator of the universe) to: fulfill the Great Commission, share His love with others, and ultimately above all else put Him first and foremost in everything we do. We can freely choose to obey Him or disregard His commands. Sadly many have chosen the latter, and those are likely the ones we are most urgently called to attend to.

When we lose the sense of urgency to answer this call we need to ask ourselves what is holding us back. Are we ashamed of the gospel? Are we afraid of what our friends might say or do in response to our warnings/counsel? Is there a negative connotation attached to Christianity by popular culture that we don’t want to be associated with? Ask yourself if these matters are enough of a concern that you would abandon God’s call in order to save face. Consider the unending measure of eternity, and try to consider what even a fraction of that might entail. It would still be eternity, because it doesn’t end. Fractions perhaps don’t help too much to illustrate it, other than to express that a fraction of what is without limitation is still infinite.

Let’s assume a young man checks into an emergency room with a migraine headache, and they arrived prior to an older gentleman suffering from a heart attack, who was immediately pulled in for help. Should it not be fairly intuitive that the more life threatening circumstance should be attended prior to the headache situation despite order of arrival? While significant for that individual, and deserving of proper treatment in its rightful time, the headache becomes a non-urgent focus in comparison.

The person with the migraine headaches is like a believer who attends church regularly, and we operate under the assumption that they have been saved. They showcase their faith in an outward way, and we assume that they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We don’t question the authenticity of their walk because we see that they bear good fruit, and furthermore if they didn’t it may still not be our place to question it. We aren’t God and cannot read minds let alone weigh the intentions or motivations of a heart.

The gentleman with the heart attack, who needs immediate care, is like a lost soul. A person who urgently needs to be attended to. Let’s carefully consider the plight of the lost, and the significance of every single day in light of how short this life is in comparison to eternity. We must also try to understand how God grieves every soul that is lost. How He is so righteous, just, and holy that He detests our sins – even the ones we have been led to believe are insignificant. He loves us all unconditionally, and I believe that although He desires for us to answer His call and love Him, He does not force it upon us. The ball is in our court to willingly love, but even if one has not chosen to love God, He still loves them and cares for them deeply. We can see this in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, He died in propitiation for our sin. [*Reference to better understanding propitiation and expiation (atonement) in the bottom of this text.] God’s wrath satisfied and His enmity towards us has been appeased. When we are ready, God’s heart draws us to Himself.

“44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:44 (NKJV).

Forcing love upon someone would violate the intrinsic definition of love. He outlines His law and expectations, and if we are among God’s elect, He will not let us continue living in unrepentant sin. He will get our attention in extreme ways if need be, but by all means He will draw a loving line. If we are called to be His children, we may no longer live as children of disobedience. At that point we come to Him as the prodigal son or daughter that we’ve been, and He extends His gracious hand toward us. He desires that we would repent of our former trespasses. Likewise, those of us who are non-believers and continue to live in disobedience, store up God’s wrath. While they may choose to live in inaction, rebellion, and disobedience – they aren’t allowed to choose the consequences of them.

We need to realize that we can think of the most evil people to have ever walked the face of the earth (ex: Hitler, Stalin), and despite their numerous transgressions even in light of human measures, God still loved them unconditionally. [**Reference to expand upon our understanding of how God loves believers and unbelievers in distinct ways at the bottom of this text.] Likewise we can see that even the most righteous figures from a human standpoint, that we can come up with, perhaps thinking of our “Biblical heroes” such as Paul, King David, and Peter for instance, still fell vastly short of perfection as we all do.

“21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all[a] who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:21-26 (NKJV).

 God sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for every single one of us [Read: 2 Peter 2:1 John 3:16, and Hebrews 2:9], and it is a free gift that we ought to cherish rather than disregard.
“36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mark 8:36-37 (NKJV)

I have friends, whom by their own admission, have not accepted Jesus Christ into their lives. They haven’t encountered a longing to answer His call, or have burried it in their seared consciences and stone hearts. I also have friends who have done so, and I am thankful for all my friends. No matter how you slice it my heart goes out to those that don’t know Jesus Christ as their Savior. Beyond an opportunity to talk with them about how integral it is to have a relationship with Jesus, and build upon a Christian foundation of dialogue, I can only pray that God might stir their hearts and curiosity to draw near to Him. To consider the authenticity of His Word rather than their own selfish ambitions and short-sighted criticisms of the Bible. I can also live a life that is worthy of being called an ambassador of Jesus Christ. One that I may only live through the Holy Spirit operating inside of me, that leaves no room for doubt as to where the strength, power, and authority come from.

We don’t change anyone, people can only be changed by the grace of God and His desire to draw them to Himself. We still have a gigantic responsibility to spread the Gospel, and to demonstrate God’s love, when we have the opportunities and provision to do so. This is part of our calling as believers, no matter what our areas of giftedness are. Keep in mind that we’re also not here to tickle ear drums or to make people happy. We shouldn’t be addicted to the approval of society. Often times people will not appear to receive the Gospel message with open arms, and many times that is indicative of conviction. You are likely doing more right than wrong, and getting through to them with God’s truth.

God stirs up the hearts, we are simply the messengers. It is likely a good sign if people aren’t always wholeheartedly in accord with your stance. In actuality I would venture a guess that a lot of people might be intuitively defensive at any proactive measures revolving around the sharing of God’s Word. That’s perfectly normal, and it’s something that will likely continue to be a part of evangelistic endeavors for however much time God has ordained. The nature of the message happens to be radical, and this is all par for the course, as believers we need not be caught off guard by any of these developments.

A desire to sin without question, retain pride, and ultimately allow the insatiable appetite of their human nature to persevere without restraint – leads people to effectively barricade themselves away from moral accountability by way of a grand illusion. God resists them because of their pride according to James:

“6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6 (NKJV)

The latter portion of this verse clearly tells us that God gives grace to the humble. Sometimes it’s easy for us to say the word grace and forget what a beautiful gift it is. If it wasn’t for God’s unmerited favor, mercy, and grace overall we’d all ultimately be doomed to spend eternity in Hell. Instead He created us with purpose and design in mind, knowing our faults and appointing us a time to spend here on earth. We have the indescribable expectation to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. This of course occuring after the time God has allocated for us to invest in building His kingdom, and reaping the fruits of our labor, here on earth.. Let’s not grow weary in doing good, but instead continue to fight the good fight of faith. It’s not easy, but the rewards are priceless and incalculable, and our responsibilities as believers are clear in scripture. It’s also abundantly clear that the life of a believer is a win-win scenario. If we live we’re continuing to accomplish His will, and if we die we gain that which the Lord has generously given us the privilege of storing up. There’s no lose in the context of eternity for a believer.

“9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)
21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21 (NKJV).
External Resources:
* Read: if you would like to explore a more precise meaning of propitiation and expiation in the context of God’s provision through His Son Jesus Christ.
** Read: to better understanding how God loves believers and non-believers unconditionally, but in their own distinct ways.

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